The median annual social worker salary is about $48,000. This is about $23 per hour. This falls right in the range of the middle 50% of social workers employed today. That range of salaries is recorded to be between $42,000 and $54,000 (between $21 and $26 per hour). Those working in the top 10th percentile can expect an even higher salary: about $28 or higher per work. This adds up to at least $59,000. The average annual income for someone working in the lowest 10th percentile, however, is a bit smaller. Only about $38,300 should be expected for these positions. That’s also equivalent to $18 or less per hour.
Many factors help to determine the annual income of a social worker. Education and experience play a role in just about every professional industry. Location, job type, and certification can all help or hinder the average income of a social worker. Metropolitan areas tend to pay higher salaries. Furthermore, the better certifications obtained by a social worker, the higher an income they are likely to expect. Certification goes hand in hand with education.
The average total compensation package for a social worker after benefits is about $70,000. Paid benefits may include health care, paid time off, social security, and pension, among others.
Job Description of a Social Worker
Social workers work with people who have experienced a crisis and need some help. Providing support and acting as a friend can be instrumental in getting these people back on their feet. Some people social workers are likely to work with include young offenders, drug and alcohol abusers, school drop-outs, people with mental health conditions or with learning and physical disabilities, the homeless, and the elderly.
Some tasks a social worker may be required to perform on a daily basis include assessing their clients and conducting interviews with their families and friends, offering counseling support, giving advice and recommending the best courses of action for various situations that may arise, preparing reports for legal action, and giving evidence in court.
How to become a Social Worker
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There are some job opportunities available for social workers who have only obtained a bachelor’s degree. However, opportunities certainly arise after the extra education and training needed to receive a master’s degree. Some specialty social workers, such as clinical social workers, are required to have a master’s degree.
Most states also require social workers to be licensed. All states, however, require clinical social workers to be licensed in their field. The licensure exam can be completed after graduating with a proper degree in social work.
Social Worker Salary in Other Countries (Canada, UK and Australia)
Social workers employed in other first world countries receive roughly the same benefits and salaries as those working in the United States. Australian social workers make on average about AU$55,000 every year. Canadian social workers receive nearly the same: about C$50,000 on average.
Social workers employed in the United Kingdom should receive an average annual income that is about the same. £29,000 is earned annually on average by social workers in the U.K. This salary is equal to about $46,000 in the United States.
Verdict on Social Worker Salary
A career in social work can be rewarding, but also dangerous. Social workers often tend to young teenagers who are deep in trouble or child abuse cases that have gone awry. The salary for a social worker can sometimes ease the pain of dealing with people with such traumatic and sad stories, but work will most likely come home on a regular basis anyway. It is a lucrative career, but only a person with the proper skills to handle such situations should even think about becoming a social worker.