Average Salary for Social Workers

Social workers help people improve their lives by assisting clients with problems such as disabilities, social problems, disease, substance abuse and housing on a case-by-case basis. Average salaries can vary depending on a social worker's chosen specialty.

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Social Worker Average Salaries

Social workers are often employed by a governmental or nonprofit agency and receive relatively small paychecks compared to other professions that require similar degrees. A bachelor's degree in social work is usually required for work in the field. Social workers often work for organizations that receive funding from the local, state or federal governments or a combination of these and public schools. Average social worker salaries vary depending on their specialization.


Healthcare social workers provide support to those dealing with illnesses, as well as their families. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that these professionals earned an average yearly salary of $51,460 as of May 2012. Most of these workers were employed at hospitals; healthcare social workers in this employment environment earned an average wage of $56,960. Jobs in the field were expected to grow 27% from 2012-2022, which was much faster than the national average, according to the BLS.

Child, Family and School

Child, family and school social workers supply assistance to children and their families, helping parents find daycare and coordinating other services to families who need it. Social workers in this specialty made an average wage of $45,300 in May 2012, according to the BLS. The most popular employer for this field was the state government, and these workers took in an average income of $44,270 per year. Jobs for child, family and school social workers were predicted to increase 15% from 2012-2022, which was above average.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental health and substance abuse social workers help individuals cope with an alcohol or drug addiction. They may also assist in the social rehabilitation related to a mental illness or disorder. These professionals took in the lowest average salary of $43,340 in May 2012, reported the BLS. Most mental health and substance abuse social workers were employed at outpatient care centers, where they made an average wage of $41,270 in May 2012. Jobs in the field were expected to rise 23% from 2012-2022, which was much faster than average.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics