What are the highest paying social work majors? | SocialWorkDegreeGuide.com (2023)

Social workers play an essential role in our society by providing guidance and services to people in need. Social workers help people who face challenges, including veterans, the homeless, those with substance abuse problems, and children who are neglected or abused.

Overall, the number of social workers13% increasefrom 2019-29, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS forecasts 14% growth for health social workers and 12% growth for child, family and school social workers. Additionally, the growth rate for mental health and substance abuse social workers could be as high as 17%, BLS figures show.

This guide takes an in-depth look at social worker salaries and examines how factors such as degree level, specialization, and location can affect earnings. You will also learn about the highest paying social work jobs.

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frequently asked questions

  • Are social worker jobs in high demand?

    And. From 2019,over 713,000 peopleworked as a social worker, the BLS data show. The decade after 2019 could result in an additional 90,700 social worker jobs. Projected growth of 13% exceeds the national average, according to the BLS. This is partly due to increased student enrollment and an increased focus on treatment services rather than prison sentences for drug offenders.

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  • Which field of social work is paid the most?

    Some social work professions pay aboveMedian social worker salary of $50,470. Licensed clinical social workersearn an average salary of $58,518, according to Payscale. Tariff data also shows Employee Assistance Program (EAP) advisors coming homemedian income of $57,685, and social services administrators earn an average salary ofabout $69,250, which is among the highest paying jobs in social work.

  • Will Social Worker Salaries Increase?

    Social worker salaries have increased in recent years. In 2016, BLS data showed social workers earned aAverage salary of $46,890. This increased byover $3,500until 2019, theincreased faster than inflationbetween 2016-19. While it is impossible to predict the future, if current trends continue, social workers can expect their salaries to increase.

  • How does the salary of a social worker compare to aof the consultantLohn?

    The social worker median salary in 2019 was higher than the median salary for substance abuse, behavioral disorders and mental health counselors. While social workers aAverage salary of $50,470, the consultants won aAverage salary of $46,240.

Highest Paying States and Industries for Social Workers

Social worker salaries vary depending on several factors, including location and industry. Washington, D.C. offers some of the highest paying social services, with health care social workers earning aaverage annual salary of $74,160; Child, family and school social workersearned $71,590; and mental health and substance abuse workersBringing home $66,080, so die BLS.

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Health Care Social Workeralso earn high average annual wages in California ($79,620), Oregon ($74,050), Connecticut ($72,980), and Nevada ($72,640).Child, family and school social workersearn average annual salaries in New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maryland between about $62,000 and $69,000.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workerearn the highest salaries in New Jersey, where the average annual salary is $83,050. Other high-paying states include California, Connecticut, and New York, where these professionals earn average salaries between $63,500 and $65,000.

in Hawaii,social workers in other disciplinesearn an average annual salary of $81,520. These social workers earn average salaries between about $73,830 and $74,520 in the other highest-paid states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Georgia.

In terms of industry, health care social workers can find well-paying jobs working for computer systems design, religious organizations, junior colleges, general medical and surgical hospitals, and other ambulatory health services. Average income for these industriesSearch varies from $65,000 to $74,800.

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Child, family, and school social workers can also get well-paying jobs at junior colleges where they earn oneaverage annual salary of $64,110. They can also earn above-average wages in elementary and secondary schools, in the house hospital, in commercial and technical schools and in job placement.

Finally,Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workerearn the highest salaries while working in insurance companies, specialty hospitals, other ambulatory and healthcare services, professional healthcare practices, and colleges. Average salaries for these industries range from $61,250 to $68,650.

How education affects social worker salaries

Colleges and universities offer different types of degrees for social workers. These include a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Master of Social Work (MSW), Doctor of Social Work (DSW), or Ph.D. in social work.

Social workers often start with a BSW, which can help graduates find entry-level social service jobs such as case managers or behavior management assistants. Licensed social workers are almost always required to obtainan MSW degree. Clinical social work — which typically comes with higher salaries — also requires an MSW and additional supervised work experience, licensing, and sometimes certification.

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In general, college degrees lead to higher salaries for social workers. A Community Outreach Officer—a job that only requires a BSW—earns aAverage salary of around $43,640. Bring home case managers who also need a BSWaverage salaries of around $39,212.

In contrast, clinical social work requires and comes with an MSWAverage salary of $56,200. Someone who has a degree such as a DSW or Ph.D. in social work can become a social work teacher and earn oneaverage annual salary of $68,300.

What are the highest paying social work jobs?

