What You Can Expect To Earn As A Social Worker

An important part of every job is the salary. This is actually quite an unfortunate state of affairs, but in this day and age it is not sufficient to do something simply because you love it, but also because you need to feed yourself and your family. Considering the salary of a social worker then is a very important first step in deciding whether or not this is a feasible career path for you.

Salary Of Social Worker: Facts And Figures

To become a social worker also comes with a reasonable salary, although there is a lot of debate as to whether this salary is worth the time and effort that goes into the job. These problems will be discussed in a lot more detail later in this article. For now, let’s begin with what you can reasonably expect to earn as a social worker. The following is a list of what you can expect to earn as a social worker depending on the exact type of social worker you decide to become. These figures are not exact, but they are a good approximation of a social worker salary.

  • A normal Social Service Worker with the basic qualifications earns something around $32,000.
  • If you are a Licensed Social Worker you can expect to earn in the region of $47,000.
  • A Psychiatric Social Worker can expect a social worker salary of about $54,000.
  • As a Social Service Specialist can expect to earn around $56,000.
  • A Children’s Services Specialist, who also usually requires to be a social worker with the appropriate qualifications, can expect to earn around about $58,000.
  • The social worker income for a clinical social worker can earn something like $60,000.
  • If your interest is in the medical arena you can expect to earn about $65,000 as a Medical Social Worker.
  • A Supervising Psychiatric Social Worker can earn $82,000.
  • A Supervising Counselling Psychologist will most likely earn something in the lines of $91,000.
  • At the higher end of the pay scale a Supervising Social Worker can earn about $92,000.

As you can see it depends heavily on the exact line of work you are planning to pursue as a social worker. You can also see that even on the upper limit of the scale, the pay is not that high. However, this is something you are going to have to deal with if you decide to become a social worker.

Child, Family, And School Social Worker Salary

Industries with the highest level of employment:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Individual and Family Services 61,170 $17.85 $37,120
State Government 60,510 $20.91 $43,500
Local Government 54,100 $23.59 $49,060
Elementary and Secondary Schools 37,340 $27.45 $57,100
Other Residential Care Facilities 9,510 $17.61 $36,630


Top Paying Industries:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Elementary and Secondary Schools 37,340 $27.45 $57,100
Other Schools and Instruction 530 $26.57 $55,260
Junior Colleges 420 $26.46 $55,040
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 690 $24.15 $50,230
Legal Services 160 $23.92 $49,760


States with the highest employment level:

State Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
California 23,600 $24.08 $50,090
New York 22,160 $24.65 $51,280
Texas 18,050 $18.56 $38,610
Pennsylvania 17,880 $18.14 $37,730
Illinois 13,640 $25.74 $53,540


Top Paying states:

State Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Connecticut 5,250 $29.48 $61,310
New Jersey 8,200 $27.12 $56,420
Minnesota 5,770 $26.59 $55,310
Hawaii 1,640 $26.12 $54,340
Rhode Island 1,880 $26.02 $54,120


Healthcare Social Workers Salary

Industries with the highest level of employment:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 42,200 $26.23 $54,550
Individual and Family Services 16,080 $19.89 $41,380
Home Health Care Services 15,560 $24.68 $51,330
Nursing Care Facilities 14,680 $21.10 $43,890
Local Government 9,680 $22.50 $46,800


Top Paying Industries:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Specialty Hospitals 1,960 $27.51 $57,210
Elementary and Secondary Schools 130 $26.52 $55,150
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 1,280 $24.48 $55,070
Employment Services 960 $26.33 $54,770
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 42,200 $26.23 $54,550


States with the highest employment level:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
California 11,490 $28.35 $58,980
New York 9,890 $25.86 $53,790
Michigan 9,030 $23.75 $49,400
Pennsylvania 8,160 $21.44 $44,600
Texas 7,000 $24.52 $51,000


Top Paying States:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
District of Columbia 350 $33.83 $70,370
Nevada 720 $30.91 $64,290
Connecticut 2,070 $28.81 $59,920
Maryland 2,860 $28.55 $59,370
California 11,490 $28.35 $58,980


Mental Health And Substance Abuse Social Workers Salary

Industries with the highest levels of employment:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Outpatient Care Centers 23,560 $19.18 $39,900
Individual and Family Services 20,130 $18.82 $39,150
Residential Mental Retardation, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities 16,490 $17.00 $35,360
Local Government 12,710 $22.69 $47,200
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 10,360 $23.21 $48,280


Top Paying Industries:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services 130 $28.36 $58,990
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 6,490 $24.29 $50,530
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 220 $23.72 $49,340
State Government 5,130 $23.54 $48,960
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 5,400 $23.23 $48,310


