Human Services Guide

Social Worker Salaries

The arena of Social Work is one that has a wide variety of pay scales depending on the kind of Social Work one is doing as well as other factors such as level of education, years working in a particular job, the city and state within which you work and a variety of additional factors. Probably the single most important determinant of salary for a Social Worker is your level of education as this both determines access to higher tier Social Work jobs like management and Licensed Clinical Social Work and higher degrees also simply grant one higher levels of salary right out of the gate in certain agencies. In order to increase your earning potential you will want to get the highest academic degree you possibly can as this will make you more likely to be hired and also greatly increase the kinds of jobs you will be able to apply for. Salary ranges are important in determining how much you will end up earning, but having a degree that gives you options and catches the eye of prospective employers is also very important. Below I will discuss the various degree levels and show how having a higher degree will give you access to different jobs and also increased pay.

As a general way to outline Social Work pay, you can view the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website and see that the median national pay for a Social Worker is approximately $42,480. This is assuming that one has a least a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree and no work experience. With greater experience and more advanced degrees one can anticipate significantly higher income.

Social Work Salary with a Bachelor Degree

With a Bachelor of Social Work or a similar degree such as a Bachelor of Sociology, a Bachelor of Psychology or a Bachelor of Human Services, you can expect to have a median yearly salary of $42,480 depending on your exact job title and the city and state within which you are employed this can vary tremendously.

Some of the job titles you can hold with a Bachelor of Social Work include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Eligibility Worker
  • Teen Parent Worker
  • Behavioral management aide
  • Case management aide
  • Community outreach worker
  • Juvenile court liaison
  • Child Welfare Screener
  • Eligibility Screener
  • Probation officer
  • Rehabilitation case worker

Social Work Salary with a Masters Degree

Once you have earned your Master’s degree, especially a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree you will find that suddenly top tier Social Work jobs are now available. Some other very useful degrees to hold include Master of Human Services, Master of Human Services Leadership, Master of Psychology, Master of Counseling and Master of Sociology. All of these degrees will give you access to a wide variety of Social Work occupations. By far the most readily translatable into an increased Social Work salary is the Master of Social Work (MSW) as this degree is specifically designed for the field of Social Work. Once you have your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree you can among other jobs, pursue licensure in order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in your state and open your own private practice which will greatly increase your earning potential. The licensure process will vary tremendously from state to state so you may wish to go to our home page and click on the name of your state in order to find out what your state’s requirements are for Social Work licensure, you can find out by clicking here:

With a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree you are eligible for the following job titles:

  • Non- Profit Director
  • Social Service Permanency Worker
  • Child Welfare Case Manager
  • Licensed Clinical Social Work
  • School Social Worker
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Social Work Administrator

The median yearly wage you can anticipate with a Master of Social Work degree is approximately is $56,110. This shows that you are increasing your yearly earnings by over 25% when you go from a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree to a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. That $13,600 increase per year works out a to being equivalent to the cost of a large home over a 30 year work span. This highlights just how big of an increase in pay you can expect by just a few more years in school which shows just how valuable it is to continue your education until you have earned a higher degree.

Social Work is a field with a wide variety of job titles and kinds of agencies in which one works. As such it is very challenging to pin down the exact wages one can earn in a given Social Work job by just examining over all salary potential. One thing that is clear however is that it is well worth the time and effort to earn an advanced degree given the dramatic increase in earning power one can anticipate by earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. You may wish to check out our career section in order to learn in depth about the kinds of jobs you can have within the Social Work sector by clicking the link here:

MSW@USC
University of Southern California