Social workers often benefit from advanced education. Masters of Social Work (MSW) and Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degrees can help guarantee competitive earnings and job stability. Though you can work in many states as a case worker with a bachelor's degree, a look at current salaries for social workers with master's degrees can help you make education decisions that can qualify you for a higher salary.
Salary Range for Social Workers With MSW Degrees
According to Online MSW Programs (onlinemswprograms.org), an MSW degree is worth $34,000 to $65,000 annually. Where you fall in that range will depend on experience, location and specific employers, such as hospitals versus community outreach centers in struggling neighborhoods. The best paying jobs tend to go to graduates of Fordham, Columbia, Rutgers or Michigan University, according to Online MSW Programs.
Salary Range for Social Workers With an MPA Degree
An MPA degree can earn you approximately $84,000 per year. The typical position for this salary would be a director of a prominent nonprofit organization. The federal government also employs MPAs at about this salary, depending on years of experience.
How Specialty Affects Salary
According to All Psychology Schools (allpsychologyschools.com), substance abuse counselors tend to make the lowest salaries ($38,000). Marriage and Family Therapists are next to the lowest ($45,000), and above this profession is Psychotherapy Social Worker ($47,000). Medical Social Workers and Child Welfare Social Workers make up the next two salary levels ($55,000 and $57,000), while School Social Workers and Medical Clinical Social Workers occupy the two highest levels of the salary range ($58,000 and $59,000).
Online Degrees Can Improve Salary
If you already work as a case worker with a bachelor's degree, you can increase your salary by completing online programs to get your MSW or MPA. Online degrees from respected institutions such as the University of Southern California, the University of New England and Capella University can boost your earnings into the $64,000 to $84,000 range.
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.