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Career Guide: Social Worker

Career Guide: Social Worker

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job prospects. Job prospects are generally expected to be favorable. Many job openings will stem from growth and the need to replace social workers who leave the occupation. However, competition for social worker jobs is expected in cities, where training programs for social workers are prevalent. Opportunities should be good in rural areas, which often find it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff. By specialty, job prospects may be best for those social workers with a background in gerontology and substance abuse treatment.

Earnings

More on Social Work


Salary: $32,590 - $48,420
Min. Education: Master's
Related Careers: Psychologist, Rehabilitation Counselor

Median annual earnings of child, family, and school social workers were $37,480 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,590 and $49,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,480, and the top 10 percent earned more than $62,530. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of child, family, and school social workers in May 2006 were:

Elementary and secondary schools – $48,360
Local government – 43,500
State government – 39,000
Individual and family services – 32,680
Other residential care facilities – 32,590

Median annual earnings of medical and public health social workers were $43,040 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,110 and $53,740. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $64,070. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and public health social workers in May 2006 were:

General medical and surgical hospitals -$48,420
Home health care services – 44,470
Local government – 41,590
Nursing care facilities – 38,550
Individual and family services – 35,510

Median annual earnings of mental health and substance abuse social workers were $35,410 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,940 and $45,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,490, and the top 10 percent earned more than $57,630. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of mental health and substance abuse social workers in May 2006 were:

Local government – $39,550
Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals – 39,240
Individual and family services – 34,920
Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities – 30,590
Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers – 34,290

Median annual earnings of social workers, all other were $43,580 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,530 and $56,420. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,540, and the top 10 percent earned more than $68,500. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of social workers, all other in May 2006 were:

Local government – $46,330
State government – $45,070
Individual and family services – $35,150

About 20 percent of social workers are members of a union. Many belong to the union that represents workers in other occupations at their place of employment.

Find out more about becoming a geriatric social worker!


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