Skip to main content
2 answers
Asked 1329 views

What is the average starting pay of a social worker?

#phycologists #social-services

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


2 answers

Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Nija’s Answer

Hi Bailey,

It is great that you are obtaining information about the starting salary for a social worker role. If you are considering an interest in the social work field, it is important that you are dedicated, motivated, and compassionate about working with individuals and families in addressing and helping them work through challenges. I am a social worker and it is a rewarding experience but at the same time, it can be emotionally taxing; however, it feels great to see growth in clients; appreciation and getting paid for my service delivery.

The social work field has a strong potential to paid very well but the pay rate usually varies depending on professional experience, education, client population that you work with and the type of environmental setting. If you are just starting out in the social work field, be prepare to expect to make a lesser salary range. In order to make a good decent salary, you will need to pursue a graduate degree and take the licensing exam to become a Licensed Social Worker. An advance degree opens up jobs opportunities that call for greater expertise and leadership skills, and accordingly, these positions come with a higher level of compensation. As you might expect, none of them are likely to make you rich, but you can still do pretty well for yourself in the process of doing good things for other people.

Here is important information that I obtained from the Occupational Outlook Handbook website: Read Below:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for all social workers in the U.S. as of May 2019 was $61,230, while the average among the top 10 percent was $90,800.
Around the country, the average salaries by specialty looked like this:
Child, Family and School Social Workers
Los Angeles, CA – $63,810
New York, NY – $63,590
Chicago, IL – $55,660
Healthcare Social Workers
Los Angeles, CA – $83,430
New York, NY – $63,980
Boston, MA – $64,580
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Los Angeles, CA – $64,290
New York, NY – $68,300
Boston, MA – $47,010

If You Want To Earn More, Learn More
Level of education is probably the most important determiner of your salary potential.

A study commissioned by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) quantifies this trend, finding that earning an MSW boosts pay on average by $15,000 annually over what you could expect with a BSW. Of course, it should go without saying that these numbers are largely dependent on you earning a degree from a program that is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation. Degree mills are something to look out for, but CSWE accreditation takes them out of the picture and ensures you get a top quality education in social work.
Even in Social Work, Salaries Differ by Industry. When it comes to factors that influence your salary, right behind your level of education is the type of employer you work for. According to BLS, your median wage can vary a lot from industry to industry, regardless of credentials (national average by each industry as reported in 2019):
Industry Median Wage
Hospitals $56,750
Local government $55,500
Ambulatory healthcare $51,290
State government $49,100
Individual and family services $43,030
Social Work Salary with a Bachelor’s Degree
A master’s degree is widely recognized as the industry standard in the field of social work since it’s a requirement for clinical positions that require licensure in most states. However, entry level and other nonclinical jobs are available with a bachelor’s degree, and in fact, the number of new professionals coming into the field with a bachelor’s has been rising in recent years. The NASW found that BSW graduates increase by about 50 percent every five years, while the number of MSW’s awarded increase by about 25 percent over the same period.
That’s in part a reflection of the growing number of positions that don’t formally require licensure. This is basic work that takes some of the load off of more highly educated social workers, but it’s still important and offers a high degree of job satisfaction.
With a Bachelor of Social Work or similar degree in sociology, psychology or human services, you would qualify for jobs that include:
Behavioral management aide
Case management aide
Community outreach worker
Juvenile court liaison
Child Welfare Screener
Benefits Eligibility Screener
Probation counselor / Court Compliance Officer
Rehabilitation case worker
As you might expect, these positions all fall into the lower tier of social work salaries.
Exact data isn’t published by degree level, but the BLS showed an average salary for a couple positions where a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, both offering respectable salaries (national median as reported in 2017):
Health educators and community health workers – $46,910
Social and community service managers – $67,150
Social Work Salary with a Master’s Degree
A Master of Social Work (MSW), or similar master’s in related fields like human services, psychology, counseling or sociology, gives you access to the highest tier jobs in licensed positions, and unlocks the potential for earning some of the highest salaries available in the social services sector. These include jobs in clinical social work and other highly skilled positions that involve direct interaction with clients, as well as management positions that involve developing strategy and overseeing other social workers as they perform their duties.

Hospitals; state, local, and private $58,490
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $52,900 Ambulatory healthcare services $48,340
State government, excluding education and hospitals $46,120
Individual and family services $40,800
Mental health and substance abuse social workers $43,250
Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

You can conduct further research on the following websites:





In addition, you can conduct a google search pertaining to social work salaries.

I hope that this information is helpful and that you can benefit from it. Good luck to you in your endeavors.

Nija recommends the following next steps:

Continue to do your research about the field of social work.
Search various websites that contains the salary of a social worker.
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Dr. James’s Answer

Median annual wages for social workers reach $50,470, and range from $31,750 for the lowest-paid 10% to $82,540 for the top 10% in the field. Social workers practicing individually and in family services settings average $43,030 a year. At the upper end of the pay scale, hospitals pay a median wage of $55,500.