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How UK’s Online MSW Prepares Students for Military Social Work Careers

Watch as Chris Flaherty, director of the Military Behavioral Health Research Laboratory and associate professor, shares what makes UK’s online social work program ideal for military members and their families. He discusses how the flexible format makes it possible for students to earn their online MSW while maintaining busy schedules. Plus, our expert faculty and military-specific courses prepare students for in-demand clinical social worker careers as experts who understand the unique needs of military populations.

CHRISTOPHER FLAHERTY: I’m Chris Flaherty. I’m the director of the Military Behavioral Health Research Laboratory and an associate professor here at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. I was in the Air Force 20 years, enlisted in 1985. I had a specialty as a mental health technician for my first seven years. And during that time, I studied social work and getting my MSW and became a clinical social worker and finished out my 20 years in that role.

The UK MSW program, the online program in particular, is ideal for military members and family members of military service members because it’s very flexible in it’s delivery. It’s easy to accommodate people with various work schedules and deployments. We have several military experts on our faculty here, and a lot of the instructors that military members would see have service background history or have worked with service members in the past.

Our online program mirrors our face-to-face program as far as the courses offered, the learning outcomes, student expectations. It’s really all the same. The only distinction is the delivery mode. We offer some military-specific courses that help students to build competence in understanding military culture, understanding challenges specific to military members and veteran populations and how service delivery is provided to those populations.

There is a big demand for social workers both in the DOD and VA systems. The Veterans Administration is actually the largest employer of social workers in the nation, with over 13,000 social work positions.