MSW Surveys 2008-2009
Exit Survey (2008 MSW Graduates)
Students who graduated from the MSW program in 2008 were surveyed by mail and were asked to respond to questions pertaining to the general knowledge and practice skills gained from the program. Questionnaires were distributed to 375 MSW graduates in May 2008. Three hundred nineteen were returned for a response rate of 85%. Students were asked to rate skill areas covered using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = poor and 5 = excellent.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The highest rated skill areas covered in the first year foundation courses were:
The highest ratings for the 2nd year advanced curriculum were:
- Professional ethics and values (mean = 4.08)
- Understanding of diversity (mean = 4.07)
- History of social welfare (mean = 4.00)
The highest rating among Clinical Social Work students was:
- Advanced practice theories (mean = 3.91)
- Critical thinking (mean = 3.90)
- Advanced practice skills (mean = 3.85)
- Knowledge of content in your cluster area (mean = 3.82)
The highest rating among the NPM students were:
- Cognitive behavioral theories (mean = 4.14)
- Management theory and practice (mean = 3.98)
Alumni Employment Survey (2006 MSW Graduates)
Each year since 1978, the Rutgers University School of Social Work has conducted a survey of its alumni within two years of their graduation to collect information regarding the initial professional and job market experiences of MSW recipients.
Questionnaires were mailed in 2008 to individuals who had completed the MSW program in 2006. Addresses were obtained from the Rutgers Alumni Relations office. Questions solicited information on their employment search, current employment, salary levels, the MSW curriculum and their demographic characteristics. Responses were obtained from 104 graduates from a list of 239 addresses for a response rate of 49%.
Most of the respondents are female, with an average age of 35 years. Seventy percent identified their ethnic background as white.
Areas of Study
Nearly ninety percent of the respondents had a concentration in direct practice (now called clinical social work concentration), and about half had attended school full time. Most attended the New Brunswick campus, and a high 70 percent worked at a paid job in addition to their field placement while in the MSW program. Those who were employed worked an average of 28 hours per week. The methods of concentration and student status among the survey respondents were as follows:Previous Social Work experience About two-thirds of the respondents had prior experience in social work when they entered the MSW program, reporting an average of five years of experience. About thirty percent of the respondents shifted into social work from another career. Of those who did report a shift, 35% entered social work mainly from business (e.g., finance/banking, retail, management, etc,) and others included administration, education, and nursing. Examples of other prior career areas included child life specialist, librarian, therapeutic recreation, personal trainer, and human resources.
Almost all of the respondents (97%) were employed, and most of those (96%) were employed in social work. Average work hours at their primary place of employment were 38. Twenty-two respondents reported they worked a second job, with average additional work hours of 8.5 per week.
Eighty-seven percent of the respondents reported they were working in the method that they studied. Over ninety percent of Direct Practice majors reported that they were working in their method of concentration, while fifty-eight percent of APP majors reported they were working in their area of study.
The median yearly salary of the respondents who worked 30 hours or more per week was $48,000. By gender, the median salary of men was higher than those for women ($55,600 and $47,250, respectively). The median salary was not significantly different by age or by concentration. Those with more previous social work experience reported higher salaries.
Most of the respondents found jobs immediately after graduation, and they averaged 2 job offers. Their means for finding the job included: previously holding a job with the agency (24%), referral from a friend or acquaintance (17%), newspaper advertisement (15%), and field placement (11%).
Most respondents were employed in the public sector (44%), followed by the private, non-profit sector (34%), and for-profit sector (22%).
Respondents were asked to choose from a list their one primary job duty. The most frequently reported were casework (30%), individual counseling (28%), and supervision (15%).
Respondents were also asked to indicate from a list all job duties performed in their employed. Most frequently reported were casework (74%), individual counseling (69%), and group work (56%). By concentration, a majority of Direct Practice majors were engaged in casework (77%), individual counseling (76%), group work (60%), and family therapy (47%). APP majors were engaged in administration (45%), planning (36%), and policy analysis (27%).
Respondents were asked to indicate to describe the one primary setting for their employment. The most common primary settings were mental health (25%), school social work (18%), and child welfare (14%).