States with the highest employment level:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
New York 10,880 $23.63 $49,150
California 10,650 $22.86 $47,550
Pennsylvania 9,380 $19.30 $40,150
Ohio 5,790 $18.69 $38,880
Florida 5,040 $17.11 $35,590


Top Paying States:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
New Jersey 1,430 $27.51 $57,230
Rhode Island 1,120 $25.97 $54,010
District of Columbia 780 $25.70 $53,450
Connecticut 2,770 $24.84 $51,660
New York 10,880 $23.63 $49,150


Social Workers Salary, All Other

Industries with the highest levels of employment:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Local Government 17,230 $27.37 $56,940
State Government 11,990 $23.86 $49,630
Individual and Family Services 10,330 $19.43 $40,420
Federal Executive Branch 9,430 $33.57 $69,830
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 4,170 $28.57 $59,430


Top Paying Industries:

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
Federal Executive Branch 9,430 $33.57 $69,830
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 850 $32.31 $67,200
Specialty Hospitals 210 $30.54 $63,510
Insurance Carriers 580 $30.25 $62,920
Insurance and Employee Benefit Funds $30.15 $62,710


States with the highest employment level:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
California 13,810 $28.79 $59,870
New York 13,060 $26.22 $54,540
Illinois 5,010 $25.66 $53,380
Ohio 3,850 $21.82 $45,380
Washington 3,350 $25.12 $52,250


Top Paying States:

States Employment Hourly Pay Annual Pay
West Virginia 140 $32.64 $67,890
South Dakota 70 $32.24 $67,060
Minnesota 360 $29.72 $61,830
Maryland 1,040 $28.95 $60,210
Arizona 510 $28.90 $60,100


Becoming A Social Worker – Motivation

If you are looking to make money, then becoming a social worker is not the career path for you. Although a social worker salary is not at all bad, you will soon realize that all social workers currently in the profession are not in it for the money. They are in it in order to make a difference and to help others. If this is not your primary goal in your studies to becoming a social worker, then perhaps it is not the career path that is most suitable for you.

Issues Related To Social Worker Salaries

It is well-known fact that social workers receive a rather low salary comparatively speaking. This is unfortunate, especially considering the essential work that they do. The service that a social worker provides is an essential one in many areas, and is the glue that holds societies together. However, when it comes to social worker pay, social workers tend to be short-changed.Social Worker Salary

Luckily in most cases people aren’t in it for the social worker salary, but rather for the inherent rewards that come with doing a job such as this one. However it has been found in several studies that it is not only the social worker that suffers in this situation, but also the client. Lower pay means lower motivation and less devotion to Excellency, at least for most people, and this in turn results in poor quality service being given to the clients in the care of the social worker.

It is a known fact that some very basic professions, such as meter reading, render higher salaries than those paid to social workers. Some people see this as a reflection of how social workers are valued. In short, they are valued very poorly. When it comes to social worker salaries a change in mind-set is desperately needed if the industry is to advance. There have been practically no increases in pay for social workers over the years, and no one really expects there to be any in the future.

There is, consequently, a very low growth in the industry, something to keep in mind if you are looking to begin a career in the social work industry. Fewer and fewer people are choosing this vocation every year, meaning that the profession may well die out. Unless a change in attitude is effected as soon as possible, then this country may find itself in a very difficult situation. In general people do not realize how important the emotional and social well-being of an individual is. They look at the physical comfort and health of a person without taking these equally crucial concepts into account. Consequently people who work to serve this aspect of the country’s well-being are shoved to one side and devalued, making it a difficult profession in which to continue.

One of the reasons for this maladaptive attitude towards social workers is the erroneous belief that this type of work can be done by anyone, that it doesn’t require any special skills or qualifications. This is something every social worker knows to be wrong. This is a profession that requires training and a very specific personality type, and the average social worker salary should reflect this fact sufficiently.

Basically, even though there have been some salary increases, they are not in line with what other health care professionals, such as nurses, are receiving. They are simply related to cost of living, but are not keeping up with the overall inflation rate. Basically things are only getting worse with each passing year, with no sign that anyone is trying to do anything to remedy the situation.

Working For Church Related Agencies

Salaries do vary according to the exact work you as a social worker as well as according to the region in which you work. For one thing, many social workers work for church related agencies, or other practically non-profit organizations, which leaves them in a bad position. This is because such agencies simply do not have the resources to devote to the profession. This once again ties in with the fact that it is not the social worker salary that is the aim of being a social worker, but rather the work itself.

It follows from the above statement that if you wish to earn the highest possible amount as a social worker, you should avoid church-like organizations and focus more on positions in industries, universities, the private sector, and businesses. This however may not always be in line with what your personal intentions as a social worker are, and consequently you may prefer to work in a lower paying job. However, the fact remains that overall there is no infrastructure in place to ensure that social workers are paid adequately.

