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Does Social Work Pay Well?

I'm really interested in social work and I really do enjoy helping people, but I don't know if it fulfills my financial needs. Not for shallow reasons or anything, I just really want my kids to be comfortable, and I want them to have to worry about money or anything. #psychology #social-work #career #social #humanities

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Dexter’s Answer

Hey Sarah,

A job to consider would be working in a silicon valley company in a HR department. Plenty of ways to help employees and help them grow. I know it's very different than doing social work, but it does pay well, and it can be fulfilling, if you end up in a good HR department with good coworkers.


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Steven’s Answer

That is a common issue I hear from people that go into Social Work. From my experience (not personal, more anecdotal), Social Work is an extremely rewarding experience for those who truly have a passion to work with people that need it. There are long days, often extremely emotional draining. But if you find the right work that feeds your passion, it could be rewarding personally and certainly for the people you interact with.

Saying this, to be able to work in a lot of the areas and best places, you will need to have at least a Masters degree. College undergrad and Graduate are extremely expensive, and the starting salaries for Social Work are not very high. Long term, salaries do improve, but do lag as compared to others in the Healthcare fields. I know many people with huge student loans that never get out from under them given the lower salary. This is not to deter someone to enter this profession, just go in with eyes open. Best is to try and limit student loans up front to at least not have a financial burden as you work in this meaningful profession.

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Kristina’s Answer

My father and several close family members are career social workers, and they would agree with with Steven, that it is very hard work typically with not a lot of pay, but is very rewarding.

Per the National Association of Social Workers, "The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. If you’re looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and a variety of options, consider social work. "

Social workers don't have to be just volunteers or entry level jobs, that (and the related pay) would depend on your goals, career mapping, and the effort you put into it.

Social workers can be executive directors of nonprofit organizations, community organizers, professors, and even members of Congress, to name some examples.

Kristina recommends the following next steps:

Learn about different kinds of social work at the NASW site https://www.socialworkers.org/News/Facts/Types-of-Social-Work