New Master of Social Work Offered at Carroll

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

HELENA – Carroll College is pleased to announce the launch of a new clinically-focused Master of Social Work program. The master’s program is delivered in a blended format combining online courses with field training and campus-based, in-person training institutes. Full-time students are able to complete the program in two years with the college currently accepting applications for fall 2021.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is designed to educate and train students on how to effectively apply proven counseling methods, prevention techniques, and tele-health technologies to address the diverse and ever-changing needs of people who need high-quality behavioral health and social services. A central component of the Carroll MSW program is the clinical training it provides. Most MSW graduates begin their careers as clinical social workers providing therapeutic services in homes, hospitals, clinics, schools, incarceration facilities, and social service organizations through face-to-face and tele-health services. Students will receive highly individualized clinical training to ensure that they acquire the knowledge and skills needed to address the complex behavioral health and social service needs of the clients and patients they serve. Clinical skills are developed through online instruction, field instruction, and the program’s intensive, campus-based training institutes held prior to the fall and spring semesters (three days) and two weekends during each semester. The specialized clinically-focused curriculum is designed to be accessible to students in various geographic locations. The blended delivery of the program does not require students to reside in Helena and the majority of the program can be completed remotely.

"Today's announcement of Carroll's new Master of Social Work program is an historic moment for our college as we leverage our strength as a premier provider for Montana's healthcare workforce. I am grateful to Terry Payne and his family for their transformative gift supporting this program which will have a significant impact on serving the mental health needs of Montana. I am also grateful for the early support we have received from St. Peter's Health, Shodair Children's Hospital, and Benefis Health System in Great Falls. Given the hybrid and online nature of this new program, we will be able to serve the entire state," said Carroll College President John Cech.

Working in partnership with Carroll College, Terry Payne of PayneWest Insurance was instrumental in providing the financial resources necessary to initiate the MSW program. “Our family is proud to be able to help Carroll College launch this vitally needed program to train and educate future professionals that will help with the mental health and other healthcare issues facing Montanans and society in general,” said Terry Payne.

Social work is a fast-growing field and there is a demand and need for social workers throughout Montana and the region. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that social work career options will increase by 16% through 2026 with employment opportunities in behavioral health, health care, child welfare, substance use, justice, program development, and community organizing. Over the last decade, Montana has had a consistent need for social workers to work as therapists for Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT) programs in local schools, clinical social workers in integrated behavioral health programs, outpatient therapists, child protection specialists, and social workers in local human service organizations.

“Mental and behavioral health issues are on the rise in Helena and across the country, yet we face significant shortages in healthcare workers specifically trained to treat individuals who need this type of support,” said St. Peter’s Health CEO Wade Johnson. “Research has proven that social structures, physical environment and other social determinants of health affect a person’s overall physical health. St. Peter’s is proud to partner with Carroll College and support such a critical effort to improve the health and well-being of people in our community. This announcement could not come at a better time, the pandemic has created monumental stress on the healthcare industry and this program can help address our challenges.”

Throughout the planning and development of the MSW program, Carroll College has been in contact with a number of mental health providers and healthcare facilities throughout Montana to assess the needs in their communities.

“We are very thankful to have Carroll College as a partner as it relates to this endeavor as well as the many other collaborative efforts we embark upon, said Craig Aasved, Chief Executive Officer for Shodair Children's Hospital. “I appreciate Carroll College’s ability to respond to the healthcare needs of this area. The creation of the new Master of Social Work program fulfills an overwhelming need that exists throughout Montana and the region. Carroll College has a long reputation of attracting the best and the brightest, many of whom are currently employed at Shodair. We look forward to identifying ways we can support and enhance this new program.”

“This new MSW program will enhance healthcare education, and thereby healthcare delivery, in Montana. Benefis Health System values our partnerships with Carroll College,” said John Goodnow, Chief Executive Officer, Benefis Health System.

To lead the program, Carroll has hired James Petrovich, Ph.D. Petrovich will serve as the new director of the Master of Social Work program. He is joining Carroll College from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. At TCU, he served as an associate professor with tenure and department chair in the Department of Social Work. Petrovich obtained his Bachelor of Social Work from Mississippi College in 2000, his Master of Social Work from New York University in 2003, and his Ph.D. in Social Work in 2009. A social worker for nearly 20 years, Petrovich is committed to training and educating competent and ethical social workers to address serious social problems. He previously lived in Montana in 1990 when he worked as a wilderness guide at the Wilderness Treatment Center in Wilsall, Montana.

To learn more about the Master of Social Work program at Carroll College or for information on how to apply, visit the Master of Social Work program page.