Social Worker Salary: Is It Worth the Student Debt?

Social staff advocate for purchasers who’re coping with a wide range of issues together with abuse, addictions, psychological sickness, terminal sickness and extra.

Their companies are in excessive demand proper now as extra staff are wanted to fulfill the rising necessities of youngsters, households, colleges, healthcare programs and different areas of society.

However being in demand doesn’t all the time line up with a wage that’s price your time, vitality and schooling. Social staff have the potential to make practically six figures in some segments of the profession subject. However in addition they have the potential for increase six figures of scholar mortgage debt.

Right here’s a more in-depth take a look at present social employee salaries, together with breakdowns primarily based on location and schooling stage.

Necessities to develop into a social employee

For entry-level social employee jobs, you’ll want a minimal of a bachelor’s diploma in social work (BSW). Nevertheless, levels in associated fields equivalent to psychology or sociology could suffice simply as properly.

Scientific social work positions require a grasp’s diploma in social work (MSW). Usually, incomes an MSW requires two extra years of college, together with an internship or practicum.

Nonclinical social staff usually have the identical state license requirement as Licensed Scientific Social Employees (LCSWs). Getting a license sometimes requires a minimal of two years of supervised medical expertise and passing a medical examination.

Social employee salaries

The median annual wage for all social staff, as of Could 2020, was $57,760, in line with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s practically an identical to the median revenue for all occupations which was $51,168 within the first quarter of 2021.

However median annual wage numbers fluctuate by social employee specialty as proven beneath.

  • Healthcare social staff: $57,630
  • Psychological well being and substance abuse social staff: $48,720
  • Baby, household, and faculty social staff: $48,430

Inside these total classes, these had been the 4 high industries for social staff and their median salaries as of Could 2020:

  • Native authorities: $57,660
  • Ambulatory healthcare companies: 52,850
  • State authorities: $49,860
  • Particular person and household companies: $43,820

Pupil Mortgage Planner® has labored with social employee purchasers whose salaries have ranged from $25,000 to $90,000.

Salaries primarily based on location

The median wage numbers proven above embody all states and the District of Columbia. But it surely’s vital to notice that your social employee wage might be greater or decrease relying on the place you reside and work.

Some areas of the nation pay greater wages, possible as a result of the next price of residing. Right here’s a take a look at the highest 5 paying states for social staff in line with the most recent BLS information:

  • Hawaii: $85,740
  • Massachusetts: $85,540
  • Nevada: $82,410
  • Rhode Island: $79,720
  • Virginia: $77,060

As you possibly can see, common salaries fluctuate significantly, even with the identical job title, an MSW diploma, and a medical license. And even inside these states, you’re prone to earn extra in huge cities than you’ll in rural areas.

Social employee salaries primarily based on schooling stage

There’s additionally a wage discrepancy throughout the social work subject primarily based on the best diploma stage acquired. A survey of 2017 social work graduates, commissioned by the Nationwide Affiliation of Social Employees (NASW), discovered that graduates with an MSW earned over $13,000 extra yearly than their friends with a BSW. The numbers soar even greater if you embody social staff with a doctorate or a Ph.D.

Social employee wage primarily based on diploma

Diploma Stage

Common Wage

Bachelor’s of Social Work


Grasp’s of Social Work


Doctorate of Social Work




Whereas there are alternatives inside social work for folks with solely a BSW, your possibilities of incomes the next wage enhance significantly by pursuing an MSW or higher-level diploma.

Social employee scholar mortgage debt

Working towards a level in social work usually results in vital scholar mortgage debt. The 2019 Council on Social Work Schooling (CSWE) Annual Survey of Social Work Applications reveals that the typical scholar mortgage debt for baccalaureate graduates was $29,323. And grasp’s graduates averaged $46,591 of scholar mortgage debt. Listed below are the present resident tuition and charges for 3 common MSW packages:

  • College of Michigan: $31,114
  • College of Washington: $42,206
  • Columbia College: $52,580

It’s clear that prices can fluctuate extensively by faculty. And remember the fact that these examples solely account for tuition and charges for one yr. They don’t account for the second yr required for MSW packages. Additionally, the comparability doesn’t present all the different bills that include attending faculty, together with:

  • Books and provides
  • Room and board (or hire)
  • Meals
  • Transportation prices
  • Private bills

And don’t overlook so as to add in any scholar mortgage debt amassed from undergrad research. Relying on the school or college you graduate from, you can depart faculty with six-figure scholar mortgage debt.

