Explore the highest paying social work jobs in today’s market and what types of degrees it will take to start your career.
The prototypical social worker provides counseling for the social and psychological well-being of a variety of clients: children, adults, families, single parents and couples.
Most people think the phrase “highest paying social work jobs” is an oxymoron, but the truth is, social workers can make decent salaries. In fact, after a few years of experience, social work is comparable to many other well-respected professions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work is a very fast growing field with almost 20 percent employment growth over the next decade. If you are interested in working with children, individuals and families, check out our list of the highest paying social work jobs to see if you can find a career that pays what you want it to pay.
The prototypical social worker provides counseling for the social and psychological well-being of a variety of clients: children, adults, families, single parents and couples. The median annual salary of a social worker is about $40,000 according to the BLS.
Social workers minimally need a bachelor’s degree to work, but many possess a master’s degree as well. Tuition for a master’s degree in social work averages at about $14,000 a year for public institutions and about $36,000 per year at a private one.
School counselors work with students in elementary, middle and high schools to promote mental health and well-being. They may also help students with certain social and developmental needs receive proper educational care.
Salary depends on the type of school and age range of students you work with, but median annual salary is about $53,000. Here again, a master’s degree is typically necessary to secure a school counselor job.
Speech pathologists diagnose speech disorders and then create individualized plans to improve communication in the individual. Pathologists sometimes work with people with developmental disabilities or those who have had a stroke or other brain injury.
Speech pathologists have a higher median annual income of about $67,000, but must go through more training. A master’s degree is the minimum for employment, and must pass a national licensing examination, have supervised clinical experience and almost a year of professional postgraduate experience.
Social Work Teachers
Social work teacher positions have a mean annual wage of about $71,000 according to the BLS, making them the highest paying social work jobs in the country. Social work teachers teach courses in social work to those who aspire to gain employment in the social work profession.
These jobs require a lot of training. A master’s degree is the minimal graduate degree for employment, but since social work teachers are really professors; many candidates will hold a doctorate in the field.
Healthcare Social Workers
Healthcare social workers specialize in offering both individuals and groups with the social and psychological support to cope with illness and disease, whether chronic or acute.
Healthcare social workers have an average annual wage of about $51,000. This is a specialization of social work, so while you only technically need a bachelor’s degree to compete, a master’s degree does help.