Social Work Salaries
Demand for social workers is on the rise!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent figures, in 2006 social workers held about 595,000 jobs. According to the Bureau, employment of social workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. The rapidly growing elderly population and the aging baby boom generation will create greater demand for health and social services, resulting in particularly rapid job growth among gerontology social workers.
Those just starting out with a BSW can expect an annual salary ranging up to $30,000 depending on type of work, experience, and geographic factors. A social worker with an MSW degree can expect an annual income ranging between $40,000 and $60,000; a DSW can anticipate an annual income of more than $40,000. A few experienced private practitioners and senior administrators earn as much as $100,000.
Social work salaries have a high variability. Social work salaries vary depending upon a number of factors, including geographic location, highest social work degree and gender. (National Study of Licensed Social Workers, 2004).
|Social Work Salaries Fast Facts*
||Males have higher salaries than females
||Pacific region has highest social work salaries; South Central has lowest social work salaries
|Highest SW Degree
||DSWs have highest social work salaries; MSWs have second highest social work salaries
||Metropolitan areas have highest social work salaries; rural areas have lowest social work salaries
|Size of Primary Caseload
||Social workers without caseloads have highest social work salaries; 11-15 and 26-50 clients have lowest social work salaries
|Sector of Employment
||Private practice has highest social work salaries; private nonprofit has lowest social work salaries
|Years of Experience
||Each year of experience is associated with about $419 increase in salary
*Variables with a statistically significant relationship with estimated salaries of licensed social workers working full time in a single social work job. From National Study of Licensed Social Workers, 2004.
Of the respondents who graduated with a BSW in 2000 or later,
- 1% earned less than $20,000
- 82% earned between $20,000 -$39,000
- 12% earned between $40,000 -$59,000
- 3% earned between $60,000-$79,000
Of the respondents who graduated with a MSW in 2000 or later,
- 1% earned less than $20,000
- 48% earned between $20,000 -$39,000
- 45% earned between $40,000 -$59,000
- 5% earned between $60,000-$79,000
Social Work Workforce Data
Learn about the social work workforce at the NASW Center for Workforce Studies Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse includes searchable articles, fact sheets, government reports, research reports and other documents on social work workforce topics including salary data, recruitment, retention, demographics, and employment trends.
2002 Salary Survey of NASW Membership
Through its Practice Research Network, NASW administered a series of practice-based surveys. Social work income information is provided in the following links: