Social Worker Salary

What is a social worker?

Social workers help individuals and families identify problems and work toward solutions. They may also work with people who have substance abuse problems, social disorders, or other behavioral issues learn to cope or curb their habits through therapy. They may be employed in a variety of settings including schools, government agencies and private practices. Depending on their work scope, they may provide services similar to those offered by psychologists, mental health counselors or school guidance counselors.

What is social worker salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) reports the median income for social workers in 2012 exceeded the median income for all occupations during that year. The median pay was lower for certain specialties, including healthcare social workers; child, family, and school social workers; and mental health and substance abuse social workers.

Job TitleBottom 10% Annual WageAnnual Median WageTop 10% Annual Wage
Healthcare Social Workers-U.S.$33,260$54,870$81,560
Social Workers, All Other-U.S.$34,640$61,980$86,760
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is it difficult to find a job as a social worker?

From 2012 through 2022 the career is expected to grow faster than average according to bls.gov. Increasing demand in the health care sector is expected to drive much of the growth in the field. There may be different demand depending on the specialty you decide to pursue.

Job TitleProjected Job Growth Rate
Healthcare Social Workers-U.S.18.5%
Social Workers, All Other-U.S.7.9%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is there room for advancement as a social worker?

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for many social work positions. Earning an advanced degree, however, might qualify you for more employment opportunities. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) says a master's degree may allow an individual to work in supervisory, administrative and training capacities. A doctorate in social work can lead to jobs at universities as an educator or researcher.

In addition, the NASW offers a number of credentialing programs in areas such as leadership, case management and addictions. The NASW notes credentialed social workers may have access to new avenues of career achievement.

Do social workers need to be licensed or certified?

According to bls.gov, all states have licensure or certification requirements for social workers. Each state determines its own requirements but they typically involve obtaining a degree from a program accredited by the Council for Social Work Education and passing an exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards. States may also have continuing education requirements that must be met to maintain a license.

Social Workers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

National Association of Social Workers, Social Work Fact Sheets and Social Work Credentials,

Social Worker Schools

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