Social Worker


October 30, 2016

Health, Jobs

Social Worker Job Description

The main distinction in the field of social work is between direct care workers and clinical social workers. Direct care workers provide daily support to their clients. This work can be done in a hospital, school, drop-in center, or even home environment. They help their clients with problem-solving, emotional responses to challenging situations, and difficult life transitions. Clinical social workers typically diagnose and treat client’s issues. Licensed clinical social workers may carry out the treatment themselves, but often they develop a plan with the client’s doctor and other healthcare workers to provide comprehensive treatment for the behavioral, emotional, or mental issues they’ve identified in the client.

Social Worker Salary Statistics for 2010

Social work is often reported to be a very rewarding field, however the pay is not particularly lucrative. Depending on the area of specialization, social workers can earn between $35,000 and $54,000 annually. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers administering individual and family services tend to make the least money, while those employed in schools and hospitals tend to make significantly more.

Social Worker Salary Statistics as of 2015

Median annual salary for a Social Worker is $44,050 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest salary recorded was $60,124. The lowest salary reported was $27,976. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Median hourly wage for a Social Worker is $18 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest hourly wage recorded was $23. The lowest hourly wage recorded was $13. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Bonuses for Social Worker is based on the years of experience and statistics collected in the U.S. as of 2015. The biggest bonus recorded was $1978 from someone with 15+ years of experience. The smallest bonus recorded was $190 from someone with under 1 year of experience.

These are the top 5 highest paying states for a Social Worker. These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
1. California – $30,991 – $67,952
2. Texas – $29,882 – $64,209
3. Ohio – $26,100 – $57,104
4. New York – $31,155 – $62,421
5. North Carolina – $29,532 – $54,014

These are the top 5 highest paying cities for a Social Worker. These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
1. New York, New York – $33,512 – $63,975
2. Chicago, Illinois – $25,177 – $60,322
3. Atlanta, Georgia – $27,321 – $67,023
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $31,787 – $66,523
5. Houston, Texas – $32,662 – $65,984

This chart outlines the average annual salary of a Social Worker from the past 5 years. In 2015 the average annual salary was $39,500 while in 2008 it was just $38,000.

Specialized Fields of Social Work

  • Child and Family: These direct care workers specialize in working with children and families to locate and secure government resources and services, as well as provide family counseling in situations of trauma. Child and Family social workers are also instrumental in situations of adoption and foster care placement.
  • School Social Workers: Both direct care social workers and licensed clinical social workers are found in school settings. They work with parents, teachers, and administrators to develop behavioral plans for students, and are also on hand to address mental or emotional issues experienced by the student body. School social workers are also involved in cases of absenteeism, bullying, or self-destructive behavior.
  • Healthcare Social Workers: Healthcare social workers assist patients with understanding their diagnoses and helping them transition during or after their illness. They can help patients locate and secure services for transitional housing or funding for medication or surgery. These social workers may also assist with family counseling during times of illness related stress or grief.
  • Gerontology: A specialized branch of Healthcare based social work, this field is focused on providing care to the elderly and their families. They help locate information and services for patients transitioning to assisted living facilities, and can also help patients who plan to remain living at home manage their new regimen of medication.
  • Hospice and Palliative Care: In this setting, social workers assist the terminally ill with pain, grief, and coping with the implications of a family member with a terminal illness. They can help locate grief counselors or provide direct care services themselves in the hospice setting.
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Social workers in this field help clients cope with addictions and mental illness. They provide direct care to help clients manage their mental issues and direct clients towards counseling programs specifically geared towards managing addiction.

Work Environment

Social Workers tend to work full-time schedules between 40-50 hours a week. They typically encounter a range of tasks during their week, from direct interaction with clients and families to processing paperwork. It is not uncommon for social workers to work in the evenings or go on site visits to check in on their clients. It is rare for a social worker to simply stay in one office all day; much of their time is spent in the community where they work, be it a hospital, school, mental health clinic, or military base. While the work of a social workers is never boring, some in this field report stressful work environments due to large caseloads.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, this field is supposed to grow by approximately 25 percent by 2020. The greatest area of growth is Healthcare, with a nearly 34 percent growth in jobs predicted.

How To Become a Social Worker

Depending on the area of specialization, social workers may require graduate degrees and additional certification.

 Direct Care  Clinical Social Worker
  • Required: Four-year degree in social work (BSW) or related field.
  • Optional: Volunteer or work experience in a care-giving field.
  • Required: Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)
  • Optional: State Licensure, which typically requires two full years on employment.

Gender Statistics

Social Worker Health Benefits



Based on our stats gathered across the U.S. 15% of Social Workers were females while 85% were males. These numbers are based on averages across all states combined. Some individual states may have a much different ratio however.
Health: 81%
Dental: 66%

Eye: 49%
None: 17%

Social Worker Jobs




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