The following list provides information on social worker salaries, job responsibilities, and educational requirements. You can find a more thorough examination of these workswith this social service career resource.

Social Work Teacher

Social work professors work as faculty members and professors in colleges or universities. You can teach at community colleges at the undergraduate or graduate level. These professionals conduct social work courses and lectures, and may also conduct social science research by testing hypotheses about the effectiveness of different social work methods or programs. Professors take on additional duties as student advisors, including office hours and writing letters of recommendation. Teachers must have a PhD to work at the post-secondary level. For more information, seesocial workers here.

Lohn: $68,300 average annual salary

health administrator

Healthcare administrators oversee the operation of various healthcare facilities or public healthcare facilities. They oversee workers, set goals to improve the quality of health services, and develop strategies to achieve those goals. These professionals may have backgrounds in healthcare, medicine, or social work, and often have at least a bachelor's degree, but also a master's degree in healthcare administration or management.

Lohn: median annual salary of $68,954

Social and Community Service Leader

These professionals work in leadership or managerial positions in a variety of social and community organizations, including nonprofit organizations and local government agencies. Some of these managers work in supervisory roles for social workers. Typically, these executives can find employment with a bachelor's degree in a field such as social work or business administration. Some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree. For more information on social and community service managers, seeread this guide.

Lohn: average annual salary of $67,150

Health Care Social Worker

Health social workers work with patients suffering from specific diseases and conditions. These social workers are not medical professionals; They provide resources to help patients manage their illness. They can connect patients to support groups or help them adjust to a new life situation such as hospice care. Like other social workers, those specializing in health require both a BSW and an MSW. They also need a state license to practice legally. Read more about healthcare social worker jobswith this function.

Lohn: median annual salary of $56,750

school counselor

School counselors guide students in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. You can help children who have difficult family lives that are affecting their ability to do well in school; Many of these duties are similar to the duties of child and family social workers.this guideprovides more details about the job. You can become a school counselor with a master's degree in school counseling or a related field. Some students prepare for this master's program with a bachelor's degree in social work. School counselors also require a state license to practice.

Lohn: $56,310 average annual salary

Clinical Social Worker

Unlike other social workers, clinical social workers can actually diagnose mental and behavioral disorders. They may also treat clients therapeutically and consult with doctors or other healthcare professionals. The position requires excellent communication, interpersonal and analytical skills; you canRead more about it here. After clinical social workers earn bachelor's and master's degrees, they are required to earn a specialized type of clinical social worker license.

Lohn: median annual salary of $56,200

health educator

Health educators educate people in their communities about public health issues. They also use their platform to promote wellbeing to improve the health of the community. Health educators play an essential role during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. These professionals can usually find employment with a bachelor's degree in health education or health promotion. Some positions also require a master's degree in fields such as epidemiology or social work with a specialization in health.

Lohn: $54,220 average annual salary

school social worker

School social workers assume roles similar to school counselors. However, these professionals work specifically with at-risk children, usually in elementary and middle schools. They help students overcome the social and psychological factors that can hinder their academic progress by working collaboratively with teachers and parents.This guide for school social workersdeepens the work. School social workers usually require a bachelor's and master's degree in social work or psychology with an educational focus.

Lohn: $47,390 average annual salary

Mental health and substance abuse social worker

The U.S. criminal justice system is increasingly turning to drug and alcohol treatment systems rather than sentencing people with addiction or substance abuse problems to prison terms. is hereMental Health and Substance Abuse Social WorkerThey offer treatments for individuals struggling with these issues along with other debilitating mental health issues such as major depression. These social workers need a BSW, MSW and social worker license. If they want to offer therapeutic treatments, they also need clinical approval.

Lohn: $46,650 average annual salary

Child and family social worker

These professionals provide services to families who need assistance in some way. For example, these social workers can connect families with food stamps or housing services. They also help abused or neglected children. You can place these children in foster homes or help them with the adoption process. You can readmore details about this work here. The path to child and family social worker leads through a bachelor's and master's degree in social work. These professionals also typically require a state license.

Lohn: $46,270 average annual salary


How can I make the most money with a MSW? ›

Practice clinical social work

Typically, the highest paying social work roles are clinical. This means you'll find yourself working for hospitals, insurance companies, or doing therapy. You should also prioritize licensure if you want to practice social work, even if you don't want to be a therapist.

