A Social Worker salary with bachelor’s degree depends on education, experience, location, and the area of social work where you are employed.
Students can obtain a social work degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s, or doctoral levels. Generally speaking, better-educated candidates receive first pick among the most competitive jobs. Most degrees in the field require a minimum of a baccalaureate degree.
When compared with other salary ranges, a bachelor’s degree in social work salary may appear meager. However, most people who go into this field care more about helping people than bringing home a big paycheck.
Bachelor’s in Social Work Salary Ranges
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers bring home approximately $50,390 per year on average. This is the median wage for all workers in the industry, so half of the social workers make more than this and the other half make less.
Entry-level positions start out much lower, even with a degree. The lowest 10% of earners make less than $36,500. Positions of responsibility can help social workers increase their salary, and the top 10% of earners make more than $82,000.
There are quire a few other factors that affet the median salary of a Social Worker.
- Field, Industry, or Sector of Employment
- Geographic areas where you work
- Years of Experience
- Level of Education
- Certifications and Specilizations
Social Work Salary Range by Industry and Sector
The bachelor of social work salary is different by industry. Child, family, and school social workers earn around $49,000. Moreover, social workers outside of health care and mental health make an average of $61,000 per year.
Furthermore, healthcare social workers bring home approximately $60,000 on average. And mental health and substance abuse social workers make about $49,000.
|Type of Social Worker||Median Salary|
|Child, Family, and School||$49,150|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse||$49,130|
|All Other Social Workers||$61,190|
Social Work Pay by Top Employers
For those wondering about the salary potential in the top industries that hire social workers, below are a few examples. These areas employ the highest number of Social Workers. Of these employers, local goverment agencies pay the highest salaries for Social Workers with a BSW.
|Employers of Social Workers||% Employed||Salary|
|Individual and Family Svs||18%||$46,640|
These are just a few examples of what full-time social workers can make. Many social workers meet with clients outside of the office. Some nights and weekends come with the territory in this demanding field.
Highest Paying Areas of Social Work
As we have seen, bachelor’s of social work salaries vary greatly by industry. Ambulatory health care and government work pay the highest salaries to social workers. The top-earning social workers work for ambulatory health care services, agencies and brokerages, federal executive branch, at hospitals. Others may work for insurance carriers. The top earners make between $70,000 and $83,000. With the top 10% of graduates making approximately $91,000 per year.
|Employers of Social Workers||Median Salary|
|Federal Government Agencies||$ 83,020|
|Insurance Carriers||$ 71,890|
|Medical and Surgical Hospitals||$ 71,680|
|Local Government Agencies||$ 62,450|
|Management of Companies||$ 59,620|
Social Worker Salary by Geographic Location
Geographic location is another factor that determines salalry. And. Social Workers in cities and metropolitan areas have highest social work salaries. Furthermore, employees who work in rural areas have some of the lowest salaries.
Since Social Work is a licnesed profession, individuals earn a license from the state where they work. And, the license requirements and pay vary grately across the country. Below, are the BLS the four categories of social workers with the average median salary in each state.
- Child, Family, and School Social Workers
- Healthcare Social Workers
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
- All Other Social Workers
Social Worker Salary by State
|State||Child Fam School||Healthcare||Mental Hlth||Other|
|District of Columbia||$70,340||$87,000||$73,500||$68,880|
Social worker Salary by Years of Experience
According to the National Association of Social Workers salary increases with each year of job experience. The organization reports each year of experience equates to a salary increase of about $419.
How Level of Education Affects a Social Work Salary
Education level is the biggest factor that determines a Social Worker salary. For example, someone with a bachelor’s makes more than someone with an associate’s degree. While someone with a doctoral degree makes more money than someone with a master’s in social work. According to NASW, earning a master’s degree in social work or MSW can add $13,000 to a social worker’s annual salary.
According to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), earning an advanced degree is the fastest way to increase your salary and also advance your career. Getting a bachelor’s in social work can open up positions for candidates with an associate degree in social work or a related field. Furthermore, a doctorate in social work or DSW can add $25,000 per year to the salary of someone who already has their MSW.
|Bachelor of Social Work||BSW||Base Salary|
|Master of Social Work||MSW||Base Salary + $13,000|
|Doctorate in Social Work||DSW||Base Salary + $33-38,000|
|Doctor of Philosoply in SW||PhD SW||Base Salary + $33-38,000|
Salary for Licensed Social Workers
A Social Worker with a BSW can apply for a license in some states. But, most states require a social worker to earn a master’s degree for licensure. MSW holders are paid around $20,000 more than BSW holders. So, the advanced degrees needed for licensure also increase a social worker salary.
Social Worker Certifications and Specilizations
Specializing in certain areas can also increase BSW salaries. So, those who obtain jobs should remain alert for positions of responsibility. Certifications and continuing education can also increase your salary.
For example, the NASW offers Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials that professionals with a BSW can earn.
- Certified Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker (C-CYFSW)
- Military Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families – Social Worker (MVF-SW)
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker (CHP-SW)
- Social Worker in Gerontology (SW-G)
- Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM)
BSW Salary Ranges From Recent Job Postings
Salary.com provides updated data for various industries and also group salary ranges by the education required for each position. According to the site’s data, Social Workers with a bachelor’s can make over $61,500 per year on average. Additionally, most positions pay between $54,000 and $70,000.
Why do ranges vary so widely? Certification, education, and additional skills are also required for many social worker positions. The location also plays a big factor with large urban areas generally paying higher salaries for the same work as jobs in more remote areas.
Six-figure salaries are not unheard of in Social Work. However, students should be ready to take on large case management or leadership positions at hospitals and private institutions to snatch top salaries in the field. Additionally, most of the high paying positions require a master’s degree or doctoral degree.
Your Career as a Social Worker
A career in social work offer job satisfaction for those who are patient enough to remain in the field. Entry-level salaries tend to be lower than many other types of jobs for those with a bachelor’s degree. Although salaries are modest, job satisfaction for social workers is immense. Additionally, 82.6% of social workers find jobs close to home.