After his time in the military, Andy Heitman knew he wanted to work helping other veterans. Heitman, who served in the Air Force, enrolled in the Part-Time Master of Social Work Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work.
“My whole goal all along, post-military, was to help vets any which way possible,” says Heitman. “I saw social work as the best avenue to help veterans who were hurting.”
The Part-Time Master of Social Work Program enabled Heitman to work full-time and spend time with his family while pursuing a master’s degree. The chance for working adults to balance their commitments can be particularly helpful for veterans, who often develop financial and family obligations during their time in the service, Heitman says.
The Part-Time Master of Social Work Program is designed for recent graduates of a social work bachelor’s program; social workers seeking to move into supervisory roles; and those looking for a new career path. It’s a flexible, commuter-friendly program that offers Saturday classes at both the UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire campuses.
‘Servants by heart’
Heitman says the service-oriented nature of those who volunteer for military service can also spur a desire to pursue social work. People who serve in the military “are servants by heart,” he says. “I’d imagine they felt the same opportunity would be there in social work.”
Social work is an increasingly popular choice for veterans returning to graduate school. Just under 20 percent of graduate students receiving veterans benefits at UW-Madison are pursuing a master’s degree in social work, according to data from the UW-Madison Graduate School, while only 4 percent of graduate students overall are enrolled in the MSW Program.
After getting his master’s degree, Heitman found work as a case manager for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the Veterans Hospital in Madison.
For more information on the Part-Time Master of Social Work Program, see here.