MSW Hospice Specialty Degree Programs

If you want to work in a hospice setting, an MSW with a specialization in hospice care may advance your career. In this article, you can find information about application requirements, program options, coursework and employment prospects.

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Essential Information

A Master of Social Work (MSW) in Hospice Care provides students with the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and training in end-of-life care. Students in these programs take core social work courses and elective courses related to hospice care. They may also get hands-on experience in the field through placement programs in hospice settings. Many institutions offer two different tracks within the master's degree program: one for students who want direct contact with clients and the other for aspiring social work administrators.

In order to apply to one of these two-year programs, students must hold a bachelor's degree. Some schools require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, particularly in liberal arts coursework. Most institutions will also want a resume detailing relevant work and volunteer experience, along with letters of reference. An applicant with a Bachelor in Social Work from an accredited program may be granted advanced academic standing or receive some credit toward the master's degree.

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Master of Social Work in Hospice Care

For individuals who want to earn an MSW with a specialization in hospice or end-of-life care, some sample course topics might include:

  • Aging and the family
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Programs for aging adults
  • Social work in health care settings
  • Social work and spirituality
  • Advanced social work practice with elders

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The need for healthcare social workers is expected to grow 19%, which is faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is largely because of growth in increased demand for healthcare and social services. The median annual salary for healthcare social workers was $52,380 as of May 2015 (

Continuing Education and Certification Information

In order to become licensed clinical social workers, students must meet state licensure requirements. These standards generally include two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, according to the BLS. An MSW puts licensed social worker in good standing for career advancement.

Also, for those who want to specialize in hospice care, the National Association of Social Workers offers a Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker designation, as well as an advanced version of the same credential. Basic requirements include a degree from an accredited program, at least two years of related experience and college course credits in the hospice specialty area.

Overall, an MSW with a specialization in hospice care prepares students for managerial positions, as well as professional social worker certifications, in the hospice industry through advanced coursework and practical training.

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