Social Worker SalaryCareer as a Social Worker

 

 

 

By Diane Turner

The salary of a social workeris divided into two categories. There are those that provide direct service to those that they represent, helping them cope with issues in their daily lives and clinical workers that help to treat mental, emotional and behavioral issues. The responsibilities of these individuals will vary based on the needs of their clients, but will largely focus on learning the client’s history and determining the best ways to get them the care they require. This will often require reaching out to the patient’s family and other government agencies to provide the tools their clients need to get their basic needs met.

A social worker average salary tends to be slightly higher than other service industries due to the increased educational requirements for this field. Entry level positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field such as sociology or psychology. Advanced positions or those in the medical field will require a master’s degree in social work. Clinical social workers will also need to earn a master’s degree before entering the field. These degrees typically take two years to complete.
Once the individual has earned their degree they will also need to pass a licensing exam. This exam will vary by state, though exceptions are occasionally made for clinical social workers employed through the government.

Social Worker Average Salary

The social worker average salary is $42,480. This salary is based on a variety of factors. The salary for a social worker can vary based on the location where the individual works and the type of facility where they work. This will impact the type of responsibility the social worker has while on the job.

Social Worker Salary Factors and Influences

The industry where a social worker is employed will have a significant impact on the average social worker salary. Industries that expect social workers to take on larger caseloads or legal work will typically be offered a more competitive salary. For example, note the top paying industriesthat hire social workers.

Federal Executive Branch Average Salary: $70,660

Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals Average Salary: $69,600

Other Specialty Hospitals Average Salary: $66,660

Insurance Carriers Average Salary: $66,250

Insurance and Employee Benefit Funds Average Salary: $63,510

As you can see, these are facilities that will expect those they employ to take on patient advocacy responsibility and be familiar with a great deal of legal casework in order to do their jobs properly. There are a great many statutes that will have an impact on the type of work a social worker can do and how their charges should be managed. Those that are prepared to take on these responsibilities may need to take additional certification exams or training to complete these tasks accurately. To compare how these responsibilities differ from other facilities, note how the average salary for a social worker changes when we compare facilities that have the highest concentration of employmentfor social workers.

Community Food and Housing Emergency and Other Relief Services Average Salary: 438,120

Individual and Family Services Average Salary: $40,740

Federal Executive Branch Average Salary: $70,660

State Government Average Salary: $49,510

Social Advocacy Organizations Average Salary: $45,840

These facilities are those that are more likely to work with impoverished people or those that will need financial and legal assistance. These groups will require several competent people on their team, but may not have an adequate budget to offer the competitive salaries they would like to. The competition in these fields also creates a hierarchy for employees where those that have more training or experience earn more competitive salaries than those new in the field. To further illustrate these points, note the average salary of a social worker in industries that have the highest employment levels.

Local Government Average Salary: $58,030

Federal Executive Branch Average Salary: $70,660

State Government Average Salary: $49,510

Individual and Family Services Average Salary: $40,740

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals Average Salary: $59,400

These industries are largely government based, meaning there will be a lot of people competing for the same jobs. You may be asked to take on a great deal of casework for the salary, which means those in these industries will be quite busy. The salaries are competitive, but not the highest industry. This is largely due to the fact that these industries will be working with a limited budget compared to others in the industry.

Social Worker Salary Compared To Related Fields

Social workers can earn an average salary compared to those that work in similar service positions.

Average Salary for a Social Worker: $42,480

Average Salary for Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists: $39,710

Average Salary for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists: $47,200

Average Salary for School and Career Counselors: $53,380

Average Salary for Social and Community Service Managers: $57,950

As you can see, there are industries that offer more competitive salaries than those working in a social worker position. These positions tend to offer higher salaries due to the advanced training needed to work in these facilities. Social workers are also more likely to work in facilities that have limited budgets, making it difficult for these industries to pay more.

Social Worker Salary by State

The social worker salary by statecan vary greatly, which has a distinct impact on the nationwide average. The type of facilities that each state offers as well as the social dynamic in these areas will have a distinct impact on what you can expect to earn while working here. To start getting a feel for what you could expect to earn as a social worker, take a look at the salaries in the top paying states.

Social Worker Salary in West Virginia: $68,610

Social Worker Salary in District of Colombia: $67,320

Social Worker Salary in South Dakota: $66,640

Social Worker Salary in Minnesota: $65,460

Social Worker Salary in Maryland: $63,950

As you can see, these states all offer salaries that are well above average. These areas will also have a need for very specialized social workers to manage the type of cases in these areas. Maryland and District of Colombia in particular will need to find social workers that are comfortable and trained properly to manage home situations that are tainted by the presence of illegal drugs.

