UA Wayne Master of Social Work Degree Supports Healthy Future for Wayne County


The University of Akron Wayne College announces ten students will be awarded  Master of Social Work degrees this May after completing their coursework at the Orrville campus. Graduates in the inaugural cohort will be licensed to practice independently in any number of fields including education, justice, and elder care, all areas in high demand for social workers.

According to the United States Department Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in social work is projected to grow 12 percent through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is attributed to the increased demand in healthcare and social services associated with the aging population and the upsurge in drug addiction.  

Wayne College added the master's program last year following the highly successful launch of the bachelor's degree in social work in 2013. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and administered by The University of Akron, the evening program is offered in a two-year, full-time or four-year, part-time format. An advanced standing option is also available for qualifying students. The majority of classes are taught in a traditional classroom setting, with some courses available via distance learning (DL), other UA sites, and online.  The UA School of Social Work is unique in that it is one of only three other Ohio universities where students can earn an Ohio LICDC (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor) license as part of the master's program and the only one to offer the courses online.

Rob Terry, MSSA, LISW-S and coordinator of UA Wayne's master of social work program said community response has been strong from local professionals looking to keep a work/life balance by earning their master's degree close to where they live and work.  

For May graduate Felicia Etzwiler, that work/life balance was especially important. Inspired by her mother who grew up in the foster care system, she worked while earning her degree.  During her undergraduate internship at Anazao Community Partners, she was offered a position where she continued to work as she earned her master's degree. She also fulfilled her master's internship while employed there. "Having a work/life balance is hard for me, but I am grateful for the opportunities I have had on this journey," Etziler said. "I have always wanted to be in a career where I can help people, especially youth, and I can honestly say that I am a better social worker because of the education and support I have received from Wayne College."

Maggie Johnson will earn back to back degrees this May. A fourth generation member of the Lorson family, her great-grandparents originally owned and farmed the land on which the campus is now located. Last year Johnson earned her bachelor's degree in social work and seamlessly transitioned into the master of social work advanced standing program. She will graduate this May with her graduate degree.  "Being a part of a cohort has been one of the most memorable aspects of the MSW program," Johnson said. "The cohort I'm in is so cohesive and supportive of each other. We are professional, but we know how to have a good time and keep things fun." She said the diversity of social work is one of her favorite aspects of the profession. "When I first started, I really had no idea there were so many things I could do," she said. "I've had the opportunity to work with children at a local school and with adults with mental health issues in a clinical setting. These experiences have taught me how important multidisciplinary work is and how a team effort best serves clients." 

"This master's degree is an important program for the health and future of Wayne County, " said Terry. "Our graduates live here. They work here. They know Wayne County and the unique challenges this community has. We're proud to offer a pipeline of opportunity for the social work profession to achieve their career goals entirely here on our campus, and go on to be a valuable resource in serving the needs of the community. "

Registering now for summer and fall. Detailed information regarding the program and registration are available at  or call Rob Terry at 330-972-8790.