Where do LCSW make the most money? ›

Large metropolitan areas, such as New York and Los Angeles offer the highest-paying salaries to mental health and substance abuse social workers.
Top-Paying Areas for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers.
LocationEmploymentAverage Annual Salary
3 more rows
Aug 17, 2020

Is BSW or MSW better? ›

While a BSW will prepare professionals for entry-level positions in the field, an MSW provides many more opportunities for direct practice and paves the way to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW).

What is the best field in social work? ›

The 10 Best Careers in Social Work
  • Marriage and Family Counselor.
  • Medical Social Worker.
  • School Social Worker.
  • Foster Care Social Worker.
  • Child and Family Therapist.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Policy Analyst.
  • Human Resources Coordinator/Specialist.
May 31, 2019

What is a good GPA for MSW? ›

Most schools will require a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Some may require a 3.5 GPA for all social work classes taken (if the applicant has earned a Bachelor of Social Work). A few will accept students with GPAs of 2.5.

Can social workers live comfortably? ›

You can make a pretty good living.

As a social worker, you can expect to earn a comfortable income, which will increase as you gain experience and succeed in your career. According to the Bureau of labor statistics, the median annual earnings of social workers are $51,760 per year.

Is becoming an LCSW hard? ›

Many people ask, "Is the LCSW exam difficult?" The answer is, it is only difficult if you don't prepare. Luckily, there are many free or inexpensive ASWB LCSW exam prep courses available. You should definitely sign up for one of these courses; preparing entirely on your own will add additional unnecessary stress.

What state has the lowest paying social workers? ›

Oregon has the highest social worker salary of $67,057. South Dakota has the lowest social worker salary of $42,906. The national average salary for social workers is $50,102. The national hourly pay for social workers is $24.09.

Is an MSW worth the money? ›

Getting an MSW is worth it if you want to assume higher-level roles, such as that of a social work supervisor, and if you want opportunities to increase your earnings enough to offset the cost of a degree. In general, the social work industry is growing quickly.

Is social work major worth it? ›

However, even if you don't want to go to graduate school, a bachelor's degree in social work is definitely a worthwhile achievement. Even without a master's degree, a bachelor's degree can enable you to pursue a range of worthwhile careers, particularly in the human services field.

Is a career in social work worth it? ›

Social Work Career Outlook and Paths

Social workers are in high demand. The BLS projects that the job outlook for social workers will grow nine percent between 2021 and 2031. That's faster than average when compared to all positions.

What type of social workers are in high demand? ›

The greatest number of child, family, and school social workers work in California, with 32,620 employed in the state.

What is the easiest social work job? ›

5 Easy Entry-Level Social Work Jobs
  • Group Home Workers.
  • Substance Abuse Counselors.
  • Community Social Workers.
  • Healthcare Social Workers.
  • Case Managers.

What is the highest paying social job? ›

Highest Paid Social Workers
Job TitleMedian SalaryCareer Outlook
Child, Family, and School Social Workers$48,43014%
Healthcare Social Workers$58,47020%
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers$49,63019%
All Other Social Workers$60,9008%

How hard are MSW programs to get into? ›

More than most graduate degree programs, the barriers to entry for a Masters in Social Work (MSW) are low. Said another way, one might consider admissions for social work programs to be more qualitative, open and well-rounded.

What is the highest GPA in masters degree? ›

Each grade that you earn is given a numerical value, and an average is calculated. GPAs usually range from 1.0 to 4.0, with 4.0 being the highest. Your undergraduate GPA is just one of the factors that graduate schools use to determine program admission.

What is considered low GPA for masters? ›

Most top-ranked graduate programs typically prefer a GPA of 3.5 or better. Exceptions to this rule occur, of course, but many students give up their quest to attend graduate school due to a low (3.0 or less) GPA.

Can you make six figures as a social worker? ›

Social workers have the potential to make nearly six figures in some segments of the career field. But they also have the potential to build up six figures of student loan debt.

What is the lowest paid social worker? ›

Social Worker Salary Overview
  • <$33,020. Lowest 10%
  • $51,760. Median Salary.
  • >$85,820. Highest 10%
Aug 23, 2022

Do Lcsw wear scrubs? ›

Yes, medical social workers wear scrubs.

Healthcare scrubs are typically an important component in providing adequate healthcare. Their role in the medical facility is imperative. Many hospitals require all staff to wear scrubs, including medical social workers.

How long should you study for LCSW? ›

Organize your time efficiently.

Studying for the LCSW exam is a time-consuming endeavor. Be prepared to study as much as 50-70 hours for the exam. Concentrated study of audio lectures, quizzes and practice exams can be the difference between passing and failing.

