FAQ: What are the highest-paying social work jobs?
Social workers help others overcome their hardships and lead successful lives. They bring challenges, but it is also a dream job because you can make a difference every day. The pay is good, but how much can you earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual pay for social workers in 2020 will be $51,760, but this may vary and depends on your specialty, location and employer.
What Does a Social Worker Do?
There is a lot that social workers do to help people work through difficult situations in their lives. They often work in different environments, including human service agencies, schools, hospitals and mental health clinics. Social workers will often have to make decisions on what’s best for the client while working on a case, including whether or not to tell them about any potential solutions.
- Helping people apply for food stamps.
- Finding shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
- Locate counseling for people affected by domestic violence.
- Counseling hospital patients who have chronic or acute illnesses.
- Helping students who have special challenges at school.
- Assisting social services in applying for grants.
Social workers are often the primary connection between people who need help and the government departments or local services that offer it. They should consider themselves as advocates for their clients, working to ensure that they receive the best possible care and support.
A social worker is a person who helps people who are in difficult situations. They may work with children, families, or individuals.
Social workers provide support and assistance to those they work with in order to help them improve their lives. They can help people get access to services and resources that they need in order to lead healthy and productive lives.
- Interviewing clients to assess their needs.
- Making judgment decisions about proper options and community resources.
- Obtaining and organizing the needed assistance.
- Helping clients set goals.
- Monitoring and documenting the client and situation over time.
- Being knowledgeable about and complying with federal, state and local rules and guidelines.
- Maintaining client confidentiality.
- Helping the client apply for grants or other funds.
- Compiling data into reports for analysis.
Many social workers are employed by nonprofit agencies. Some work primarily in an office, while others are out in the field. An example would be a social worker who makes home visits as part of their job.
How Do I Become a Social Worker?
Earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step to becoming a social worker. Typically, you will need a bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited school, but some students pursue a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, which focuses on topics such as human behavior, cultural diversity and social welfare policy. A psychology or sociology degree is helpful for many employers too.
Some entry-level social work jobs, such as behavioral management aides, case managers and court liaisons, require a bachelor’s degree. However, for clinical work – which is more demanding – a master’s degree (MSW) is typically required along with two years of post-master’s work in a supervised clinical situation. You must also have a state license to pursue this type of career.
To be a licensed social worker in the United States, you must first pass an examination from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). This exam is given in five categories: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, advanced generalist and clinical. Some states require additional hours of supervised training in clinical practice before social workers can earn their licenses.
That $51,790 median salary number from the BLS is a general number for workers whom the BLS describes this way: “Social workers work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, settlement houses, community development corporations and private practices. They generally work full time and may need to work evenings, weekends and holidays.”
The median salary is the point at which half of the salaries paid are higher and half are lower. In this case, the median salary is $85,820.
36 high-paying social worker jobs
Social work is a highly-paid profession, with average pay reaching $60,000 per year. There are thirteen careers in social work that pay more than this amount on average. For the most up-to-date salary information, please click on the links below.
1. Medical social worker
National average salary: $66,273 per year
Medical social workers provide support to patients and their families during medical visits, in hospital settings, or at other points throughout the health care process. They evaluate mental and emotional health of patients and families, provide recommendations for improving medical outcomes, coordinate patient care, communicate patient information, and maintain detailed records of psychological assessments and treatment plans.
2. Social science researcher
National average salary: $67,028 per year
Social scientists study human behavior in individual and group social settings, design research projects, and collaborate with other researchers to develop strategies to investigate social issues. They use research budgets, questionnaires, data interpretation methods, and reports to summarize their findings on behaviors related to social work activities and communities.
3. Licensed clinical social worker
National average salary: $68,855 per year
Licensed clinical social workers are professionals who diagnose and treat individuals with behavioral, mental and emotional disorders. They work in collaboration with their patients’ medical teams to create unique treatment plans that aim to improve individual treatment outcomes. They also interview family members, health care teams, and other individuals to better understand a patient’s disorder.
4. Community service manager
National average salary: $69,600 per year
Community service managers help to coordinate and manage social services or community outreach programs. They manage organization budgets, analyze community requirements, develop activities to improve the wellness and quality of life in a community, maintain company records, complete employee performance evaluations, and communicate with community members to improve the effectiveness of their programs.
