OSUM adds social work degree

News Release Date: 

MTC graduates can transfer credits
June 11, 2013  
Written by Kurt Moore
The Marion Star

MARION — Starting this fall, area residents may earn a social work degree without leaving the Marion campus.

The Ohio State University at Marion is adding a social work degree to the list of degrees that can be completed on the Marion Campus. Students can take all four years at Ohio State Marion. They also may take their first two years at Marion Technical College and transfer to Ohio State Marion for the final two years.

Junior level social work courses will be offered on the Marion campus in the autumn semester. Senior-level social work courses will be added in the 2014 autumn semester.

Jennie Babcock, program director for Ohio State University’s undergraduate social work program, said students previously took their general studies courses on the Marion campus and then transferred to the main campus in Columbus to take social work courses.

“I’m excited about it,”OSU Marion academic adviser Shellie Shirk said. “Social workers can provide a wide range of services to people. It’s a great profession. I think it will be something a lot of students find their niche in.”

Students enrolled in MTC’s human and social services program, who complete their associate’s degree, will be able to transfer to Ohio State at Marion and work toward their bachelor’s degree.

“The goal is a smooth transition,” Babcock said. “It’s been really important for us to have good relationships with the two-year colleges, to work with Marion Technical College, which just has a wonderful program. We are just across the way. It seemed the perfect fit.”

Lillie Kirsch, director of MTC’s human and social services program, said students who complete the two-year degree can find employment as a social work assistant with their degree.

“You can come up for air and go to work for awhile,” she said.

Career possibilities include case managers, chemical dependency counselor assistants, family services advocates and mental health technicians.

Ohio State at Marion is trying to make its social work courses beneficial to people who work by offering them in the evening. Shirk said they will be combined with online coursework.

Babcock called social work a growing field. Kirsch said it is a good fit for students who want to go into counseling. She said it requires less schooling than psychology, which often requires students to get a master’s degree.

“Almost across the board, we suggest they go into social work,” she said.

MTC also has articulation agreements with Mount Vernon Nazarene, Capitol, Ashland and Bowling Green State universities that allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree in social work.

“There are numerous options,” Kirsch said. “It provides an additional articulation agreement for students going on. I’m excited we have something local that is a qualified program.”

She said students with an associate’s degree who want to continue with their schooling should consider the cost of the bachelor’s degree program, convenience of the course offerings and how many courses they must take.

Students who complete their bachelor’s degree can take their licensing exam to become licensed social workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates faster than average job growth for social and human services assistants and social workers. The bureau estimates employment of social workers will grow by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020. The growth, expected to be 161,200 positions nationwide, is attributed to an increase in demand for health care and social services.

The bureau describes two types of social workers. Direct-service social workers help people cope with problems in their everyday lives. Clinical social workers diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. While a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for many direct-service social worker positions, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree.

The median annual pay in 2010 was $42,480, or $20.42 per hour.

Social work assistants, who work under the direction of social workers, psychologists, and others with more experience or education, help develop treatment plans and determine what help clients need.

Growth is expected to be 28 percent with an additional 106,000 employees hired nationwide between 2010 and 2020. The 2010 median pay was $28,200 per year, or $13.56 per hour.

Go to http://osumarion.osu.edu/social_work to learn more about Ohio State at Marion’s social work program. You can also call academic advisor Wolali Dedo at 740-725-6334 or by email at dedo.6@osu.edu.

Twitter: @StarKurtMoore