Skip to main content

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 social work specialties:

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

StatePer hourPer year
Alabama $21.73 $45,200
Alaska $29.61 $61,580
Arizona $20.99 $43,660
Arkansas $19.76 $41,110
California $31.22 $64,940
Colorado $28.75 $59,790
Connecticut $33.99 $70,690
Delaware $19.93 $41,450
District of Columbia $33.82 $70,340
Florida $23.50 $48,890
Georgia $23.17 $48,200
Hawaii $29.71 $61,790
Idaho $22.87 $47,560
Illinois $26.89 $55,930
Indiana $21.89 $45,520
Iowa $24.22 $50,380
Kansas $23.00 $47,850
Kentucky $20.89 $43,440
Louisiana $21.64 $45,010
Maine $29.36 $61,070
Maryland $30.02 $62,440
Massachusetts $26.43 $54,980
Michigan $24.95 $51,900
Minnesota $29.30 $60,940
Mississippi $17.74 $36,900
Missouri $19.75 $41,070
Montana $20.19 $41,980
Nebraska $21.03 $43,730
Nevada $27.73 $57,670
New Hampshire $26.76 $55,650
New Jersey $36.26 $75,410
New Mexico $22.54 $46,870
New York $33.01 $68,660
North Carolina $24.55 $51,060
North Dakota $28.55 $59,390
Ohio $23.17 $48,200
Oklahoma $20.95 $43,580
Oregon $26.34 $54,790
Pennsylvania $23.75 $49,390
Rhode Island $30.55 $63,550
South Carolina $21.98 $45,710
South Dakota $21.53 $44,770
Tennessee $22.25 $46,280
Texas $23.71 $49,310
Utah $24.83 $51,650
Vermont $25.51 $53,060
Virginia $27.93 $58,100
Washington $28.96 $60,230
West Virginia $19.82 $41,230
Wisconsin $23.51 $48,910
Wyoming $24.08 $50,090

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Healthcare social workers average salary by state*

StatePer hourPer year
Alabama $24.26 $50,450
Alaska $29.00 $60,320
Arizona $29.23 $60,790
Arkansas $27.72 $57,650
California $40.72 $84,690
Colorado $28.10 $58,450
Connecticut $34.62 $72,010
Delaware $27.08 $56,330
District of Columbia $41.83 $87,000
Florida $28.09 $58,420
Georgia $26.30 $54,710
Hawaii $35.56 $73,960
Idaho $30.77 $63,990
Illinois $28.41 $59,090
Indiana $27.14 $56,460
Iowa $27.81 $57,840
Kansas $28.82 $59,940
Kentucky $26.70 $55,540
Louisiana $26.47 $55,060
Maine $28.32 $58,900
Maryland $30.08 $62,560
Massachusetts $30.89 $64,250
Michigan $28.55 $59,390
Minnesota $30.16 $62,740
Mississippi $26.35 $54,810
Missouri $24.69 $51,340
Montana $26.84 $55,830
Nebraska $25.89 $53,840
Nevada $31.51 $65,530
New Hampshire $32.81 $68,240
New Jersey $34.28 $71,310
New Mexico $29.00 $60,320
New York $29.66 $61,680
North Carolina $30.07 $62,540
North Dakota $26.72 $55,580
Ohio $27.94 $58,120
Oklahoma $25.39 $52,820
Oregon $38.40 $79,870
Pennsylvania $29.80 $61,990
Rhode Island $35.21 $73,230
South Carolina $27.34 $56,870
South Dakota $22.72 $47,260
Tennessee $25.44 $52,920
Texas $31.17 $64,840
Utah $32.63 $67,880
Vermont $27.42 $57,020
Virginia $27.60 $57,420
Washington $34.52 $71,800
West Virginia $26.36 $54,830
Wisconsin $28.36 $59,000
Wyoming $30.08 $62,560

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

StatePer hourPer year
Alabama $17.63 $36,680
Alaska $26.04 $54,160
Arizona $21.02 $43,720
Arkansas $20.20 $42,010
California $38.20 $79,450
Colorado $26.63 $55,390
Connecticut $34.45 $71,650
Delaware $23.67 $49,240
District of Columbia $35.34 $73,500
Florida $21.22 $44,130
Georgia $22.46 $46,720
Hawaii $30.92 $64,310
Idaho $21.38 $44,470
Illinois $25.27 $52,560
Indiana $23.78 $49,460
Iowa $26.55 $55,220
Kansas $22.66 $47,120
Kentucky $21.42 $44,560
Louisiana $22.51 $46,820
Maine $28.29 $58,830
Maryland $25.91 $53,890
Massachusetts $25.85 $53,760
Michigan $25.34 $52,700
Minnesota $29.47 $61,300
Mississippi $21.18 $44,060
Missouri $20.77 $43,210
Montana $19.67 $40,910
Nebraska $17.38 $36,150
Nevada $28.84 $59,990
New Hampshire $29.30 $60,950
New Jersey $47.78 $99,390
New Mexico $25.39 $52,810
New York $36.39 $75,700
North Carolina $26.38 $54,860
North Dakota $25.72 $53,500
Ohio $22.69 $47,190
Oklahoma $19.71 $40,990
Oregon $25.32 $52,660
Pennsylvania $20.99 $43,650
Rhode Island $32.88 $68,400
South Carolina $20.63 $42,900
South Dakota $21.48 $44,680
Tennessee $19.80 $41,190
Texas $22.57 $46,950
Utah $22.79 $47,410
Vermont $24.90 $51,800
Virginia $26.04 $54,160
Washington $28.61 $59,500
West Virginia $20.01 $41,620
Wisconsin $24.55 $51,070
Wyoming $27.78 $57,780

