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Social Work Salaries and Hiring Outlook

Just like with many professions, the salary a social worker earns can vary significantly based on many factors. While most people who choose the field do not expect to get rich on a social worker salary, earning potential is still an important factor to consider when choosing a social work program and a social work career. The sortable table below will help you learn about average salaries for people in different fields of social work, helping to guide your decision about which school to attend and which type of degree to pursue. Sort any column in descending or ascending order by clicking on the header.

While we used data for child, family, and school social workers–the largest group of social workers–in the Salary column, we aggregated the data for all social work categories to calculate the Projected Employment and Total Employed Columns. Nationally, the most significant change through 2022 is projected in the category of healthcare social workers, with a 26.8% increase expected, followed closely by mental health and substance abuse social workers, which is expected to grow by 22.8% by 2022.1 Still, child, family, and school social workers continue to be the most employed, with 285,700 total employed as of 2014, and an additional 10,360 job openings expected to be filled by 2022.1 The national average salary for all social workers in all categories is $49,150, or $23.63 per hour, as of May 2014.2 See how your state compares to this average using our easy-to-sort table.

Rank State 2014 Average Child, Family and School Social Worker Salary Zillow Home Value Index (9/2015) % of Zillow Home Value Average Salary Buys Projected Social Workers (all categories) Employment in 2022 2012 Total Social Workers (all categories) Employed 10-year growth (2022 versus 2012) Best States for Social Workers (Avg=1)
Utah $46,510 $218,800 21% 5780 4310 34% 1.32
Ohio $42,280 $118,100 36% 28810 24550 17% 1.27
North Carolina $44,610 $148,900 30% 23160 18880 23% 1.25
Indiana $39,640 $114,700 35% 11980 10160 18% 1.25
Iowa $42,510 $130,400 33% 10220 8540 20% 1.24
Kentucky $38,090 $127,700 30% 14690 12100 21% 1.22
Kansas $40,460 $123,700 33% 4950 4200 18% 1.2
Arkansas $36,510 $113,300 32% 4740 4030 18% 1.19
Michigan $46,730 $120,300 39% 24620 22210 11% 1.18
West Virginia $32,780 $91,200 36% 4357 3842 13% 1.17
Alabama $39,090 $122,400 32% 9430 8050 17% 1.17
Texas $40,480 $150,300 27% 35940 29700 21% 1.14
Mississippi $34,190 $113,000 30% 5370 4590 17% 1.13
Louisiana $52,190 $166,000 31% 7080 6230 14% 1.07
Florida $40,800 $177,700 23% 25260 20760 22% 1.06
Idaho $41,960 $170,400 25% 3220 2690 20% 1.06
Illinois $55,340 $156,100 35% 32090 29970 7% 1.01
Minnesota $59,620 $183,100 33% 12880 11740 10% 1.01
Nebraska $38,740 $137,000 28% 4850 4260 14% 1
Connecticut $63,020 $237,700 27% 11550 10020 15% 0.99
Virginia $47,830 $232,000 21% 16620 13720 21% 0.99
Pennsylvania $39,850 $152,000 26% 40770 35300 15% 0.99
Tennessee $39,470 $128,300 31% 11470 10420 10% 0.97
Georgia $37,300 $144,300 26% 15230 13310 14% 0.96
Oklahoma $33,340 $112,700 30% 9640 8750 10% 0.95
New Mexico $41,970 $165,900 25% 5500 4820 14% 0.94
North Dakota $47,560 $198,300 24% 1520 1320 15% 0.93
South Carolina $33,720 $135,300 25% 11310 9950 14% 0.92
Wyoming $46,760 $191,500 24% 1460 1280 14% 0.92
Vermont $41,680 $220,300 19% 2490 2090 19% 0.91
New Hampshire $41,800 $222,700 19% 1610 1350 19% 0.91
Missouri $34,490 $132,400 26% 16560 14800 12% 0.9
Colorado $46,170 $282,200 16% 12680 10430 22% 0.9
Arizona $38,420 $197,800 19% 13970 11790 18% 0.9
Wisconsin $48,110 $154,600 31% 10270 9620 7% 0.9
Rhode Island $58,250 $224,800 26% 3670 3290 12% 0.89
Alaska $50,100 $262,300 19% 2280 1930 18% 0.89
Massachusetts $53,090 $338,500 16% 31520 26670 18% 0.81
New York $55,830 $262,000 21% 62490 55630 12% 0.8
Washington $48,250 $278,400 17% 13170 11370 16% 0.79
Montana $34,920 $184,800 19% 3020 2650 14% 0.78
Nevada $47,600 $208,000 23% 4450 4060 10% 0.77
Oregon $43,600 $257,100 17% 9780 8520 15% 0.76
Delaware $39,480 $203,700 19% 2170 1940 12% 0.74
South Dakota $38,510 $167,400 23% 2540 2360 8% 0.73
New Jersey $60,780 $284,700 21% 14660 13450 9% 0.72
Maine $46,650 $195,000 24% 4520 4290 5% 0.7
Washinton DC $59,110 $495,200 12% 4180 3580 17% 0.68
Maryland $48,250 $247,000 20% 13090 12080 8% 0.66
California $51,410 $450,600 11% 76300 67000 14% 0.6
Hawaii $47,840 $550,800 9% 3720 3230 15% 0.57

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.3

How Much Does a Social Worker Make?

The median salary for all social workers (as of 2012) was $44,200, but salaries vary significantly.3 The lowest 10% of social workers earned less than $27,450, and the top 10% earned more than $72,980.3 A number of factors impact a social worker’s salary. First, different areas of social work practice tend to pay at different levels. Overall, healthcare social workers earned more than child, family and school social workers as well as mental health and substance abuse social workers.3 Second, certain types of employers pay more on average than others. In 2012, child, family, and school social workers employed by schools or state and local government made more money than their peers employed in healthcare, nonprofit or religious settings.3

As in most professions, there are common factors that impact salary for social workers:

  • Level of education (bachelor’s or master’s in social work)
  • Level of licensure (licensed master social worker, licensed clinical social worker, etc.)
  • Years of experience
  • Sector of employment (government, school, hospital, non-profit organization)
  • Job responsibilities (entry-level position, supervisor, leadership role)
  • Region of the country
  • Gender (women tend to make less than men)
  • Negotiation skills

Additional Resources

References:
1. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-5