National average salary: $73,504 per year
Behavioral therapists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of mental, psychological, and behavioral disorders. They work with patients one-on-one to develop individualized treatment plans that improve patient outcomes. Therapists also serve as mediators and counselors to family members to help educate them about patient rehabilitation programs and treatment progress.
6. Development director
National average salary: $75,229 per year
Development directors are professionals who help coordinate an organization’s fundraising activities. They also manage donation programs and annual funds, plan fundraising campaigns, coordinate event activities, manage development budgets, and train fundraising team members.
7. Policy analyst
National average salary: $75,716 per year
Policy analysts who work for nonprofit organizations or social work-related companies can provide insight into legislation that might affect their organization’s operations. They also prepare new legislation and program documents in alignment with a company’s goals and mission. These professionals analyze existing policies, identify legal improvement opportunities, and collect research data to improve existing legal guidance. Policy analysts also analyze market trends and conditions to provide accurate legislation recommendations.
8. Health services administrator
National average salary: $78,627 per year
Health services administrators oversee the operations and supervision of health care teams at a clinic or hospital. They develop work schedules for physicians and employees to ensure optimal patient coverage, as well as improve patient outcomes. They also manage clinic budgets, oversee billing procedures, train new employees, and perform other duties as needed.
9. Postsecondary teacher
National average salary: $80,560 per year
Postsecondary teachers who teach social work courses provide instruction to students about foundational social work concepts. They develop program syllabi, assess student learning outcomes and grade completed work. They may also deliver instructional lectures, foster student discussions, and respond to social work-related questions.
10. Executive director
National average salary: $81,542 per year
Executive directors who support a nonprofit organization can help develop and manage company programs and activities. They coordinate fundraising activities, develop marketing strategies, and host community outreach programs in alignment with organizational goals.
Executive directors network with other organizations, local businesses, and influential community members to improve the company’s effect on its community. They may also be responsible for reporting to the company’s board of directors and developing administrative policies.
11. Director of rehabilitation
National average salary: $84,203 per year
Directors of rehabilitation services oversee therapy team members who diagnose and treat individuals with occupational, speech, or physical therapy needs. They are responsible for liaising between the community and their team members, training new employees, and maintaining optimal staffing numbers to effectively serve their community.
These professionals evaluate therapy programs and collaborate with community members to ensure that the organization’s therapeutic programs align with community demands. They might also research current rehabilitation trends and methods to improve the quality of care offered by the organization.
12. Mental health technician
National average salary: $84,572 per year
Mental health technicians provide direct care to their patients and must coordinate their treatment plan with the physician. They also provide training and counseling sessions to educate patients and families about mental health programs, treatment plans, medication administration, and other issues related to mental health.
13. Speech pathologist
National average salary: $87,994 per year
A speech pathologist helps individuals who have difficulty speaking or swallowing by evaluating their speech patterns and physical components that might affect those abilities.
Some physical therapists work with patients to help them improve their communication and swallowing abilities. They may also counsel patient families and work with other health care professionals to coordinate group programs.
14. Director of Social Work
As the director of social work at a facility, you are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the institution, admitting and discharging residents, and directing comprehensive social service programs. You meet with residents and their families to help develop a discharge plan that includes therapy services as well as other support measures. You also complete social service assessments, resolve grievances, and provide social support to residents if required.
As a team leader, you help coordinate the services and amenities necessary for residents to transition back into their community after they have been hospitalized or received care in a rehabilitation center. You also communicate with families during each resident’s stay at your center to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Facilities that may be appropriate for residents include mental health care facilities, long-term care homes, nursing homes, and hospitals.
15. Geriatric Social Worker
A geriatric social worker focuses on the welfare of elderly clients, providing assistance with such matters as finding employment, accessing health care, and coping with mental health issues. In order to prevent elder abuse from occurring, it is important for a geriatric social worker to be aware of any possible signs of abuse.
16. Psychiatric Social Worker
psychiatric social worker provides services to individuals with mental health issues, especially those in high-risk groups or who have exceptional needs. They develop comprehensive treatment plans that take into account the individual’s psychological needs, as well as teaching patients life skills that may help them lead more balanced lives.
17. Licensed Master Social Worker
A licensed master social worker is a highly specialized position within the field of social work. They focus on areas such as child protective services, case management, and social policy advocacy. Licensed master social workers typically work alongside other professionals in order to provide guidance and solutions that are equitable for all parties involved.