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Social workers, all other average salary by state*

StatePer hourPer year
Alabama $33.20 $69,050
Alaska $28.15 $58,560
Arizona $29.50 $61,360
Arkansas $24.71 $51,400
California $32.95 $68,540
Colorado $26.40 $54,910
Connecticut $30.94 $64,350
Delaware $33.02 $68,690
District of Columbia $33.11 $68,880
Florida $26.57 $55,270
Georgia $36.19 $75,270
Hawaii $41.23 $85,760
Illinois $31.96 $66,490
Indiana $33.66 $70,000
Iowa $29.37 $61,090
Kansas $34.53 $71,820
Kentucky $27.31 $56,810
Louisiana $27.62 $57,450
Maine $27.54 $57,280
Maryland $32.71 $68,040
Massachusetts $41.22 $85,730
Michigan $29.95 $62,290
Minnesota $32.59 $67,790
Mississippi $27.70 $57,610
Missouri $24.46 $50,870
Montana $24.13 $50,190
Nebraska $30.04 $62,480
Nevada $37.56 $78,120
New Hampshire $37.32 $77,630
New Jersey $33.38 $69,440
New Mexico $29.33 $61,000
New York $35.44 $73,710
North Carolina $30.02 $62,450
North Dakota $33.81 $70,320
Ohio $27.11 $56,380
Oklahoma $29.83 $62,040
Oregon $27.31 $56,790
Pennsylvania $32.08 $66,720
South Carolina $34.85 $72,480
South Dakota $35.78 $74,410
Tennessee $23.25 $48,350
Texas $32.44 $67,470
Utah $26.12 $54,320
Vermont $28.94 $60,200
Virginia $34.65 $72,070
Washington $38.08 $79,210
West Virginia $32.35 $67,290
Wisconsin $28.77 $59,850

According to 2021 data from 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, May 2021*

Job / careerPer hourPer year
Child, Family, and School Social Workers (BLS)$26.39$54,880
Healthcare Social Workers (BLS)$29.96$62,310
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (BLS)$27.79$57,800

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 

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.

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.

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. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice 
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice 
  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 

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.

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 

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 Outlook Handbook 2020. 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.

Classes Start January 9th

Learn More Today

Have you taken the TEAS test?

Opt-In to Receive SMS Messages

By selecting this button you agree to receive updates and alerts from Herzing University. Text HELP to 85109 for help, Text STOP to 85109 to end. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. By opting in, I authorize Herzing University to deliver SMS messages and I understand that I am not required to opt in as a condition of enrollment. By leaving this box unchecked you will not be opted in for SMS messages. Click to read Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Request Information
Ready to get started?

Contact us to request more information

Have you taken the TEAS test?

Opt-In to Receive SMS Messages

By selecting this button you agree to receive updates and alerts from Herzing University. Text HELP to 85109 for help, Text STOP to 85109 to end. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. By opting in, I authorize Herzing University to deliver SMS messages and I understand that I am not required to opt in as a condition of enrollment. By leaving this box unchecked you will not be opted in for SMS messages. Click to read Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Schedule a Tour
Schedule a Campus Tour

Opt-In to Receive SMS Messages

By selecting this button you agree to receive updates and alerts from Herzing University. Text HELP to 85109 for help, Text STOP to 85109 to end. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. By opting in, I authorize Herzing University to deliver SMS messages and I understand that I am not required to opt in as a condition of enrollment. By leaving this box unchecked you will not be opted in for SMS messages. Click to read Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Schedule a Call
Schedule a Campus Call

Opt-In to Receive SMS Messages

By selecting this button you agree to receive updates and alerts from Herzing University. Text HELP to 85109 for help, Text STOP to 85109 to end. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. By opting in, I authorize Herzing University to deliver SMS messages and I understand that I am not required to opt in as a condition of enrollment. By leaving this box unchecked you will not be opted in for SMS messages. Click to read Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.