What Is the Salary for Social Workers?

Social workers can work at hospitals, health centers, schools, clinics or government offices. Your salary in this profession can vary, depending on the specific field that you choose to enter, the industry you work in and the state where you work. Read on for detailed salary information for social workers. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career and Salary Overview

A bachelor's degree in social work is usually required for employment as a social worker, but clinical jobs may require you to hold a graduate degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that all states required clinical social workers to receive licensure, which usually requires the completion of a supervised clinical practice (www.bls.gov).

The median salary for all social workers was $45,598 as of June 2019, according to PayScale.com. Salaries vary by subfield, employer and location. Some career options include healthcare social worker; child, family and school social worker; and mental health and substance abuse social worker.

Important Facts For This Occupation

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 16%
Similar Occupations Psychologist, school and career counselor, social and human service assistant
Required Education Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW)
Key Skills Empathy and ability to listen; problem-solving ability; time-management and organizational skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Healthcare Social Workers

If you want to work in a medical setting, you can become a healthcare social worker, which allows you to provide support for ill individuals and their families. The BLS stated that these workers earned a mean annual wage of $58,470 as of May 2018. Hospitals employed the highest number of social workers, and these professionals earned a mean salary of $64,910 as of May 2018, reported the BLS.

Home healthcare services, as well as individual and family services, also employed a large percentage of healthcare social workers. The home healthcare services sector paid these professionals a mean yearly salary of $60,850 as of May 2018, while individual and family services offered professionals a mean annual income of $52,480, according to BLS figures. The BLS also reported that California had the highest healthcare social worker employment level and offered an average wage of $76,450, the highest of any state, in May 2018.

Child, Family and School Social Workers

If you're interested in a social work career that involves helping youth, you can work as a child, family and school social worker. You might help arrange adoptions, investigate child abuse cases or help families deal with particular parenting problems. As of May 2018, the BLS stated that the yearly mean wage for child, family and school social workers was $49,760.

According to the BLS, the highest-paying employers were elementary and high schools, which paid workers a mean salary of $63,000 per year in May 2018. Individual and family services, state governments, and local governments employed most of these professionals and offered respective average wages of $42,970, $49,650 and $55,860. The BLS also reported that California had the highest child, family and school social worker employment level in May 2018 and paid these professionals an average salary of $59,500. District of Columbia paid these professionals the highest average wage of $70,270.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

If you want to practice therapy techniques to assist people in overcoming drug problems or mental illnesses, you can become a mental health and substance abuse social worker, also sometimes called a clinical social worker. According to the BLS, professionals in this field made a mean salary of $49,630 annually as of May 2018.

The best-paying employers for mental health and substance abuse social workers were insurance carriers and colleges, universities and professional schools which paid workers respective mean wages $65,830 and $59,670 per year as of May 2018, stated the BLS. The sectors that had the greatest concentration of workers were psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and outpatient care centers, which offered respective average wages of $53,360 and $47,430. In May 2018, the BLS reported that California had the highest mental health and substance abuse social worker employment level and offered an average wage of $61,640. New Jersey, which had the highest pay of all states, offered these professionals an average wage of $79,130.

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