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How Much Can a Social Worker Make?

Social worker salary breakdown

The average annual salary for social workers depends on several factors, including the specialty in which you work, employer-specific pay grades, and state in which you practice. Social workers in a healthcare environment, such as a hospital social worker, will typically earn a different average salary than those who work in behavioral health or family services.

Keep in mind the salary figures presented below do not represent starting figures for entry-level positions. These are average salaries for social workers across all educational/experience levels.

Social Worker Speaking with Client in Office

Social worker salary by state

Average salaries can vary widely by the state in which you practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides average salary estimates for three unique types of social work specialties:

Child, family, and school social workers average salary by state*

Average salaryMedian salary
StatePer hourPer yearPer hourPer year
Alabama $21.48 $44,670 $19.86 $41,310
Alaska $30.46 $63,370 $28.77 $59,840
Arizona $21.52 $44,760 $20.70 $43,060
Arkansas $20.27 $42,160 $19.59 $40,740
California $31.90 $66,340 $30.10 $62,610
Colorado $28.33 $58,930 $25.99 $54,070
Connecticut $34.60 $71,970 $36.07 $75,020
Delaware $22.09 $45,950 $20.51 $42,650
District of Columbia $33.65 $69,980 $30.64 $63,740
Florida $23.99 $49,910 $22.21 $46,200
Georgia $22.97 $47,790 $20.82 $43,310
Hawaii $30.71 $63,880 $29.00 $60,330
Idaho $25.82 $53,700 $24.52 $51,010
Illinois $29.20 $60,740 $27.41 $57,010
Indiana $23.05 $47,940 $20.84 $43,350
Iowa $24.74 $51,460 $22.38 $46,560
Kansas $24.08 $50,080 $22.47 $46,740
Kentucky $21.98 $45,710 $20.92 $43,510
Louisiana $24.33 $50,600 $25.81 $53,680
Maine $29.69 $61,760 $29.27 $60,880
Maryland $32.14 $66,850 $30.56 $63,570
Massachusetts $27.58 $57,370 $26.52 $55,170
Michigan $25.85 $53,760 $24.89 $51,780
Minnesota $31.00 $64,490 $30.57 $63,590
Mississippi $18.58 $38,650 $17.45 $36,300
Missouri $19.83 $41,240 $18.63 $38,750
Montana $20.85 $43,360 $19.66 $40,890
Nebraska $21.25 $44,200 $19.21 $39,960
Nevada $28.44 $59,160 $26.80 $55,740
New Hampshire $27.18 $56,520 $25.73 $53,520
New Jersey $36.34 $75,590 $35.93 $74,730
New Mexico $25.41 $52,860 $22.00 $45,760
New York $33.99 $70,690 $31.54 $65,600
North Carolina $24.24 $50,420 $23.32 $48,510
North Dakota $29.27 $60,880 $29.12 $60,580
Ohio $23.45 $48,780 $22.56 $46,930
Oklahoma $24.55 $51,070 $22.26 $46,310
Oregon $28.55 $59,390 $27.39 $56,970
Pennsylvania $25.11 $52,230 $23.33 $48,520
Rhode Island $31.95 $66,460 $31.37 $65,250
South Carolina $21.58 $44,890 $21.73 $45,190
South Dakota $22.46 $46,710 $21.94 $45,640
Tennessee $23.53 $48,940 $22.73 $47,280
Texas $23.95 $49,810 $23.75 $49,400
Utah $26.99 $56,140 $23.03 $47,900
Vermont $26.36 $54,820 $25.65 $53,350
Virginia $28.62 $59,530 $25.02 $52,040
Washington $30.19 $62,800 $29.73 $61,830
West Virginia $19.77 $41,110 $17.84 $37,110
Wisconsin $24.49 $50,950 $23.15 $48,150
Wyoming $22.91 $47,640 $21.93 $45,620
Guam $18.87 $39,240 $17.56 $36,530
Puerto Rico $17.20 $35,780 $15.80 $32,860

