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How Much Does a Social Worker Make?

Social work salaries don’t top the charts, but you’ll more than compensate for money with the rewards of the profession.

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Median Annual Social Worker Salary

Social workers may not earn the largest salaries, but the potential for growth and job satisfaction is there. Take a look at social worker median annual salaries, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics below.

Social Workers, All Other

National data

Median Salary: $61,420

Projected job growth: 6.6%

10th Percentile: $37,500

25th Percentile: $46,340

75th Percentile: $81,660

90th Percentile: $95,560

Projected job growth: 6.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $51,480 $37,580 $102,330
Arizona $58,830 $38,860 $91,150
Arkansas $39,910 $36,000 $89,940
California $62,200 $42,750 $106,760
Colorado $48,670 $36,760 $87,710
Connecticut $65,770 $47,430 $103,730
Delaware $62,920 $37,810 $101,150
District of Columbia $87,420 $41,970 $107,790
Florida $52,520 $35,190 $87,300
Georgia $69,870 $36,200 $97,880
Hawaii $84,970 $47,270 $104,150
Idaho $41,660 $40,160 $89,940
Illinois $66,620 $36,390 $97,050
Indiana $72,820 $47,490 $90,770
Iowa $73,030 $36,690 $90,190
Kansas $80,350 $60,600 $95,220
Kentucky $70,620 $33,570 $95,220
Louisiana $64,750 $30,320 $92,580
Maine $52,320 $45,890 $79,060
Maryland $62,130 $40,700 $106,410
Massachusetts $74,710 $46,210 $103,730
Michigan $60,220 $37,600 $94,700
Minnesota $65,780 $48,250 $85,800
Mississippi $54,720 $36,300 $95,220
Missouri $40,160 $31,180 $87,300
Montana $43,240 $35,050 $84,640
Nebraska $58,450 $34,910 $87,840
Nevada $63,250 $39,790 $113,130
New Jersey $65,950 $35,000 $104,000
New Mexico $58,010 $47,360 $87,300
New York $76,350 $59,240 $100,030
North Carolina $68,910 $35,940 $93,600
North Dakota $72,820 $47,360 $89,940
Ohio $56,120 $33,930 $86,070
Oklahoma $86,070 $54,720 $95,220
Oregon $59,680 $40,460 $79,270
Pennsylvania $75,030 $48,870 $98,260
Rhode Island $86,690 $61,260 $106,620
South Carolina $77,230 $41,120 $95,220
South Dakota $79,350 $56,530 $92,580
Tennessee $45,780 $29,320 $92,580
Texas $72,820 $37,340 $97,880
Utah $51,040 $38,210 $86,070
Vermont $63,300 $40,500 $95,220
Virginia $72,800 $48,150 $98,700
Washington $85,010 $47,710 $109,300
West Virginia $75,030 $37,000 $97,880
Wisconsin $50,900 $37,760 $78,330

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

How do social worker salaries compare?

Career Median Annual Salary
Social Workers, All Other $61,420
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $50,820
Healthcare Social Workers $60,280
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $51,240
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other $47,290

Is there demand for this career?

Demand for social workers will increase across all areas of specialization, but in general, the demand for social workers in health care and social services will remain high.

Demand for child, family and school social workers should remain high because they will be needed in cases of abuse and foster care or adoption procedures. One limitation to demand in this area may be budget constraints in government, and funding cuts for schools and education facilities.

Health care social workers should find ample employment as baby boomers age and families seek care for their elderly relations.

Mental health and substance abuse social workers should also find ample opportunity as people seek treatment for mental health issues and addictions. Because offenders are now more frequently sent to treatment programs rather than face incarceration, social workers will play an important role in their rehabilitation.

What is the job growth for the field?

If you pursue a social work degree, will there be jobs available when you graduate? The outlook is great! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of social workers is expected to increase by 7.4% through 2032, which is faster than the national average for all other occupations. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Competition for jobs will be high with a bachelor’s degree, but those who earn their Master’s in Social Work (MSW) should find employment opportunities directly out of school. Those who attain Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) stature can maintain a private practice or work in any number of career fields and organizations such as prisons, private companies and corporations, and school systems.

What kind of companies hire social workers?

Take a look below to see where social workers are working today.

The BLS says that the following industries employ the most social workers:

  • Individual and family services
  • State and local government agencies
  • Ambulatory healthcare services
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Mental health and substance abuse clinics

How do I advance in my social work career?

Though a bachelor’s degree is the requirement for most direct-services social workers, earning a master’s degree will help considerably if you want to move up the ladder and become a clinical social worker.

Another way to improve your job outlook is to become licensed. Licensing varies by state, but all states require some type of certification, and all states require clinical social workers to be licensed.

Still, no discussion of social work salary and job outlook is complete without talking about the rewards that money can’t buy. Dollars and cents aside, social work is a career where making a difference is not an empty buzzword, but an exciting and very real opportunity.

If you are serious about changing the world for the better, consider starting your education for a career in social work now.