Social Worker Salary

Social worker salary varies in the United States. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for social workers in 2019 was $50,470. But a few things play a role in what a social worker makes. Among them are cost of living, location, niche, and level of education.

What is a Social Worker?

Social workers are human services pros who help people solve and deal with issues. These issues may be emotional, behavioral, mental or physical. Since the field is so broad, many social workers stick to a specific area or work with a particular group. Like veterans, the homeless, poor or youth services. In each role, they may counsel, listen and help people who struggle. Often this means linking out to resources like food stamps, shelter or childcare. If curious about social worker jobs, you are likely to need a social work degree. As a rule, one needs a bachelor of social work (BSW) for entry level roles. Like case manager or mental health assistant.

Clinical social workers may need to have a Master of Social Work (MSW) and state licensure. The license follows at least two years of experience in the field. Those who want to teach, work in private practice or research often tend to have a PhD or Doctor of Social Work (DSW). These are the highest degrees. So, they may help you grow as a leader and or practician. When looking into a degree, it is important to look into CSWE approved programs. CSWE is the Council on Social Work Education. They set norms and standards for the profession. Grads from these programs are likely to be able to sit for licensure exams. The same is true for credentials obtained through the NASW. NASW is the National Association of Social Workers. They offer post degree certs in areas like gerontology, military and palliative care.

What Could I do with an Online Social worker Degree?

An online social worker degree may help ready you to pursue or enhance a career. Many of the jobs are for full time roles in these top industries.
  • Individual and family services 18%
  • Local government agencies, except education and hospitals 14%
  • State government, except education and hospitals 14%
  • Ambulatory health care services 13%

Average Salaries For Selected Careers in Social Work

HEALTHCARE SOCIAL WORKERS

Health care and medical social workers may help people adjust to disease or illness. Many work in palliative care facilities or hospices. They might arrange this type of care, for home health aides, or with lifestyle. As a result, these pros tend to team up with doctors and other health care professionals. The median annual medical social worker salary is $59,300.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Healthcare Social Workers
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$78,750810
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$77,300520
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA$74,90030
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$74,630110
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$74,1101,490

Bureau of Labor Statistics

CHILD AND FAMILY SOCIAL WORKERS

When working with children and families, social workers often intervene or advocate for the needy. So, some of the areas they deal with are neglect and abuse. Some also work in adoption, welfare and foster care. The median annual clinical social worker salary is $61,750.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$77,6801,990
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$70,6801,200
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$61,3706,090
Mankato-North Mankato, MN$60,060190
Duluth, MN-WI$59,340650

Bureau of Labor Statistics

MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SOCIAL WORKERS

Those working in mental health and substance abuse help with addictions. They may run 12 step programs and support groups. Some are also licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) and might diagnose and treat too. The median annual mental health social worker salary is $51,670.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA$75,230110
Utica-Rome, NY$66,460230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$63,5502,070
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$62,510810
Bend-Redmond, OR$60,860150

Bureau of Labor Statistics

CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS

Clinical social workers (LCSW or CSW) typically have a master’s degree and license. The license could allow them to diagnose and treat problems. Mental, behavioral and emotional. In this role, they may help a client improve their habits or thinking. A licensed clinical social worker earns a median annual salary of $61,230.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Social Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$89,1500
Springfield, MA-CT$88,01060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$84,900230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$82,9001,190
Worcester, MA-CT$81,80040

Bureau of Labor Statistics

SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKERS

School social workers may interact with parents, school admin and teachers. Their role is to help students learn and succeed. But some of the issues they have to help with include bullying, delinquency and violence. The median annual school social worker salary is $51,030.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Social Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$89,1500
Springfield, MA-CT$88,01060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$84,900230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$82,9001,190
Worcester, MA-CT$81,80040

Bureau of Labor Statistics

COMMUNITY SERVICE MANAGERS

Community service managers may run programs that help the public. They tend to work with one group and type of program. This might gear to the homeless, veterans, foster kids or elderly. Apart from a bachelor’s degree in social work, one may need a master’s degree for some roles.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Social Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$89,1500
Springfield, MA-CT$88,01060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$84,900230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$82,9001,190
Worcester, MA-CT$81,80040

Bureau of Labor Statistics

HUMAN SERVICES ASSISTANTS

With a BSW, one may find jobs as case workers or human services assistants. These are direct service roles. So they may entail keeping records and files intact. Depending on the role, they may make visits to clients and report back to their supervisor.

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Social Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$89,1500
Springfield, MA-CT$88,01060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$84,900230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$82,9001,190
Worcester, MA-CT$81,80040

Bureau of Labor Statistics

LGBT SOCIAL WORKER

Social workers who focus on the LGTB community ensure wellness, safety, and equity for all persons. Many serve as advocates who strive to impact policies that are more inclusive. The median annual master’s social work salary is $50,470.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Social Workers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$89,1500
Springfield, MA-CT$88,01060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$84,900230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$82,9001,190
Worcester, MA-CT$81,80040

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Is an Online Degree in Social worker worth it?

Per the BLS, the future may be bright. They predict an avg. of 11% more jobs by 2028. That said, job growth in all social work jobs does vary. Clinical social workers have the brightest prospects. Those who work in health care should see a 14% climb in jobs. While those working with mental health and substance abuse, 17% growth. It’s a steady but lower forecast for child, family and school social workers (7%). That said, salaries range across the United States. States with higher salaries per the BLS May 2019 data:
  • Hawaii
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Georgia
Yet the states with the highest number of jobs differ. These are:
  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
If you want to join the workforce as a social worker, many schools offer online Master of Social Work degree programs. Learn how this accessible format may provide a gateway to a rewarding job.

Online Social Worker Degree Jobs & Salary

OccupationMedian Annual SalaryJobs
Social Workers$61,23081,200
Health Care Social Workers$56,750180,500
Child, Family and School Social Workers$47,390339,800
Mental Health / Substance Abuse Social Workers$46,650125,200

Top Employment States for Jobs as a Social Worker

StateJobsAnnual Mean Wage
California12,210$71,020
New York4,910$67,580
Florida3,880$51,980
Ohio2,870$53,650
South Carolina2,770$45,700

States for Jobs as a Social worker

StateJobsAnnual Mean Wage
HawaiiRhode Island$81,520
Rhode Island130$74,520
Massachusetts520$74,390
New HampshireN/A$74,160
Georgia980$73,830
If you want to pursue a career in the workforce as a social worker, many schools offer online Master of Social Work degree programs. Learn how this accessible format may provide a gateway toward pursing a  new career.