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*

Healthcare social workers average salary by state*

Average salaryMedian salary
StatePer hourPer yearPer hourPer year
Alabama $24.78 $51,540 $24.56 $51,080
Alaska $32.90 $68,430 $31.75 $66,040
Arizona $30.35 $63,130 $29.70 $61,770
Arkansas $27.23 $56,630 $28.02 $58,270
California $42.49 $88,380 $38.84 $80,790
Colorado $28.04 $58,310 $27.45 $57,090
Connecticut $35.44 $73,720 $36.61 $76,150
Delaware $27.93 $58,100 $28.43 $59,120
Florida $26.57 $55,270 $26.08 $54,240
Georgia $27.71 $57,640 $26.82 $55,790
Hawaii $34.93 $72,660 $36.72 $76,380
Idaho $29.62 $61,610 $30.11 $62,630
Illinois $28.38 $59,030 $28.89 $60,080
Indiana $27.47 $57,150 $26.72 $55,580
Iowa $27.85 $57,920 $28.04 $58,310
Kansas $29.01 $60,340 $29.00 $60,310
Kentucky $27.06 $56,280 $26.78 $55,710
Louisiana $28.76 $59,830 $28.84 $59,990
Maine $29.05 $60,430 $29.10 $60,530
Maryland $28.36 $58,980 $28.57 $59,420
Massachusetts $31.46 $65,440 $29.31 $60,970
Michigan $28.55 $59,390 $28.35 $58,970
Minnesota $30.81 $64,080 $30.07 $62,550
Mississippi $26.33 $54,760 $24.54 $51,040
Missouri $24.80 $51,580 $22.69 $47,190
Montana $27.56 $57,320 $28.17 $58,600
Nebraska $26.12 $54,340 $26.03 $54,140
Nevada $33.63 $69,940 $31.91 $66,370
New Hampshire $34.23 $71,200 $33.33 $69,320
New Jersey $34.45 $71,660 $34.13 $70,980
New Mexico $30.38 $63,180 $29.31 $60,960
New York $29.06 $60,440 $26.40 $54,910
North Carolina $30.34 $63,110 $29.19 $60,710
North Dakota $28.31 $58,890 $29.08 $60,490
Ohio $28.71 $59,720 $28.95 $60,210
Oklahoma $25.49 $53,020 $23.28 $48,420
Oregon $37.09 $77,150 $37.59 $78,190
Pennsylvania $30.01 $62,410 $29.19 $60,710
Rhode Island $35.63 $74,110 $36.89 $76,730
South Carolina $28.50 $59,270 $28.70 $59,690
South Dakota $23.54 $48,950 $21.87 $45,490
Tennessee $25.63 $53,320 $23.57 $49,030
Texas $30.05 $62,500 $29.77 $61,910
Utah $32.72 $68,050 $31.81 $66,160
Vermont $31.39 $65,290 $30.12 $62,650
Virginia $27.68 $57,570 $28.34 $58,950
Washington $34.27 $71,270 $35.33 $73,490
West Virginia $27.37 $56,940 $28.47 $59,220
Wisconsin $29.38 $61,110 $28.85 $60,010
Wyoming $29.22 $60,780 $28.53 $59,340
Guam $23.37 $48,600 $22.74 $47,300
Puerto Rico $16.22 $33,730 $15.07 $31,350

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*

Mental health and substance abuse social workers average salary by state*

Average salaryMedian salary
StatePer hourPer yearPer hourPer year
Alabama $17.70 $36,810 $17.52 $36,450
Alaska $27.71 $57,640 $24.63 $51,240
Arizona $21.84 $45,420 $19.98 $41,560
Arkansas $21.82 $45,380 $20.20 $42,010
California $39.29 $81,720 $38.24 $79,530
Colorado $27.14 $56,460 $24.32 $50,580
Connecticut $38.02 $79,080 $35.00 $72,790
Delaware $25.37 $52,770 $23.44 $48,750
District of Columbia $35.09 $72,990 $34.93 $72,650
Florida $22.85 $47,520 $22.16 $46,090
Georgia $25.75 $53,570 $23.06 $47,960
Hawaii $31.38 $65,270 $31.69 $65,920
Idaho $24.06 $50,030 $22.05 $45,860
Illinois $26.38 $54,870 $22.41 $46,610
Indiana $22.97 $47,770 $22.15 $46,080
Iowa $23.96 $49,850 $22.05 $45,870
Kansas $24.39 $50,730 $23.08 $48,000
Kentucky $21.68 $45,080 $19.02 $39,560
Louisiana $22.39 $46,580 $21.85 $45,440
Maine $33.13 $68,900 $32.23 $67,040
Maryland $26.86 $55,880 $23.71 $49,320
Massachusetts $27.34 $56,860 $24.82 $51,630
Michigan $25.53 $53,110 $24.29 $50,520
Minnesota $32.32 $67,230 $31.11 $64,700
Mississippi $20.85 $43,360 $19.87 $41,330
Missouri $21.14 $43,980 $19.97 $41,540
Montana $20.09 $41,790 $17.81 $37,040
Nebraska $19.11 $39,750 $18.37 $38,210
Nevada $26.33 $54,760 $27.96 $58,160
New Hampshire $31.62 $65,760 $30.35 $63,130
New Jersey $44.64 $92,850 $37.47 $77,930
New Mexico $25.19 $52,390 $25.16 $52,330
New York $38.32 $79,700 $36.13 $75,150
North Carolina $25.93 $53,940 $25.00 $52,010
North Dakota $27.08 $56,320 $26.30 $54,700
Ohio $23.57 $49,020 $19.68 $40,940
Oklahoma $19.40 $40,360 $17.43 $36,250
Oregon $26.14 $54,370 $23.92 $49,760
Pennsylvania $22.29 $46,360 $21.18 $44,040
Rhode Island $29.55 $61,460 $30.03 $62,460
South Carolina $22.59 $46,990 $22.40 $46,590
South Dakota $21.58 $44,890 $21.13 $43,960
Tennessee $20.22 $42,070 $19.25 $40,040
Texas $21.20 $44,100 $18.98 $39,470
Utah $32.75 $68,130 $19.85 $41,290
Vermont $26.96 $56,080 $23.82 $49,540
Virginia $26.28 $54,660 $23.35 $48,570
Washington $28.01 $58,250 $26.68 $55,490
West Virginia $17.53 $36,450 $15.28 $31,790
Wisconsin $25.42 $52,860 $23.84 $49,590
Wyoming $26.23 $54,560 $23.05 $47,950
Puerto Rico $13.30 $27,660 $11.14 $23,170

