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Social Work Salaries in Tennessee - TN

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual social worker salary in Tennessee ranges from about $34,000 (mental health and substance abuse social workers) to about $$48,000 (non-specialty social workers).  Those who practice in Memphis earn the highest average annual income according to the state’s salary data: 

  • $37,000 for child, family and school social workers;
  • $53,000 for medical and public health social workers;
  • $36,000 for mental health and substance abuse social workers; and
  • $56,000 for non-specialty social workers.

Among Tennessee’s other major cities—Clarksville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and the metropolitan area of Nashville-Murfreesboro—social workers in Clarksville earn the lowest average annual salaries, which are reported as $32,000 (child, family and school social workers and medical and public health social workers) and $37,000 (mental health and substance abuse social workers).  Overall, social workers in Tennessee earn less than social workers across the U.S., whose average annual salaries are reported as:

  • $44,000 for child, family and school social workers;
  • $48,000 for medical and public health social workers;
  • $41,000 for mental health and substance abuse social workers; and
  • $50,000 for non-specialty social workers. 

Social workers have the opportunity to practice within an array of workplace settings including schools, community organizations and medical facilities such as Tennessee’s Vanderbilt Medical Center, which is renown for its patient care, medical education and research.  According to employment projections reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is anticipated to grow faster than average relative to other occupations by year 2018, i.e., by over 100,000 social workers.  This is due not only to attrition resultant of retiring professionals, but also to factors such as the increasing prevalence of programs that enroll substance abusers in treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration. America’s growing aging population that also will require the gerontological support that social workers can provide.

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