18. Perinatal Social Worker
As a perinatal social worker, you are responsible for providing social support to individuals and babies experiencing challenges before, during, and after pregnancy. This includes helping families who experience high-risk pregnancies, premature or sick newborns, family conflicts, legal issues, parents with mental health needs and families in poverty.
A bachelor’s degree in social work is generally required for entry into the field, but some employers may list a master’s degree as one of the minimum qualifications. Communication, problem-solving, and time-management skills are essential for success in this profession.
19. Family Life Educator
A family life educator assists families in resolving communication, decision-making, and relationship problems. The goal is to help families become more functional and stable through better communication and decision-making skills, as well as healthy relationships.
20. Social Work Supervisor
As a social work supervisor, you provide clinical support for less-experienced social workers. You oversee their work and help to promote their professional development. Most social work supervisors have various responsibilities, including managing team morale and ensuring the group meets all objectives. As such, you must be flexible and able to prioritize tasks to succeed in this role.
21. Social Work Case Manager
A social work case manager is responsible for assessing the needs of clients and creating a care plan to help them attain necessary resources. They work with other members of the assistance team to ensure that each client receives the necessary support.
22. Family Assistant
Personal assistants typically assist households with basic tasks such as housekeeping and childcare. Many assistants live with their employer, although some freelancers also work for clients.
23. Social Services Designee
A social services designee or human service assistant is an entry-level position that helps provide support for both senior staff and residents in long-term care facilities. Your duties may include managing client needs, assisting with everyday tasks, and providing support services. You can be an advocate for the individual and help them to apply for assistance programs like Medicaid.
Many social services designees find employment in family services programs with nursing facilities or within the local government.
24. Foster Care Social Worker
Social workers working with children in the foster care system typically deal with behavioral and emotional issues stemming from their past experiences. Foster care social workers work for a foster care agency, which places these kids in homes as soon as possible. This can often lead to feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, and abandonment due to the child’s past experiences.
When considering whether or not to place a child in a foster home, it is important to do extensive background checks on the prospective foster parents. This will ensure that they are able to provide a loving and caring home for the child.
You should visit the child regularly, check to see if they are being well-nourished and living in appropriate conditions, and make sure the foster parents have all of the support they need in order to keep their child. If it is discovered that the biological parents may regain custody of their children, you will also update them on current information about their children and monitor how well they are meeting any requirements set for getting them back.
25. Family Readiness Support Assistant
The FRSA is an essential link between unit commanders, families in the unit, and Army resources. They work with all parties before deployment, after deployment, and during reintegration to ensure that everything is ready for when soldiers leave for deployment and when they come back. Their responsibilities include preparing various administrative documents like newsletters, calendars, flyers, and rosters as well as maintaining files.
You promote communication and coordination between the Commander and military families by helping to schedule briefings and information workshops on soldier readiness issues.
26. Social Services Specialist
As a social services specialist, you provide support to patients and their families in order to help them live healthy and productive lives. You work with psychiatrists, other specialists, and other professionals to gather social data, develop casework plans, offer resources for high-quality care, document everything appropriately, and offer support during difficult times.
Working with potential foster and adoptive parents is one of your duties as a social services specialist.
27. Social Services Technician
As a social services technician, you work with clients to identify and obtain relevant social services. You may review their case history, help interview new clients and their families, and report any findings during these interactions to your supervisor. Your duties could include assisting patients in times of crisis, transporting them to shelters or other locations, or helping them access social programs that could benefit them.
28. Family Engagement Specialist
As a family engagement specialist, your role is to provide support and guidance to families with children who are enrolled in a disability program. You’ll work with the program staff to coordinate services and ensure that all aspects of the family’s experience are positive. Additionally, you will be responsible for coordinating parent education sessions, which should always be of high quality.
You provide support services to families who are involved in your school’s programs. This includes working with teachers and home visitors to make sure the program meets the goals and objectives of the family. You serve as a liaison between the student, home, school, and family, providing information on rules and regulations.
29. Adoption Social Worker
As an adoption social worker, your job is to provide support for the placement of children into adoptive families. You may conduct an assessment of families applying for adoption, coordinate with government organizations and adoption agencies, and provide case management services for children who are separated from their biological parents. Adoption social workers frequently travel within a general work area and often divide their hours between office visits, foster homes, potential parent homes, hospitals, schools or other locations as needed.