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*

Social workers, all other average salary by state*

Average salaryMedian salary
StatePer hourPer yearPer hourPer year
Alaska $29.37 $61,090 $24.75 $51,480
Arizona $30.00 $62,410 $28.28 $58,830
Arkansas $25.70 $53,460 $19.19 $39,910
California $33.43 $69,530 $29.90 $62,200
Colorado $26.44 $55,000 $23.40 $48,670
Connecticut $35.28 $73,390 $31.62 $65,770
Delaware $32.02 $66,600 $30.25 $62,920
District of Columbia $38.23 $79,520 $42.03 $87,420
Florida $26.92 $55,990 $25.25 $52,520
Georgia $32.26 $67,100 $33.59 $69,870
Hawaii $36.67 $76,280 $40.85 $84,970
Idaho $26.99 $56,150 $20.03 $41,660
Illinois $31.55 $65,630 $32.03 $66,620
Indiana $34.06 $70,840 $35.01 $72,820
Iowa $32.55 $67,710 $35.11 $73,030
Kansas $37.79 $78,610 $38.63 $80,350
Kentucky $31.02 $64,530 $33.95 $70,620
Louisiana $30.03 $62,460 $31.13 $64,750
Maine $27.89 $58,000 $25.15 $52,320
Maryland $32.69 $68,000 $29.87 $62,130
Massachusetts $35.69 $74,220 $35.92 $74,710
Michigan $30.86 $64,200 $28.95 $60,220
Minnesota $32.67 $67,960 $31.63 $65,780
Mississippi $29.95 $62,300 $26.31 $54,720
Missouri $25.34 $52,700 $19.31 $40,160
Montana $24.63 $51,230 $20.79 $43,240
Nebraska $30.36 $63,140 $28.10 $58,450
Nevada $34.53 $71,820 $30.41 $63,250
New Jersey $32.23 $67,030 $31.71 $65,950
New Mexico $30.01 $62,410 $27.89 $58,010
New York $37.76 $78,540 $36.71 $76,350
North Carolina $30.66 $63,770 $33.13 $68,910
North Dakota $34.75 $72,280 $35.01 $72,820
Ohio $27.73 $57,680 $26.98 $56,120
Oklahoma $38.66 $80,410 $41.38 $86,070
Oregon $28.66 $59,600 $28.69 $59,680
Pennsylvania $35.48 $73,800 $36.07 $75,030
Rhode Island $40.59 $84,430 $41.68 $86,690
South Carolina $36.35 $75,610 $37.13 $77,230
South Dakota $37.13 $77,230 $38.15 $79,350
Tennessee $26.18 $54,460 $22.01 $45,780
Texas $32.93 $68,500 $35.01 $72,820
Utah $28.17 $58,590 $24.54 $51,040
Vermont $31.14 $64,760 $30.44 $63,300
Virginia $35.38 $73,590 $35.00 $72,800
Washington $39.53 $82,220 $40.87 $85,010
West Virginia $33.98 $70,670 $36.07 $75,030
Wisconsin $26.60 $55,320 $24.47 $50,900
Puerto Rico $20.59 $42,840 $17.28 $35,940

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*

What type of social worker is paid the most?

Among the distinct social worker specialties the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes, Healthcare Social Workers earn the highest average salary across all states:

Average wages*

Job / careerPer hourPer year
Child, Family, and School Social Workers (BLS)$27.25$56,680
Healthcare Social Workers (BLS)$30.17$62,760
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (BLS)$28.91$60,130

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can elect an extended 4-year part-time program as an alternative to the 2-year full-time plan. The extended 4-year plan spans 12 semesters as opposed to 6 semesters in the full-time plan.

