Masters In Social Work Degree Holder Average Salaries

What is an MSW Degree?

As the National Association of Social Workers of the United States of America says, the job of a social worker is to help people deal with situations in not only how they feel, but also in what they can do to improve their circumstances. Working in the field of social work means that you are working to improve the lives of individual, families, and even entire communities. While this is very noble and rewarding work, we all have to make a living, so an important question in your mind might be, “What is an MSW’s average salary?”

As you know, an MSW degree holder has responsibilities pertaining to the social work arena, and the skill-set of an MSW degree holder entitles him or her to a certain average salary.

Expectations vs. Reality

First, you have to acknowledge that the demand for social workers is heavily dependent on the political climate of the day, and that a glut can often arise. Therefore the amount of money you, as an MSW degree holder, will make, depends on the policies of the government of the day, as well as the kind of qualifications you have.

So while entry-level social work requires only a bachelor’s degree in social work, more advanced work will require a masters-level degree. This does not, however, entitle you to an exponentially higher level of earnings. Your salary will still depend on many other factors. Therefore, while your MSW will entitle you to work in therapeutic positions, as well as help shape policy in your department, the work you do will often have little to do with your qualifications, and more to do with the need of the moment.

MSW Average Salary Reports

There are websites on the Internet as well as official government statistics that report how much you can earn. A cursory glance at these sources reveals that an MSW degree holder can expect to earn an average of anywhere from $34,000 to $65,000 as of September 2010. This is a huge difference. To understand this, remember that the higher earnings levels are associated with certain areas, and positions, and that the highest salaries go to graduates of such institutions as Fordham, Columbia, Rutgers, or Michigan University. On the high end a director of a non-profit can potentially pull in about $84,000 per year. Keep this in mind: New York, and more Democratic (i.e. ‘blue’) states pay more for social workers with excellent qualifications.

So What Can I Expect to Earn as an MSW Degree Holder?

First, the bad news: a social worker will always earn less than an investment banker or a high-flying attorney. On the other hand however, a massive part of the appeal of being a social worker is that it satisfies your striving toward civil ideals such as citizenship and self-sacrifice. There is no price that can be put on this kind of service. With that in mind, the Obama administration’s recent work in social work and healthcare reform means that the social work budget is expected to increase by about 15 percent over the next eight years. Most of this increase is attributable to increases in healthcare spending – therefore focus your attention on that field and on hospitals with a large public service commitment.

Most Popular MSW and MPA Degrees

Completing your Master's in social work or public administration can be very rewarding for getting ahead in the social work field. Online Master's degrees are perfect for working professionals or people with families to complete course work at their own convenience. Please see our colleges below that offer online class for MSW degrees.

Walden University — The Walden University Master of Social Work provides the chance to gain real world experience as a social worker. These experiences can be gained from a community agency, a healthcare setting, an educational agency, or a social services agency. Walden also offers several specializations for an MSW degree, like Military Social Work, as well as DSW programs.

Kaplan University — The BS in Human Services at Kaplan University offers a curriculum whose classes will help you create a positive effect on social and ethical issues. Through interactions with staff, faculty, and your peers, the degree will prepare you for careers in social work, public administration, and public management.

University of Southern California — To become a successful social worker, one need look no further than the University of Southern California Master of Social Work program. The curriculum will both develop your leadership skills and enable you to influence the world around you for the betterment of your local and global community.

University of New England — At the University of New England School of Social Work, students in the Master's program have a variety of concentrations in both individual, family, and group practice and organizational and community practice. The school is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Click here to learn about more Master of Social Work colleges.

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