Social worker earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Social worker salary by state

State Name Average Salary
Illinois $43,499
Massachusetts $42,906
North Carolina $40,259
Washington $41,175
Florida $37,518
New York $39,234
Michigan $39,899
California $40,121
Pennsylvania $40,534
Texas $36,694
Maryland $42,500
Virginia $38,720
New Jersey $35,000
Georgia $40,000
Minnesota $34,500
Wisconsin $34,000
Indiana $34,000
Ohio $33,000
Oregon $33,280
Tennessee $31,500
Missouri $32,000
Arizona $30,500
Colorado $29,020
Utah $31,600

How much does a Social Worker earn?

Social worker salaries can vary widely depending on several factors, including specialization, state, and qualifications. Qualifications can range from the number of years spent as a social worker, whether or not an individual has a Masters of Social Work and what types of special certifications one might hold. According to PayScale, social workers with only a bachelor’s degree earn $25,000 to $48,000 a year. New graduates can expect earnings on the lower end of that scale. A 2009 National Association of Social Workers study shows an average increase of $15,000 annually for social workers who have completed their Master of Social Work versus those who have simply completed an undergraduate degree.

  • Child, family and school social workers handle the needs of children and families. Social workers in this category earned an average of $3,700 per month as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Healthcare social workers provide support to individuals and families with chronic or terminal illnesses. Healthcare social workers earned approximately $4,208 per month.

  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers treat those with mental, emotional or addiction problems such as alcoholism or drug abuse. Mental health and substance abuse social workers earned $3,554 per month.

The highest-earning states for social work vary depending on specialty, but, in general, include Connecticut, New Jersey, California, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island.

How do social worker salaries compare to similar careers?

Social workers earn about the same as related careers in the United States. On average, they make less than insurance sales agents but more than upholsterers.

Career Median Salary
Insurance sales agent salary $33K
Nail technician salary $27K
Travel agent salary $28K
Librarian salary $36K
Vehicle cleaner salary $25K
Social worker salary $36K
Hairdresser salary $26K
Drug & alcohol counselor salary $32K
Family social worker salary $33K
Upholsterer salary $34K