The social worker salary range depends on whether the person is self-employed, or is providing services in a government facility or a private firm. While describing the factors that determine the salary of a social worker, this CareerStint article also gives you some important information about this job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of social workers is projected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
If you have got a strong desire to help common people who are in need, you can opt for a career of a social worker. This is a very good job that involves communicating with the distressed individuals, finding out their needs, and trying to address their requirements. Social workers generally, render services in social agencies administered by the government, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, schools, charity, and rehabilitation facilities.
Social workers are mainly classified as ‘healthcare social workers’, ‘mental health and substance abuse social workers’, and ‘child, family, and school social workers’. They may work in different industries such as social advocacy organizations, various government departments, etc. Healthcare social workers may specialize in geriatric care, hospice and palliative care, etc.
Social Worker Job Description
➻ In a school, a social worker counsels students to better their study and school life.
➻ He/she provides emotional support to children who have lost their parents at an early age and are bound to live in a foster care.
➻ Social workers also work with older people, providing emotional support. They help them cope up with physical health issues.
➻ They also counsel individuals who are recently released from prison.
➻ Similarly, a social worker’s profession includes all tasks that relates to guiding and helping people who are emotionally down.
➻ Duties of a social worker typically include identifying people who need help, and developing and executing plans that would improve their well-being.
➻ After providing various services, they are expected to evaluate the services, and see whether they are effective or not.
➻ They play an important role in handling crisis situations such as child abuse, terminal illness, divorce, unemployment, etc.
➻ Apart from counseling, keeping records by writing reports is also an important part of this job.
Median Annual Salary for Social Workers
➻ According to the BLS data, the median annual wage for ‘child, family, and school social workers’ was $42,120 in May 2014.
➻ While the lowest 10 % earned less than $27,500, the top 10 % earned more than $72,510.
➻ The median annual wage for ‘healthcare social workers’ was $51,930 in May 2014.
➻ While the lowest 10 % earned less than $32,060, the top 10 % earned more than $76,940.
➻ The median annual wage for other social workers was $59,100 in May 2014.
➻ While the lowest 10 % earned less than $32,970, the top 10 % earned more than $84,630.
Determinants of Social Worker Salary
Type of Employment
➻ Elementary and secondary schools pay maximum salary to social workers – about $60,700 p.a.
➻ The annual mean salary paid by ‘psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals’ is about $53,000.
➻ While the median annual salary offered by ‘social advocacy organizations’ was about $43,180, the salaries offered by ‘local and state governments’ were $51,670 and $45,450 respectively. The salaries may vary according to the experience, education, and skills of the candidate, and location of the organization you will be working for.
* Source: BLS
Education and Certifications
A factor that can really have bearing on a social worker’s salary as well as his or her future prospects in this field of human activity is education. Requirements of acquiring license to practice as a social worker differs from state to state. A plus point in this direction is that many of the states now acknowledge licensing tests carried out by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
➻ A Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) can earn about $5,000-$20,000 more than a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).
➻ Salaries of Licensed Graduate Social Workers (LGSWs) and LSWs were almost equal.
➻ The licensure for mental health professionals (i.e., Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)) is well recognized in almost all the states, and these individuals can earn salary in the range of $34K-$67K. The salary amount may vary according to the location and type of employment, and experience of the person.
Level of Expertise and Experience
➻ If you are a fresher and have less than a year’s experience, you will receive a per annum pay of $27,493 – $52,625.
➻ $30,947 – $61,760 is the salary range for social workers at mid career level.
➻ The salary figures for experienced social workers can be in the range of US $33,810 – $70,100.
➻ Late-career social workers may receive about $36,201 – $76,377 p.a., depending upon the location, skills, etc.
* Source: PayScale
Location of Employment
➻ The District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) has been recorded to be the highest paying federal district for social workers, as the annual mean salary paid was $73,630.
➻ Next in line was Rhode Island which offered an annual salary of $70,850.
➻ In Illinois, the salary range for social workers was reported to be about $68,950 per year.
➻ In Idaho and New Jersey, the annual salary was $68,470 and $67,690, respectively.
➻ In California and New York, the salary was $64,390 and $59,930 per year, respectively.
* Source: BLS
This is just brief information on the average social worker pay range. The salary of a social worker also depends a lot on the certifications they possess. The demand for social worker is on the rise, especially in rural areas, and that too, for services for the elderly people. Note that the aforementioned salary figures are approximate, and can differ as per situations.