How Much Do Social Workers Make?

social worker salaryA social worker helps and provides support to individuals, groups, or families, who are facing problems in their lives. Their work environment varies from working in an office, in a hospital, in a school, in a government agency, or their very own clinic. A large chunk of their work also takes them out of the office and into the field to assess and provide support to individuals or groups in their actual setting.

One type of social worker is the Clinical social worker, who diagnoses, tests, and provides treatment plans for individuals who have mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.

You might also be interested in our guide to become a social worker.

Social Worker Salary

How much do social workers make? The average social worker salary is $49,470 or an equivalent of $23.79 per hour.

Social Worker job descriptionBecause there are several fields and different training for this occupation, such as child and family social workers, and healthcare social workers, the average salaries differ.

For those who work in healthcare the salary is $56,200, while those who work as child and family social workers earn an average salary of $46,270, and those who work in the field of mental health and substance abuse earn an annual average of $44,840.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.38$34.06$70,850
Illinois FlagIllinois 0.18$33.15$68,950
Idaho FlagIdaho0.71$32.92$68,470
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey 0.16$32.54$67,690
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota
0.44
$32.38
$67,350

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Federal Executive Branch0.66$34.62$72,020
Insurance Carriers0.06$32.82$68,270
Medical and Surgical Hospitals0.07$31.24$64,970
Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $30.63$63,710
Offices of Physicians 0.01$30.19$62,800

Social Worker Job Description

what does a social worker doWhat does a social worker do? Social workers help individuals, groups, or families cope and face issues in their everyday lives.

Among the duties of a social worker are assessing the needs of clients, developing programs to improve the client/s’ well-being, referring clients to community resources such as day care and food stamps, helping clients to avail of benefits such as Medicare, and also responding to emergency situations such as domestic and/or child abuse, and following up on their client/s’ progress.

Social workers work in a number of different situations and with a wide range of individuals and groups. There are 7 different types of social workers, which are:

Child and Family Social Workers – These are those who work with children, parents, couples, and families. They attend to the needs of vulnerable children and families, help get access to food stamps and other aid, intervene with neglect and abuse, help with adoptions, locate foster families and alternative housing facilities for displaced children, and help families get back together.

Clinical Social Worker – These are licensed social workers that have the capacity to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They also do group, private, and couples therapy.

School Social Workers – They mostly work in schools and universities and work with parents, teachers, and school admins to create plans and programs that promote the well-being of the student population.

Healthcare Social Workers – There are different types of health care social workers as well, and these are:

Geriatric Social Workers – those who work with senior citizens and their families. They help to look for assisted living facilities and educate families on the proper care of aging family members.

Hospice Social Workers – these social workers help those who are dying. They help to lessen the emotional and physical pains of these individuals, and help their families adjust and cope with the situation.

Medical Social Workers – these social workers usually work in hospitals in cooperation with doctors and they provide patients with links to resources in the hospital and the community.

Mental Health Substance Abuse Social Workers – These social workers focus primarily on clients who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, helping them cope with every day life, as well as support substance abusers in their road to recovery.

Social Worker Job Outlook

The projected increase in the demand for social workers from 2016 to 2026 is 16%, which is faster than other occupations. About 109,700 social worker jobs are seen to be created within these years.

The highest demand is seen to be in the field of healthcare. As the baby boomer generation is aging, more and more healthcare social workers are seen to be needed, with a projected employment increase of 20%.

The field of mental health and substance abuse social work is also seen to provide more job opportunities, with a projected employment increase of 19%.

Social Worker Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.154$29.43$61,220
Alaska FlagAlaska0.475$31.26$65,030
Arizona FlagArizona0.546$26.03$54,140
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.527$21.21$44,130
California FlagCalifornia0.917$30.96$64,390
Colorado flagColorado0.475$23.44$48,760
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.173$27.20$56,580
Delaware flagDelaware0.205$30.04$62,490
Florida FlagFlorida0.308$29.26$60,860
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.387$25.43$52,890
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.471$32.21$66,990
Idaho FlagIdaho0.159$32.92$68,470
Illinois FlagIllinois0.709$33.15$68,950
Indiana FlagIndiana0.207$27.05$56,270
Iowa FlagIowa0.287$26.58$55,290
Kansas FlagKansas0.431$22.67$47,160
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.426$23.37$48,600
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.246$25.91$53,900
Maine FlagMaine0.755$23.95$49,820
Maryland FlagMaryland0.409$31.91$66,370
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts0.226$30.29$62,990
Michigan FlagMichigan0.243$26.48$55,080
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.167$28.50$59,280
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.458$22.93$47,700
Missouri FlagMissouri0.264$22.83$47,490
Montana FlagMontana1.654$19.09$39,710
Nebraska FlagNebraska(8)-$28.31$58,880
Nevada FlagNevada0.198$31.54$65,600
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.2$27.88$57,990
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.206$32.54$67,690
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.859$23.71$49,310
New York FlagNew York1.078$28.81$59,930
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.267$22.72$47,260
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.346$25.39$52,810
Ohio FlagOhio0.593$22.72$47,260
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.456$22.49$46,790
Oregon FlagOregon1.125$23.08$48,000
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.18$28.53$59,340
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.18$34.06$70,850
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.376$23.40$48,670
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.198$32.38$67,350
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.267$25.05$52,110
Texas FlagTexas0.174$29.60$61,560
Utah FlagUtah0.381$23.24$48,330
Vermont FlagVermont0.246$30.30$63,030
Virginia FlagVirginia0.151$28.35$58,970
Washington FlagWashington0.36$28.33$58,920
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.381$28.73$59,760
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.322$27.49$57,170
Wyomin FlagWyoming

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara , – CA0.76$41.04$85,360
Oakland/Fremont/Hayward, – CA – Metropolitan Division1.11$39.50$82,150
Springfield, MA-CT 0.19$38.03$79,100
Camden ,- NJ – Metropolitan Division0.30$37.83$78,690
Bethesda/Rockville/Frederick , MD – Metropolitan Division0.39$36.03$74,930

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
South Illinois – nonmetropolitan area 0.92$36.12$75,130
East Central, Illinois – non metropolitan area0.46$35.20$73,210
Southern Vermont – non metropolitan area0.33$34.58$71,920
South Florida – non metropolitan area$32.73$68,080
Southern Indiana – nonmetropolitan area $31.56$65,650

Social Worker Career Video

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Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith in Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of CareersWiki.com since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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