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What is the average starting pay for social workers?

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Kim’s Answer

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Hi Anastasia!

The term "social worker" is loosely used to include many occupations. It is also applied to positions that are MSW or LSW - Masters of Social Work or Licensed Social Worker. People in these positions can do counseling. They can receive referrals from courts, do family therapy, work with drug abuse clients (CADAC certification) etc. I don't know a lot about those.

I will talk to you about the other positions that are sometimes referred to as "social work." This can include working for government agencies, private companies (including those landing government contracts), and non-profits. While it is possible to earn good money in some of these positions, many pay barely enough to live on. So, in general, here in San Antonio, expect the entry-level pay for these positions to be $12-$15/hr. ($25 -$30,000 a year).

A lot will depend on who you worked for. I worked for the Texas Workforce Commission, at the Workforce Office. Even after 10 years, I was still only making $30,000. However, in the same building, doing similar work, there were employees working for C2 Global. C2 is a private company, hired by the state, to oversee clients in the SNAP (food stamps) program. They start their Career Counselors at $17/hr.

Child Protective Services is a state job that pays better, but that is because the case load is overwhelming and the burnout rate is high.

When looking at salaries, remember to compare complete benefit packages. Medical insurance, 401k match, paid leave time, etc. Also, be wary of charts showing entry level, mid-range, and max salaries. Remember to ask about how one progresses. By the way, Texas state employees have not received a pay raise in 6 years, so, while state jobs may be an easy to obtain first job, keep your eyes open for what else is out there.

I just tried looking up some salary info. Those with Master's degrees doing social work in a healthcare setting show an entry level salary of $55,000 in San Antonio. These people may work at hospice facilities, or in hospitals coordinating patients' transition to another facility or setting up home health care/physical therapy, etc.

Here is a good site for career research in Texas.

https://lmci.state.tx.us/

Hope this helps!

Kim

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