Social Work Programs

November 28, 2009

Social Work Salaries: How is the Pay

Filed under: social work salary — Tags: — admin @ 1:49 pm

social work salarySocial work is a profession that focuses on aiding the improvement of people’s lives. The focus lies in creating a better place for society. Social workers help others to deal with various situations that have landed them in dire straits as well as just daily coping issues. There is a wide range of people to work with including issues related to homelessness, veteran trauma, unemployment, child and spousal abuse, drug addiction, marital issues and more. The hope is that everyone is represented and receives fair treatment to enable personal growth.

Social workers’ salaries usually depend on experience. The more cases a social worker handle the better prepared they become. Salaries range higher for social worker with a Masters of Social Work and vary from state to state, as well as they type of social work entered. Social workers who are school, family or child care staff average $37K per year, with a low average of $24k and a high of $62K annually. If you have a Doctorate in Social Work, DSW, there are teaching positions at universities that can be very rewarding both monetarily and due to the interactions with students. There are also now online teaching positions available that will hire both licensed MSW and Phd, DSW social workers.
Social workers’ salaries in the field of public health and medicine average about $43K per year, with the lowest level around $27K and the highest at $64K annually. Social workers working with substance abuse or mental health average roughly $35K per year, with entry level salaries at $22K and upper level at $57K. All other types of social workers salaries average $43K, with the lowest wage at $25K and the highest at $68K annually.
This information shows that social workers’ salaries can range a great deal. Where a social worker lands on the pay scale depends on education, region and experience. If you are in it for the money alone you probably won’t go into social . With that being said, many social workers also are in private practice and can do well financially if they are in many of the insurance or hmo networks for mental health. In big cities, some of these networks are filled up and do not take new providers, so this is something to research if your goal is to have a private psychotherapy practice as a social worker. Also when you work for yourself rather than an agencies, you will be responsible for taking care of the billing for your clients. Some people that are frustrated by the social work salary as well as dealing with insurance company rules and reports are now just taking clients out of pocket using private pay.


  1. One important point I didn’t write was that people on the whole want to use their insurance for psychotherapy sessions. It is important to try to apply to all the insurance panels and networks in your area once you are licensed. If they are closed, check back six months later to see if they are letting in new providers. I just got into an insurance panel that had been closed for 8 years so it is possible!

    Comment by admin — November 28, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  2. I think most people want to make a lot of money today and like Obama said dream of being rappers or rock stars. Social work jobs don’t seem too glamarous especially because the salary is low like teachers. Why are the important jobs that shape our society the ones that get no pay. I am torn about what to do because I want to go into social work field but also want to be able to buy some nice things too.

    Comment by Nora — November 29, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

  3. It is true that for private practice you have to find out if the insurance networks and managed care companies are taking new providers or no in the area you live. Some do not add new people or may only add psychologists and PsyD licensed professionals. Social workers wishing to have a private practice should research this thorougly to be sure they are able to set up a practice unless they are using cash only for the payment.

    Comment by Ashley J — December 14, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

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