Even if you have a private practice, usually considered the best paying area to be in as social worker, you will still find that other costs, such as insurance, will take a huge bite out of your earnings, making it difficult to keep afloat. Although this is still a very real option as a social worker, having your own private practice or working for yourself is not as great as it is made out to be.

Gender Related Issues

Another very salient issue related to the issue of the average social worker salary you can be expected to earn is that of gender. Despite a large number of efforts in this area, it still appears that men, who make up a smaller percentage of the social working arena than women, still get higher salaries. They are also far more likely to make it into the superior positions of power and to be hired in the larger and more successful agencies. This inequity is unfortunate, but is also not surprising for this day and age. Despite efforts by many people in many industries, the average salaries of men remain higher than that of women in the same social worker jobs opportunities with the same qualifications. This is another way of thinking that needs to change if we wish to improve the situation related the salaries received by social workers.

Unfortunately there are a large number of individuals with lower qualifications than social workers who are nevertheless hired for the jobs which are meant to be reserved for social workers. The result of this is an unfortunate perpetuation of the situation in that the average salary paid to social workers is not going to increase as long as there are less qualified individuals out there who are willing to work for less money.

Usually wages are increased in situations where there is a shortage of people who can fulfill the position. This is unlikely to happen considering the high number of people who meet the bare minimum requirements to do a social workers job. However, considering that more and more people are deciding to leave the social work industry, this may mean that the shortage required to stimulate a salary increase may eventuate in the future. However, it would be a pity if we have to wait for this situation to take place before anyone took it upon themselves to initiate and increase in the average salary that a social worker receives.

Licensing Laws

Social worker jobIn many states there are no licensing laws. This means that you don’t have to have a license to practice as a social worker. Unfortunately this also has a negative impact on the salaries of social workers. Without strict licensing laws the market becomes flooded with people who meet the specifications for being a social worker. A more stringent infrastructure controlling this aspect of social work may go a long way to improving the situation of a social worker’s salary.

Even social workers who are dedicated to their job and love it have trouble with the poor social worker salary that they receive. As a result, they have other jobs. This means that their attention is not limited solely to their job as a social worker, but is instead divided among two or more jobs. They also may be overtired and overworked because of this situation. Unfortunately, however, considering the low salaries that social workers receive, many of them have no choice but to put themselves in these situations.

The social system needs to be stable. Children and other people helped by social workers need stability, but under current conditions, stability is simply not available. Low salaries affect everyone, not simply those working as social workers.

The Positive Side

Although the above information may have put you off the entire social worker experience, it is important to note that there are many people who simply do not share these views, as well as several facts to back up their optimism. Generally speaking, social work is considered to be an industry that is growing faster than other industries, which means that job stability is practically guaranteed.

Social Worker Job Description
Perhaps a more important question than the social worker salary you will receive should you embark on this career is what the actual job description of a social worker is. You need to know whether or not you are willing to actually fulfill the expectations that are inherent in becoming a social worker before deciding whether or not you are willing to become one.

The basic duties of a social worker are as follows:

  • You will be required to interview clients and their families to find out the information relevant to helping them with their situation.
  • You will have to plan and coordinate any activities or programs that are necessary to meet the emotional and social needs of the client and the client’s family.
  • You will have to aid your clients in terms of their mental health in terms of identifying and working through their emotional problems through therapy in either groups or on an individual basis.
  • You will need to be able to accurately diagnose the problems that your client may or may not have. You will find it very difficult to treat a patient unless you can be absolutely sure of what is wrong with them. If you feel that you will be unable to do this, then you should consider alternative professions.
  • You will need to be open to working with your client rather than issuing them instructions that you expect them to obey. It is far better for the healing process if your client works with you in terms of deciding on a treatment plan and a way forward.
  • A very important part of the basic job description is record keeping. This may sound uninteresting, but in all jobs you need to keep accurate records, and this is no exception. Record keeping is an essential part of the social worker job description.
  • You will need to be aware of other tools and resources that your client can use in order to speed up their recovery process and you will have to be confident enough in your knowledge to refer your client’s to such resources should the need arise.
  • You will need to be willing to work closely with other professionals, such as doctors, in order to ensure that your client receives the best care and attention possible from all areas of the care system.
  • You will need to spontaneously initiate and run social service programs in order to serve the wider community.
  • You also need to be willing and open to working with the families of your clients as their influence will be crucial in helping the recovery of your client.

There are a few different areas that you may be able to work in as a social worker. The most common areas are the following:

There are many doors open to you as a social worker. You will be able to help many different people in a variety of situations. Social work is very rewarding, and people who choose this line of work choose it as a vocation. They choose it because they love it. The key question that you have to consider before deciding on a career as a social worker is whether or not you have the drive necessary to get the job done. There is no possibility for you to be in it for the money. The social worker salary you will receive cannot be the basis of your choice of career.

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