Masters In Social Work Degree 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 salary can I expect with an MSW degree?”

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 Salary Reports

A cursory glance at the career of a social worker can expect median salary of $46,890 with the highest 10% earning $78,510, according to This is a huge difference. This is likely due to the difference between being a social worker and a clinical social worker. Clinical Social Workers must have an MSW, 2 or more years of experience in a clinical setting, and obtain a license to practice in their state. Also keep in mind that the higher earnings levels can depend on certain locations, positions, and work environments.

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

Overall, social workers and even clinical social workers earn less than the average of other careers with similar degrees. That said, the field of social work is expected to grow 16% over the next ten years (, much faster than the national average for all occupations.

Online 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.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota — At the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, 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.

Our Lady of the Lake University — Our Lady of the Lake is a private, Catholic college located near San Antonio and is one of the few colleges offering an online program for a Master of Social Work degree. This program focuses on social services leadership and advance direct practice with an emphasis on service to Hispanic families and communities.

Winthrop University — The MPH in Social & Behavioral Sciences from Capella University features a dynamic public health curriculum. Graduates are prepared for positions in social work, public health or social welfare organizations. A MS in Social & Community Services furthers your ability to influence positive change in your community.

Widener University — The Widener University MSW and MM in Public Administration programs graduate students that excel in the exciting career of social work. These programs offer the opportunity to expand your career path and capabilities by giving you the skills required for jobs in government, nonprofit, and business.

George Mason University — The Master of Social Work program from George Mason University focuses on the private and public sectors in addition to the public sector usually covered by other MSW programs. While students interested in social work will learn the administrative and organizational skills needed for their career, this broad focus can help improve their versatility and even job prospects.

Sacred Heart University — The Master of Social Work program from Sacred Heart University graduates individuals that can have many options in the in social work, public administration, and human services fields. The curriculum focuses on both ethical leadership and social responsibility.

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

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