While most people pursuing careers as social workers do it because they have the desire to help others, many of them still wonder how much social workers make. Let’s face it, working at a job you love is a great thing, but working at a job you like that pays well is an added bonus. Just how much do social workers make? Social worker wages can vary by many factors. Get the facts here.
What Factors Affect Wages?
Like with any occupation or profession, social worker wages can vary by many factors.
• Degree Level
• Geographic Location
Social Worker Salaries for Different Degree Levels
Social workers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field like sociology or psychology. However, positions like clinical social work require a master’s degree. Clinical social workers must have a master’s degree in social work. Some social worker positions require a doctoral degree. In the same way that some social work positions require high degrees, some also garner high wages.
According to the National Association of Social Workers, social workers with a master’s degree earned about $13,000 more than social workers with a bachelor’s degree in 2017. Social workers with a doctoral degree earned $20,000-$25,000 more than social workers with a master’s degree. An interesting fact is that male social workers with a master’s degree earned about $1,200 more than females with the same degree, but female social workers with a doctoral degree earned about $7,000 more than males with a doctoral degree.
How Location Affects Wages
Location probably is the largest factor in determining social worker wages. Here are five top-paying states for healthcare social workers followed by the five lowest-paying states in 2018 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• Nevada – $78,940
• California – $72,770
• District of Columbia – $70,580
• Oregon – $70,190
• Connecticut – $69,840
• Arkansas – $42,380
• South Dakota – $43,270
• Missouri – $45,620
• Oklahoma – $46,690
• Alabama – $47,170
Here are five top-paying states for child, family and school social workers followed by the five lowest-paying states.
• District of Columbia – $70,270
• Connecticut – $69,520
• New Jersey – $67,700
• Rhode Island – $61,440
• California – $59,500
• Mississippi – $35,100
• West Virginia – $36,430
• Oklahoma – $36,470
• Missouri – $37,680
• Arkansas – $38,270
Here are five top-paying states for social workers, all others followed by the five lowest-paying states.
• District of Columbia – $82,900
• Hawaii – $81,790
• Rhode Island $75,710
• Massachusetts – $75,340
• Nevada – $75,020
• Montana – $43,980
• South Carolina – $45,610
• Arkansas – $49,680
• Utah – $50,900
• Ohio – $51,490
Different Industries – Different Wages
Industries also play an important part in determining social worker wages, according to HumanServicesEdu.org. According to a May 2018 report by the BLS, social workers across the United States earned a median annual wage of $49,470. These wages can fluctuate from one industry to the next. Here are the top industries for social workers along with their wages as of 2018.
• State, local and private hospitals – $60,100
• Local government (not hospitals or education) – $54,430
• Ambulatory healthcare services – $49,840
• State government (not hospitals or education) – $48,590
• Individual and family services – $41,810
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
Social workers do many things throughout their career, but helping others is always at the top of their list. Becoming a social worker can be the beginning of a challenging yet rewarding career. Learning that they also have the potential to make very good salaries is just an added bonus.