For the sake of comparison, compare the salaries in states that boast the highest employment levels for social workers.

Average Salary in California: $63,080

Average Salary in New York: $57,260

Average Salary in Illinois: $53,230

Average Salary in Ohio: $45,870

Average Salary in Texas: $50,630

These salaries are noticeably lower in spite of the fact that these states have much higher populations than those listed above. These areas will need to hire a great deal of social workers to manage all of the cases they see, but because they will require such a large staff, the salary ofa social worker is lower. Those that have more advanced training or a specialization will be more likely to earn an advanced salary in these areas. To further illustrate this point, note the salaries in areas that have the highest concentrationof social workers.

Average Salary in New Mexico: $44,920

Average Salary in Montana: $38,800

Average Salary in New York: $57,260

Average Salary in Oregon: $44,720

Average Salary in California: $63,080

Once again, these areas have higher populations and will have very specific work that social workers will need to take on. The average social worker salary in these areas is lower than other areas due to the decreased budget facilities in these areas will be expected to work with to get the same amount of work done.

Social Worker Types of Salaries

Social Worker (MSW): Average Salary: $56,351

These social workers will be responsible for interviewing clients and their family members to coordinate programs and activities to meet these client’s social and emotional needs. They will provide crisis intervention and assist the families in understanding the implication and nature of the medical situation their client is facing and how it will impact their lifestyle. These social workers will need to earn a master’s degree as well as 2-4 years of experience in a related area before they can represent clients on their own.

Social Worker (BSW): Average Salary: $48,035

Social workers in this setting will work with families to plan programs and activities that will suit their client’s emotional and social needs. This will include performing crisis intervention and encouraging family understanding. They will explain their client’s situation to their families and make sure they understand how this will impact their lifestyle. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in social work and 2-4 years of experience in the field.

Medical Social Worker (BSW): Average Salary: $48,634

These individuals will be responsible for coordinating activities and programs on behalf of their clients to better manage their physical and emotional needs. This will include providing intervention with the client’s family members and making sure these individuals fully understand the client’s medical condition and how it will impact their lifestyle when they are released from a medical facility. These individuals will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work and earn 2-4 years of experience in the field before representing clients.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Average Salary: $49,793

Licensed social workers will work with clients and their families to help meet their social and emotional needs. This will include providing psychotherapy and counseling to these individuals, couples, groups or families. Those working in this field will need to earn a master’s degree in social work as well as 2-4 years of experience in this field or a similar field of work. They will also need to complete their state’s licensing process to practice clinical work.

Medical Social Worker (MSW) – Nursing Home: Average Salary: $44,887

These social workers will work with families of their clients to establish programs that will best meet their needs. This will include providing crisis intervention and making sure all parties understand the client’s medical situation and how it will impact their finances or lifestyle. These positions will require a master’s degree in social work as well as 2-4 years of experience in a related area before they may take on clients without supervision.

Medical Social Worker (MSW): Average Salary: $51,245

These social workers will visit the homes of their clients to meet with their families to coordinate a care plan that will best meet their needs. This may include providing crisis intervention in the event that these needs are not being met. They will also coordinate with outside agencies to provide post-discharge care or regular home nursing. Those working in this field will require a master’s degree as well as 2-4 years of experience before they can represent clients on their own.

History of Social Workers

The first social work courses were offered at Colombia University in 1898. These individuals were trained to help better address the needs of society due to the growing social problems of the day. While the issues that these individuals were expected to perform have changed over time, the role of these individuals has remained the same.

The social work profession began receiving more notable recognition in 1931 when Jane Addams won the Nobel Peace prize for her work as a community organizer and peace activist, caring for the community. Around the same time Frances Perkins became the first woman to be nominated to the cabinet of a U.S. president. Franklin Roosevelt wanted to include this level of expertise in his planning throughout the depression.

These individuals have been called to speak out against organizations that are abusing or neglect to individuals. They have always worked with families and institutions to ensure that these individuals are given the best possible care.

Social Worker Salary Outlook – Conclusion

The average salary of a social worker is expected to remain steady in the upcoming years. The industry as a whole is expected to grow by 25 percent by 2020. The salary for a social workerworking in areas that help to manage child and family needs will be growing at a larger rate than those in other areas of the field due to the increased need for representation for foster and adopted children.

The social worker average salary for those working in healthcare facilities is also expected to see a significant amount of growth in the upcoming years. There is an increased elderly population that will require increased representation as they begin to experience more advanced health issues, which will require an experienced social worker to advocate on their behalf.