Social Worker Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|10 Years +||$14.73||$33.18||$30,630.00||$69,020.00|
Social workers are professionals who help other people cope with the daily issues and situations at the core of their personal problems. Usually, social workers assist those who are recovering from traumatic incidents like being the victim of a serious crime, going through horrific accidents, becoming disabled because of an illness, or getting out of abusive and stressful relationships.
In certain instances, social workers are also called to provide preventive assistance to those who are having a hard time coping with stressful situations before these individuals mentally and emotionally break down. Stressful conditions may include losing a job or a home, the death of a loved one, or facing a life-threatening disease. A basic social worker is often tasked to help people deal with common problems. However, specialized social workers are called in when situations are very severe, like those involving substance abuse, psychological disorders, or domestic violence to name a few.
The most popular types of social workers are those who specialize in child, family, and school related issues. This particular type of professional is trained to provide psychosocial support to the family, which is the basic unit of society. Their expertise covers how to help families who are having domestic issues, children who are experiencing problems with their family and community, and students who are having a difficult time with their academic obligations.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers are those who are specifically trained to aid individuals who are disturbed by substance dependence and mental health issues. Among their services include outreach, crisis intervention, and social rehabilitation. Most of the time, social workers who are engaged with substance addicts and mentally ill individuals also help them find occupational opportunities once they are deemed fit to be reinstated back to the society.
There are 650,500 social workers in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2010. The majority are working as child, family, and school social workers (295,700), followed by healthcare social workers (152,700) and mental health and substance abuse social workers (126,100).
According to the data gathered by the said government agency, those involved in domestic and school work are earning a median social worker salary of $40,680 a year. The bottom 10% earn lower than $26,190 while top 10% make more than $70,050.
The median social worker figure for medical and public health social workers is $48,620 per annum. The lowest 10% are paid less than $31,160 per year, and the top 10% rake in more than $73,040 annually.
The mental health and substance abuse social workers get a median $39,230 social worker pay annually. The bottom 10% makes less than $25,520, and the top 10% go home with a social worker pay of more than $65,600 annually.
The smallest cohort of social workers, grouping together all those who do not work in the specified sectors, earn a median pay of $53,900. These professionals are mostly associated with Government offices, specialty hospitals, and insurance companies. Their lowest 10th percentile earn $30,380, while the upper end reaches over $79,760.
There is a huge need for social workers in the United States, as indicated by the number of industries and agencies that require their services and expertise.
In the United States, the biggest employers for child, family, and school social workers and their average social worker salaries per year are as follows:
|Individual and Family Services||$37,520|
|Elementary & Secondary Schools||$58,010|
|Other Residential Care Facilities||$36,390|
According to the data above, elementary and secondary schools as well as local and local government units are generous when it comes to their average wage rates for social workers, as both shell out wage rates that are over the yearly national average of $44,410. However, minor employers such as other schools and instruction institutions (employing 640 social workers nationally, at an average $56,530 per annum) and junior colleges (with 510 workers at $53,980) also offer generous salary rates, although employment opportunities are obviously far more scarce.
For healthcare social work personnel, the biggest employers and their salaries per year are as follows:
|General Medical & Surgical Hospitals||$56,060|
|Individual & Family Services||$42,050|
|Nursing Care Facilities||$45,230|
|Home Healthcare Services||$55,020|
The data above shows that out of the biggest employers for medical and public health social workers, only general and medical hospitals and home health care services pay above the national medical specialist social worker salary average of $50,500. Minor employers such as scientific research and development services ($60,300), specialty hospitals ($59,380) and employment services ($56,490) pay more, but these employ a relatively few 200, 1900, and 1270 professionals respectively across the country. This means that job openings will be significantly rarer and more competitive.
Those who work as mental health and substance abuse social workers will find that their biggest employers and their average yearly salaries are in outpatient care centers ($40,220), individual and family services ($39,400), and mental health and substance abuse facilities ($36,460). The data indicates that none of the top three sectors in terms of employment rates shell out more than the national salary average. However, the following two employers, local Government ($47,480) and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals ($48,960) still employ over 10,000 social workers nationally, and do so at above average pay rates.
The common minimum prerequisite to qualify for social work is a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW).
However, there are employers who also consider those with an undergraduate degree in related fields such as psychology, sociology, and social science for entry-level positions. Most subjects involved with social work programs are psychology, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and social work.
There are instances where advanced education is required, especially for higher positions in clinical work and administrative roles. Whereas a bachelor's degree may qualify a graduate to work as a case worker or a residential counselor, a Doctorate degree will prepare an individual for specialization and for expanded functions and responsibilities like larger caseloads and direct involvement in clinical and social researches and experimentations.
All 50 states in the country require social work aspirants to be licensed or certified before they can work. Requirements, however, vary state by state. Membership in duly recognized organizations, such as the National Association of Social Workers, will also bolster one's reputation and have a string of positive effects on a social worker, such as highly regarded status among his or her peers, better social worker salary rates, and valuable contacts within the social work community.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the social work profession is expected to increase by up to 25% overall within the 2010-2020 decade. The total number of social work personnel is projected to rise up to 811,700 by 2020 from 650,500 in 2010. The Bureau describes the predicted growth as faster than average.
It should be noted that the growth rates which comprise this average for all social workers differ by specialization; family and school social workers are only projected to grow by 20%, although this is still slightly faster than the average for all occupations. Contrastingly, the ranks of healthcare social workers are expected to increase by 34%, and mental health/substance abuse social workers by 31%. This growth is much faster than average. The remaining, unclassified, social workers will increase by only 16%, which is about average for all occupations.
There is a huge demand of social workers especially in areas where cases domestic violence, child abuse, intense bullying, and drug and substance dependence are prevalent. The increasing popularity of treatment programs for drug and alcohol addicts is also contributing to the call for more social workers. Treatment programs are seen as more effective than prisons and this trend will continue to strengthen the role of social workers.
The ballooning elderly population will also spur the demand for social workers, especially those with backgrounds in gerontology. As more and more elderly individuals enter the senior citizen demographic, there will be an expected surge of social workers to help these individuals cope with their age and the realities they need to deal with.
The need for social workers in the future will have a positive effect on many aspects of the said profession, including the social worker salary.
Most social workers start their careers by filling entry-level positions such as caseworker, mental health assistant, group home worker or residential counselor. As one gains experience it is a fairly straightforward goal to climb the career ladder.
Supervisory and administrative positions are usually given to those who have a doctor's degree in social work. Staff training and clinical roles are also reserved for social workers who have vast experience in their chosen field of social work. Positions in the government are also available for social workers, especially in formulating and enforcing government policies.
Teaching at college and post-college level is also a good option for those who have the passion for academics. In some cases, social workers who join the academe are also tapped to design their own social work teaching programs. Private practice is also a popular career for a social worker, especially for ones that have a degree in psychology or sociology.
If you are not sure whether you want to become a social worker or not, but you have that passion to help other people, you can still check the related occupations below:
The social worker career is a very noble route for any human being. It provides an avenue where you can help other people who are having issues in their lives and get them to become functional and productive members of society. The occupation demands dedication but the rewards are worth the sacrifice for a well-suited individual.