What Is Military Social Work? How Is It Different From General Social Work?

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Life is not a bed of roses for military people, they have to deal with a lot that takes a toll on their mental and physical health. Military people are either Active-duty or retired, both face so many difficulties and hardships. Military life is not easy, it is extremely complex, and people who are associated with this field have to face a variety of challenges like fatigue, stress disorders, depression, financial crisis, and a long period of separation from their families and friends. These problems have affected military people and their families for centuries, but with the advancement of the society and the passage of time, these military personals and veterans can take advantage of military social workers and with the assistance of the MSW they can cope up with these terrible issues. MSW provides education, therapy, and counsels the veterans and military personnel, their wives, families, and friends and teaches them how to deal with such situations. MSW are specialized people who have a master’s degree in their field, several universities are established in different countries as well as online programs are also there to facilitate MSW.

People who used to be part of the military and now retired are known as veterans. They also face some mental and psychic issues after their retirement and that’s where the role of veterans administration social work starts. Veteran administration plays a huge role in dealing with such people and their problems, provide them comfort, aid, and support and help them to restart their life with full enthusiasm and energy. They counsel them to focus on the positive aspects of everything rather than giving space to negative thoughts in their minds.

Military Social Work

Military social work is a very specialized field that provides support, counseling, therapy, and intervention to the military personnel, their wives, kids, families, and friends, and veterans through active service as well as private service. Individuals who are associated with this field are very skilled, educated, and talented people holding a master’s degree in social work. Military social workers get special training that helps them a lot in serving military clients, it is an essential part of their job that they must know about the code of military justice and they must know about each and everybody’s role in military services like the role of a veteran and must fulfill their responsibilities to resolve their issues.

Duties of Military Social Workers (MSW)

Military social workers facilitate military personnel, their spouses, and veterans, etc. They help them, counsel them and guide them to deal with social, emotional, physical and psychological challenges which they may face in their military life and after retirement. They provide aid to not only the active military officers but also to those who are now retired from their services. Both active and former military people can face different challenges like depression, anxiety, long period of isolation from their families, fear of unemployment, marital conflicts due to long-distance relationships, etc. MSW helps their clients in resolving their issues through individual counseling or family counseling, education, resources navigation programs and different initiatives that specially focus on serving military professionals and their families.

Purpose of MSW

Its purpose is specifically to fulfill the needs of military-related people, either active or retired to look after them and understand their queries or problems by conducting an annual based survey to find out what type of challenges they are facing in their lives. These MSW can work at health care clinics, military camps, their units, and other locations that provide different services to military personnel.

Difference Between MSW and General Social Work

Here are some factors that make MSW different from general social work, let’s have a look:

  1. Target Audience

Both MSW and GSW have similar targets. MSW is a specialized field that focused on the people who are related to the military field, their spouses, and veterans by providing aid and support to them. While general social work is a profession that solely associated with helping general or common people and their families, groups, and communities of society other than the military field by providing support, to enhance their skills and to deal with day to day challenges.

  1. Credit Hours

To become a military social worker, an individual must earn a master’s degree or a P.H.D degree, if he wants to get a job in the administration department. While for a general social work job a simple graduation degree is enough for an individual. Four years degree program (bachelor) is required to get a GSW job but if an individual wants to get a high post job in MSW then he must have a 4 years bachelor’s degree plus 2 years master’s degree as well. Both MSW and GSW need a license after completing the required credit hours of their fields but with the master’s degree, one can get a high profile job like a commissioned officer in the military.

  1. Salary

Just like another field, the salary of social workers depends on their education, degree, geographic area, work experience, and job responsibilities. General social workers who work in hospital settings earned $60,000 average per year. Those with bachelor’s degrees earn less as compare to those with master’s degrees. Military social workers have a master’s degree so definitely, their earning will be more than a bachelor’s degree general social worker. But if these workers are highly qualified and working in the medical field then they may earn a high salary. Child, family, and school social workers have bachelor’s degree that affects their earnings while on other hands military social workers is a commissioned officer and their pay is based on their ranks like typical military social worker earns less as compared to the captain military social worker and lieutenant colonel who is associated with medical and health care earns a lot.

  1. Job Benefits

People associated with military social work enjoy a lot of benefits as compared to those who are linked with general social workers. MSW has benefits of very low cost medical and dental facilities not only for themselves but for their families as well, benefits of retirement that are not contributory, life insurance at very low cost, no cost specialized training, special investment plans, availability of money for further education, loan repayment programs, etc. While on the other hand general social workers have fewer benefits. If they want to get further training then they must utilize their own money or much less amount will be paid by the company, health care benefits are also provided to these workers, and Pension is optional. Private companies do not give the pension benefit to their employees, while government agencies are providing these benefits to general social workers.

  1. Deployment

The negative part of a military social worker is that they can be deployed to any place even those they wouldn’t even want to visit once in their lifetime. While for general social work, there is no such kind of deployment issue. Military social workers could be sent on long term training sessions for weeks or even for several months. General social workers also required training but not for a longer period. Families of military social workers have to face family problems because deployment and relocation isolate family members. They don’t have much control over their career because they are part of the military, they serve the army that’s why they have to do whatever the army wants. While a general social worker has ample control over their career in private practice and works in a safer environment.

Conclusion

Stress, depression, and anxiety are the most deadly factors that are destroying our society and our fellow men. To help our society cope with these cruel challenges, social workers provide their full support, courage, and council the affected souls in dealing with these day to day challenges effectively. Not only the civilians but the military personnel and veterans are facing the above-mentioned issues. A big thanks go to these social workers who are playing an integral role in resolving financial, mental, physical and psychological issues of military personnel as well as civilians.

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