Mortgage compensation methods for social staff

Social staff have a number of compensation choices out there for paying off scholar mortgage debt. Decisions embody scholar mortgage forgiveness packages, income-driven compensation plans and refinancing.

Social staff and scholar mortgage forgiveness

Many social staff with federal scholar loans will qualify for Public Service Mortgage Forgiveness (PSLF). And selecting this path forgives any leftover debt after 10 years if you happen to meet {qualifications}. Plus, you’ll have decrease funds all alongside the best way because you’ll be required to affix an income-driven compensation plan.

However to be eligible for PSLF, debtors should make 120 qualifying month-to-month funds whereas working full time for a professional employer. Eligible employers embody authorities and choose nonprofit jobs. And one other perk of PSLF is that the forgiven debt will not be taxable.

There are different mortgage forgiveness packages out there for social staff as properly. Every program has its personal necessities. Choices embody:

  • Nationwide Well being Providers Corps Mortgage Compensation Program
  • Indian Well being Service Mortgage Compensation Program
  • Perkins Loans Cancellation and Discharge
  • State scholar mortgage forgiveness packages

Take a look at our Social Employees Pupil Mortgage Forgiveness Information 2020 for extra data on every of those packages.

Social staff with non-public scholar loans

Non-public scholar loans are a good way to fill within the gaps when federal monetary support doesn’t cowl all your schooling prices. If in case you have non-public loans, you possibly can select to refinance your social employee loans if you happen to can rating a decrease rate of interest. Having a decrease charge may lower hundreds of {dollars} off your scholar mortgage invoice by paying much less curiosity over the lifetime of your mortgage.

Non-public mortgage charges are credit-based, which means you must meet sure credit score necessities to qualify for refinancing and get authorized for a decrease charge. And if you happen to don’t have good credit score, most non-public lenders provide you with an possibility to make use of a cosigner to qualify. In the event you determine to refinance your loans, we work with lenders that provide cash-back bonuses as much as $1,275.

Common social employee wage vs. scholar debt

Social staff don’t should be overburdened by scholar mortgage debt. When you will have a stable compensation plan in place, you possibly can sort out that burden and alleviate stress over the debt. However if you happen to don’t know the most effective technique for paying off your social employee scholar loans, allow us to assist.

E book a session with certainly one of our scholar mortgage specialists. We’ll work alongside you to design the most effective technique to avoid wasting you cash, relieve monetary nervousness and depart room on your different life objectives.

Refinance scholar loans, get a bonus in 2021

1 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS1 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.1
VISIT LAUREL ROAD Variable 1.64-5.65percent1 Mounted 2.25-5.75percent1

2 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS2 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.2
VISIT COMMONBOND Variable 2.49-6.84%%2 Mounted 2.59-6.74percent2

3 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS3  For 100k or extra. $200 for 50k to $99,9993
VISIT EARNEST Variable 1.88-5.64percent3 Mounted 2.44-5.79percent3

4 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS4 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.4
VISIT SPLASH Variable 1.88-6.15percent4 Mounted 2.44-6.62percent4

5 Disclosures
$1,275 BONUS5  For 150k+. Tiered 300 to 575 bonus for 50k to 149k.5
VISIT ELFI Variable 2.39-6.01percent5 Mounted 2.47-5.99percent5

6 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS6 For $100k or extra. $200 for $50k to $99,9996
VISIT SOFI Variable 2.25-6.59percent6 Mounted 2.49-6.94percent6

7 Disclosures
$1,250 BONUS7  $350 for 50k to 100k7
VISIT CREDIBLE Variable 1.80-8.90percent7 Mounted 2.15-9.15percent7

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