How hard is the clinical social work exam? ›

The pass rate of the ASWB clinical exam open_in_new was 74.8% in 2020. The exam was taken almost 17,000 times.

What city pays social workers the most? ›

The metropolitan areas that pay the highest salary in the clinical social worker profession are San Jose, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Vallejo, and Sacramento.

How many years of college do you need to be a social worker? ›

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work is a four-year degree program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills in social work practice, social welfare policies, and human welfare.

Can you make money with a masters in social work? ›

For example, school and career counselors – a job that requires a master's degree in either social work for counseling or a related field – can expect a median annual salary of around $56,310 per year. They're also enjoying a rapid job growth outlook of around 8% over the next 10 years.

What age do social workers retire? ›

Two-thirds of social care professionals expect to work past the current retirement age of 65 amid growing expectations that pension contributions will increase, Community Care can reveal.

Why do people get their masters in social work? ›

Having a master's degree makes you a more competitive job candidate and allows you to advance in your career. Social workers with more experience and credentials get positions where they can make a larger impact on clients' lives.

Is social work a stable career? ›

Since social workers assist people in coping, preventing, and resolving major issues in their everyday lives, they will always be in demand. Social workers can be employed in a variety of different areas, such as child welfare and human services agencies, schools, and hospitals.

Is BS social work hard? ›

It requires passion and commitment in dealing with the course, especially so that you deal different kinds of people and situations. It's a difficult course, but when you understand the goals you will find it fulfilling.

Is a Bachelors in social work hard? ›

Social work is a challenging career in many ways – emotionally, mentally and often physically. The education required to attain this career is easy in some ways but difficult in other ways.

What other jobs are social workers good at? ›

A Social Work degree may be useful in the following career areas:
  • Advice Worker. ...
  • Charity Officer. ...
  • Community Development Worker. ...
  • Community Education Officer. ...
  • Family Mediator. ...
  • Psychotherapy. ...
  • Counsellor. ...
  • Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.
Jan 30, 2023

What is the highest paid social worker? ›

Highest Paid Social Workers
Job TitleMedian SalaryCareer Outlook
Child, Family, and School Social Workers$48,43014%
Healthcare Social Workers$58,47020%
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers$49,63019%
All Other Social Workers$60,9008%

Can you make 6 figures as a social worker? ›

Social workers have the potential to make nearly six figures in some segments of the career field. But they also have the potential for building up six figures of student loan debt. Here's a closer look at current social worker salaries, including breakdowns based on location and education level.

How hard is a masters in social work? ›

Earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) poses unique challenges, however. The curriculum is not only academically challenging but also emotionally draining. Finances can present a problem because unlike, say, a JD or MBA student, you're not likely to start earning a fortune the moment you receive your degree.

Can you make a decent living as a social worker? ›

According to the Bureau of labor statistics, the median annual earnings of social workers are $51,760 per year. The highest 10% of earners can expect to earn $85,820 per year. Having a good and steady income is one of the most significant benefits of becoming a social worker.

What masters should I do with a social work degree? ›

Individuals who want to study after obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Social Work can complete a Masters degree in Social Work with the following options; Masters of Arts (MA) or Masters of Science (MSc) degrees in the following subjects: adult services support, advanced clinical practice, social work, advanced child ...

What is the lowest salary for a social worker? ›

How much does an Entry Level Social Worker make in the United States? The average Entry Level Social Worker salary in the United States is $45,237 as of January 26, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $39,364 and $51,443.

What is the highest qualification in a social worker? ›

The Master of Social Work in Clinical Social Work degree programme aims to equip qualified social workers with advanced in-depth knowledge and skills to promote the optimal mental health and psycho-social, emotional and economic functioning of individuals, couple, family and community systems.

Is the Lcsw test difficult? ›

Many people ask, "Is the LCSW exam difficult?" The answer is, it is only difficult if you don't prepare. Luckily, there are many free or inexpensive ASWB LCSW exam prep courses available. You should definitely sign up for one of these courses; preparing entirely on your own will add additional unnecessary stress.

Is getting a bachelors in social work worth it? ›

Earning a BSW will make you a good candidate for many jobs. Most social worker jobs are in facilities or organizations with excellent long-term employment prospects. If you're looking for stability in the job market, you may find earning a BSW is worth it.

What can you do with a social work degree besides social work? ›

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include: Education mental health practitioner. Family support worker. High intensity therapist.


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