Can I Get a High Paying Job with a Master’s Degree in Social Work?

Students pursuing a career in social work often question if they can get a high paying job with a master’s degree in social work. The answer to this question is a resounding yes. While the potential to earn high wages depends on factors like work experience and place of employment, having a master’s degree will open many doors since the highest paid positions typically go to those with a graduate degree. Continue reading to get the facts on this career.

Education Requirements for Social Workers

Individuals who have bachelor degrees in social work may find entry-level positions, but those with master degrees can find work in higher level positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some positions like clinical social workers require a master’s degree, which generally take one to two years beyond the bachelor degree level.

Bachelor degree holders may find many positions open to them, but employers are generally more inclined to hire an applicant with a master’s degree in social work or a related field. In addition to the coursework and lab courses, the social work student must also complete an internship or supervised fieldwork to obtain hands-on training in the field.

Clinical social workers with a master’s degree must also complete at least two years of supervised training to work in this area. Social workers are also required to be licensed and certified in most states. As of 2017, there were more than 200 accredited programs, according to the BLS.

Potential for High Paying Jobs with a Master’s Degree in Social Work

As of a May 2016 BLS report, social workers earned a median annual salary nationwide of about $46,890. However, different types of social workers earned different wages. Healthcare social workers earned about $53,760 while child, family and school social workers earned about $43,250.

Approximately $60,230 was earned by those categorized by the bureau as “social workers, other”. Geographic location also plays a role in earning potential. As of 2016, the states that paid the highest wages for social workers were Connecticut, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Illinois.

A March 1, 2018 report by indicates that social workers with a master’s degree earned a median yearly salary of $61,704. Those in the lowest ten percent earned about $49,968 while those in the upper 90 percent earned $74,404 or more.

Candidates with a master’s degree in social work can not only earn a high wage but also have a much higher earning potential then one with a bachelor’s degree. HumanServicesEdu reports that just going from a bachelor degree to a master’s degree can increase their earnings by at least 25 percent.

Possible Job Titles for Those With a Master’s Degree in Social Work

Social workers with a master’s degree not only have the potential to earn high wages but also have many positions from which to choose. Here are some possibilities.

• Licensed Clinical Social Worker

• Healthcare Social Worker

• Social Service Permanency Worker

• Social Work Administrator

• Child Welfare Case Manager

• Non-profit Director

• Social and Community Service Manager

• School Social Worker

• Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs

Social workers with master’s degree not only have many more career opportunities available to them than those with a baccalaureate degree but typically earn higher wages. It’s not only possible but probable to get a high paying job with a master’s degree in social work.