Social worker salaries can vary widely depending on several factors, including specialization, state, and qualifications. Qualifications can range from the number of years spent as a social worker, whether or not an individual has a Masters of Social Work and what types of special certifications one might hold. According to PayScale, social workers with only a bachelor’s degree earn $25,000 to $48,000 a year. New graduates can expect earnings on the lower end of that scale. A 2009 National Association of Social Workers study shows an average increase of $15,000 annually for social workers who have completed their Master of Social Work versus those who have simply completed an undergraduate degree.
Child, family and school social workers handle the needs of children and families. Social workers in this category earned an average of $3,700 per month as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Healthcare social workers provide support to individuals and families with chronic or terminal illnesses. Healthcare social workers earned approximately $4,208 per month.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers treat those with mental, emotional or addiction problems such as alcoholism or drug abuse. Mental health and substance abuse social workers earned $3,554 per month.
The highest-earning states for social work vary depending on specialty, but, in general, include Connecticut, New Jersey, California, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island.