Every state in the union needs social workers, but not all states pay equally. There are many reasons for the variations in compensation, such as geography and the type of workplace where social workers are employed. Social workers pursue this career because of their desire to help others and play an active role in their community, not because of the monetary benefits. But the reality is social workers need to make a living too.
Those who earn a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) earn $15,000 more annually and there are many federal and state programs that can forgive social workers’ loans after 10 years of service. So it’s certainly possible to earn a decent salary as a social worker, especially if you live in the below states.
Social workers who help children, families and schools in Connecticut make the highest salaries in the nation, averaging $61,690. Medical & public health social workers in Connecticut come in second only to Nevada, and earn $61,290. And in mental health and substance abuse, Connecticut social workers come in third, earning $50,560. Social workers in Connecticut must earn a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited school of social work in order to obtain a license.
Social workers salaries in New Jersey average between $52,010 and $59,000 a year. While it isn’t as glamorous as New York (which nearly made this list as well), the cost of living is significantly lower. If the Big Apple attracts you, you might consider settling in New Jersey, where a higher salary and lower expenses will save you more than enough to enjoy the City on weekends and vacations. You can begin your social work career in New Jersey with a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution, but earning your license requires a master’s degree. And because an MSW brings with it an average $15,000 salary increase, it will be well worth your time and energy.
In Rhode Island the average social worker earning from $52,100 to $56,950, depending on the type of work. Though not quite as generous as Connecticut, you can still make a good living as a social worker in Rhode Island. However, Rhode Island does require all licensed social workers to hold a master’s from a CSWE-accredited school of social work.
Social workers in Maryland average between $49,600 and $58,590 a year. As is the case in many states, you can begin your career in Maryland with a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution but licensure requires a master’s degree — which pleasantly also brings with it an average $15,000 salary increase.
Social workers in California do particularly well in the medical and public health field, averaging $57,890 a year in salary. Even in mental health and substance abuse, the average social worker salary is $46,340, which is well above the national average. You will need a master’s degree to begin your career as a social worker in California