Yes, you can potentially leverage your education and experience in nursing into a career as a social worker. You may choose to stay in the healthcare field as a medical social worker.

You'll want to consider a Master of Social Work degree program to earn the new skills in knowledge to succeed in the field and position yourself best when applying for jobs.

Learn more about the RN to social work pathway and discover some of the primary differences between each career path.

There is some overlap when it comes to careers in human services and social work. In both career fields you’ll be helping individuals and/or communities solve problems and find better social outcomes. Degree programs typically cover introductory behavioral health and global topics relevant to both career pathways.

However, jobs in human services typically focus on the health of communities at large, while social workers tend to place more focus on helping individuals and their families. Human service workers apply interdisciplinary skills to solve many types of problems in communities, while social workers help those in need to secure access to important social resources.

For instance, our Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services curriculum includes study of nonprofit organization management, grant writing and fundraising, program planning and development, and volunteer, board, and community development.

On the social work side, our Master of Social Work curriculum zooms in on social services primarily for individuals and families, including clinical social work theory and practice, social policy and services, clinical social work interventions, and more.

Social workers provide assistance to individuals, families and communities to address problems in their everyday lives. They can work in a “macro” role directly coordinating with organizations or policymakers, or a “micro” role focusing on individuals and their families. 

The social work job description varies—social workers can have a wide variety of duties: 

  • Find those in need of help 
  • Work with people in all stages of life from birth to end of life 
  • Assess their situation: what they need, who supports them, what their goals are and develop interventions and strategies to help 
  • Collaborate with community resources to offer a network of care and refer clients accordingly 
  • Diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional health problems 
  • Maintain clear case files and records 
  • Raise awareness and advocate for solutions at the local, state, or even national level 
  • Navigate crisis situations, such as child abuse, family and community violence, or health emergencies 

While the field of social work has evolved to become more diverse and specialized, core master’s degree courses prepare you for a wide variety of job possibilities.

Choose the MSW specialization best reflecting the social work career path you want to walk.

Job titles can vary widely with overlap across each specialty. Your choice of specialty today doesn’t necessarily preclude you from pursuing job possibilities in other areas.

Mental Health

  • Behavioral Health Therapist 
  • Mental Health Social Worker 
  • Psychiatric Social Worker 
  • Psychosocial Coordinator 
  • Residential Therapist 
  • Substance Use Disorder Clinician 
  • Suicide Prevention Specialist 
  • Therapist 
  • Victim Advocate 

Medical 

  • Home Health & Hospice Social Worker 
  • Hospice Social Worker 
  • Medical Social Worker 
  • Oncology Social Worker 
  • Residential Treatment Coordinator 
  • Social Work Case Manager 

Children, Families, and Aging

  • Adoption Social Worker 
  • Adult Protective Services Worker 
  • Child Protective Services Supervisor (CPS Social Worker) 
  • Domestic Violence Advocate 
  • Family Protection Specialist 
  • Family Resource Coordinator 
  • Family Service Worker 
  • Foster Care Social Worker 
  • Gerontology Social Worker 
  • Pediatric Social Worker 
  • School Social Worker 
  • Veteran Affairs (VA) Social Worker 
  • Youth Specialist 

No. Our 2-year MSW program is designed for those without a BSW. 

As long as you’ve earned a non-social work bachelor’s degree earned through an accredited university recognized by the US Department of Education, you can potentially qualify to enroll in our program.

Educational and licensing requirements can vary by state and employer across both jobs. The disciplines are distinct enough to demand separate master’s degree curriculums.

The primary difference between clinical social workers and mental health counselors is the scope of their duties and the education required to perform them. Generally, counselors focus solely on mental health issues, while clinical social workers carry a wide variety of responsibilities including and beyond mental health care.

Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) includes more involvement in managing your clients’ support network and larger community. While clinical social workers can potentially adopt a direct, active role in diagnosing and treating mental health issues, it’s not the sole purpose of the profession as it is for mental health counselors.

According to the CSWE’s most recent Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the 9 Social Work Competencies are listed as such: 

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior 
  2. Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  3. Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice
  4. Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Learn more about the most important skills needed to succeed as a social worker.

Step into a new career path

We want to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to become a social worker1, reach for the top of your field and compete for higher paying jobs. Become the best at what you do, position yourself to earn a good income, and make a significant difference in your community.

Join us and your new career in social work is possible.

Learn more about our Master of Social Work program

CTA Bg

1. Individuals considering the Master of Social Work program should be aware that state certification/ licensure requirements and eligibility to apply for certification/licensure vary from state to state. While certification/licensure is not a requirement for certain types of jobs, in some states, it may be required for any positions titled ‘Social Worker’ and to refer to yourself as a Social Worker in professional settings.


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2022 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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