Many adoption social workers also help to determine whether or not a family is a good fit for each child. This can include weighing factors like financial status, previous experience with children, or the ability to address any special needs.
30. Family Support Coordinator
A family support coordinator ensures that families have access to the resources and social programs they need, in order to ensure their children’s well-being. This career may involve visiting families to assess their needs, as well as providing parent resources and coordinating with social workers, specialists, and the child’s teacher and doctor.
31. Social Service Coordinator
The social service coordinator is responsible for conducting assessments to determine eligibility for social services, such as subsidized housing, medical care, or employment assistance. They work with the department to ensure that these services are available to as many residents of the community as possible.
You are responsible for helping applicants find the resources they need, directing them to community resources, and referring them to more specialized care if needed. You also help with administrative tasks such as filling out paperwork and filing documents.
32. Social Worker Assistant
A social worker assistant typically works with clients at a health care facility or government organization. Their main job duties involve providing support and counseling to people, monitoring the client’s progress, and documenting the process. They also may be responsible for recommending alternative treatments or services. The social worker assistant position requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field, although some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.
33. Family Services Worker
As a family services worker, your primary responsibilities include managing and delivering services to children and families, usually on behalf of a city, county, or state government. You may perform assessments to determine whether or not an intervention is necessary for a particular situation.
This job requires you to make complex decisions based on limited information, and you are always supervised by a higher-level administrator. You may be required to interview people, collect medical reports, and develop a case plan to protect children.
34. Family Worker
A family worker provides intervention with parents, children, and young individuals with special needs in order to improve outcomes for families and children. This includes working closely with parents to help strengthen family relationships and their capacity to provide support and be involved in the community. You implement a program that helps parents understand their child’s needs, promoting child self-esteem development and positive behavior. You also develop group work related courses related to evidence-based parenting programs.
You are responsible for case management of several families, providing individual and group intervention as part of the family action plan. You are also expected to evaluate family progress and keep updated and organized records of your work.
35. Family Advocate
As a family advocate, you work with families to provide support and mediation in cases involving advocacy for children and minors. Your main responsibilities involve working towards the best interests of the child or minor in both legal cases and domestic disputes.
You can find family advocate positions in social work institutions that employ professionals. This role is common in assisting an adoption agency in finding foster placement for a child in their care.
36. Family Partner
A social worker provides support to families in order to help meet the behavioral, emotional, and educational goals of their children or adolescents. They work with a team to plan family wellness programs.
The qualifications for this position include an associate or bachelor’s degree, strong interpersonal skills, and experience building relationships with parents or caregivers with special needs children. You may find family partners in public, private, or non-profit organizations.
How can a social worker make a lot of money?
Typically, the highest paying social work roles are clinical. This means you’ll find yourself working for hospitals, insurance companies, or doing therapy. You should also prioritize licensure if you want to practice social work, even if you don’t want to be a therapist.3 Ways to Make More Money As A Social Worker – Tashara Robinson -tashararobinson.com › 3-ways-to-make-more-money-as-a-social-workerAbout Featured Snippets
What is the best social worker job?
Here are the top 10 social work jobs.Marriage and Family Counselor. … Medical Social Worker. … School Social Worker. … Foster Care Social Worker. … Child and Family Therapist. … Corporate Social Responsibility. Median Salary: $58,560. … Policy Analyst. Median Salary: $58,560. … Human Resources Coordinator/Specialist. Median Salary: $58,560.The 10 Best Careers in Social Work | Blogdworakpeck.usc.edu › blog › the-10-best-careers-social-workAbout Featured Snippets
How can I make 100k in social work?
HOW TO MAKE $100,000+ AS A SOCIAL WORKER – YouTubewww.youtube.com › watc · Hey y’all! In this video I’m telling you where the money resides in social work! Our profession …Duration: 7:55Posted: Jul 18, 2021
What field of social work pays the most?
Community and social services workers open_in_new, median wage in 2020:Social and human services assistants: $35,960.Rehabilitation counselors: $37,530.Substance abuse/mental health: $47,660.Health educators and community health workers: $48,140.Marriage and family therapists: $51,340.FAQ: What are the highest-paying social work jobs?www.onlinemswprograms.com › faqs › highest-paying-social-work-jobsAbout Featured Snippets