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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.

RankState2014 Average Child, Family and School Social Worker SalaryZillow Home Value Index (9/2015)% of Zillow Home Value Average Salary BuysProjected Social Workers (all categories) Employment in 20222012 Total Social Workers (all categories) Employed10-year growth (2022 versus 2012)Best States for Social Workers (Avg=1)
Utah$46,510$218,80021%5780431034%1.32
Ohio$42,280$118,10036%288102455017%1.27
North Carolina$44,610$148,90030%231601888023%1.25
Indiana$39,640$114,70035%119801016018%1.25
Iowa$42,510$130,40033%10220854020%1.24
Kentucky$38,090$127,70030%146901210021%1.22
Kansas$40,460$123,70033%4950420018%1.2
Arkansas$36,510$113,30032%4740403018%1.19
Michigan$46,730$120,30039%246202221011%1.18
West Virginia$32,780$91,20036%4357384213%1.17
Alabama$39,090$122,40032%9430805017%1.17
Texas$40,480$150,30027%359402970021%1.14
Mississippi$34,190$113,00030%5370459017%1.13
Louisiana$52,190$166,00031%7080623014%1.07
Florida$40,800$177,70023%252602076022%1.06
Idaho$41,960$170,40025%3220269020%1.06
Illinois$55,340$156,10035%32090299707%1.01
Minnesota$59,620$183,10033%128801174010%1.01
Nebraska$38,740$137,00028%4850426014%1
Connecticut$63,020$237,70027%115501002015%0.99
Virginia$47,830$232,00021%166201372021%0.99
Pennsylvania$39,850$152,00026%407703530015%0.99
Tennessee$39,470$128,30031%114701042010%0.97
Georgia$37,300$144,30026%152301331014%0.96
Oklahoma$33,340$112,70030%9640875010%0.95
New Mexico$41,970$165,90025%5500482014%0.94
North Dakota$47,560$198,30024%1520132015%0.93
South Carolina$33,720$135,30025%11310995014%0.92
Wyoming$46,760$191,50024%1460128014%0.92
Vermont$41,680$220,30019%2490209019%0.91
New Hampshire$41,800$222,70019%1610135019%0.91
Missouri$34,490$132,40026%165601480012%0.9
Colorado$46,170$282,20016%126801043022%0.9
Arizona$38,420$197,80019%139701179018%0.9
Wisconsin$48,110$154,60031%1027096207%0.9
Rhode Island$58,250$224,80026%3670329012%0.89
Alaska$50,100$262,30019%2280193018%0.89
Massachusetts$53,090$338,50016%315202667018%0.81
New York$55,830$262,00021%624905563012%0.8
Washington$48,250$278,40017%131701137016%0.79
Montana$34,920$184,80019%3020265014%0.78
Nevada$47,600$208,00023%4450406010%0.77
Oregon$43,600$257,10017%9780852015%0.76
Delaware$39,480$203,70019%2170194012%0.74
South Dakota$38,510$167,40023%254023608%0.73
New Jersey$60,780$284,70021%14660134509%0.72
Maine$46,650$195,00024%452042905%0.7
Washinton DC$59,110$495,20012%4180358017%0.68
Maryland$48,250$247,00020%13090120808%0.66
California$51,410$450,60011%763006700014%0.6
Hawaii$47,840$550,8009%3720323015%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