Top 10 Highest Paying Social Work Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Stephen Ramotowski
March 20, 2024 · 12 min read

In this article, we'll explore all the vital information about the highest-paying social work jobs, including their job descriptions, salary information, and educational requirements. Keep on reading to know more!

Known as the helping profession, social work is a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. It provides the best opportunity to improve people's lives, which can ultimately change the world at a systemic level.

But of course, having the power to change the world from the inside out is not the only reason social work jobs are highly sought after.

A projected growth of 7% in overall employment shows an increasing need for social workers, promising a bright future for anyone interested in joining the industry.

More than that, the social work field also offers attractive salary packages and compensation. While the pay for social workers may vary depending on the employee's educational level, subfield, and type of industry, the median wage ($24/ hour) is still considered higher than most occupations.

If you're passionate about helping others and making a difference in this world while also improving your life, here are the highest paying jobs in social work that you should check out.

Top 10 Highest Paying Social Work Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. Clinical Social Worker

Clinical social workers are known to provide support to people who are experience challenging life circumstances, like a divorce, lack of employment, diagnosis of an illness, and many more.

Also known as mental health and substance abuse social workers, they are also skilled and qualified to deliver mental health services.

These include diagnosing and treating people with different mental, behavioral, and emotional issues and problems.

They are also in charge of developing treatment and prevention plans. They assess clients and collaborate with their friends, families, and medical providers to create a well-rounded approach to treatment and therapies.

With their unique abilities and credentials, clinical social workers are employed in various settings (schools, mental health facilities, human services, agencies, etc. They may even have the authority to put up their private practice.

On top of that, they can also specialize in any of the following areas:

  • Child welfare,

  • Community,

  • Families,

  • Trauma,

  • Hospice and Nursing Care,

  • Mental Health,

  • Substance Abuse,

  • Disabilities and many more.

Educational Requirements

Getting the highest-paying social work job involves a combination of education, experience, and licensure.

The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work or psychology.

After that, clinical social workers must earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and complete at least 900 hours of supervised experience in a clinical setting.

The last step to working as a clinical social worker is to secure licensure by passing the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination.

If you plan to put up your practice, an online MBA program will provide you with the business know-how and management skills you need.

Earning Potential

According to Glassdoor, a licensed clinical social worker earns an annual median wage is around USD 91,200, making it the best paying social work job in 2024.

2. Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

CSR managers play an essential role in maintaining ethical and sustainable business practices. They are key players in upholding the company's reputation while also creating a positive social impact and gaining the trust of both stakeholders and consumers.

He leads the department of corporate social workers in charge of developing and implementing CSR strategies, ensuring that the company operations and policies are carried out with the welfare of society and the environment in mind.

In addition to that, they are also responsible for identifying any potential social and environmental risks and coming up with strategies to minimize or eliminate such risks.

Educational Requirements

Earning a bachelor's degree in business, social science, or environmental science is your key to becoming a CSR manager.

On the other hand, a master's in business administration (MBA) degree with a specialization in sustainability, relevant experience working in an entry-level CSR role, and developing essential skills will increase your chances of landing a managerial role.

Earning Potential

The estimated total pay for CSR Managers is about USD 91,000 per year.

They also have the chance to receive a yearly cash bonus of USD 7,800.

3. Social Science Researcher

This type of researcher formulates strategies for investigating social issues and observing the impact of various social work activities on human behavior.

With social work research, these professionals can evaluate the effectiveness and identify the much-needed improvements in current social work services.

Educational Requirement

The minimal requirement for entering the research field in social work is a Ph.D. since this program involves all the skills and knowledge you need to conduct your research.

You also need at least three years of experience working as an assistant researcher and a few specialized certifications to demonstrate your expertise.

Earning Potential

The salary projection for social science researchers is around USD 82,200 per year. Additionally, they may also receive an annual cash bonus of USD 4,400.

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4. Geriatric Social Worker

Also called gerontological social workers, they typically work with the elderly to ensure they receive the physical, emotional, and mental support they need to navigate the challenges they encounter due to aging.

They act as the link between their clients and their care team. They are responsible for helping their clients find and connect to different services like medical care, housing assistance, food resources, and many more.

Educational Requirements

The primary credential to getting a social work in geriatrics is state licensure. To obtain this, here are the requirements you need to fulfill:

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited school,

At least two years of supervised work experience,

Passing the social work examination conducted by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB),

and social work certifications, like Social Worker in Gerontology (SW-G) and Advanced Social Worker in Gerontology (ASW-G).

Earning Potential

Geriatric social workers earn an average salary of USD 81,600 every year.

On top of that, they may also receive an estimated cash bonus of USD 4, 400.

5. Medical Social Worker

Also known as healthcare social workers, medical social workers help their clients and families navigate and manage the physical, financial, and emotional challenges of a medical diagnosis or chronic illness.

During the intake screening, they comprehensively assess the patient's needs.

Afterward, they provide emotional and mental counseling and information about financing options and health insurance coverage.

Before the discharge process, they also connect clients to the resources they need to manage their illness, including medical assistance, home healthcare services, and other social service providers.

Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirement to enter the healthcare social work industry is a Master of Social Work degree.

In addition to an advanced degree, you must complete about 3,000 hours of supervised training and successfully pass the exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards to get licensed.

While it isn’t required, getting the Certified Social Worker in Health Care (C-SWHC) certification is highly recommended.

Earning Potential

Medical social workers make an annual median wage of USD 79,900 and an opportunity to earn estimated yearly cash bonuses of USD 4,000.

6. Social Work Program Director

Social services directors are responsible for identifying the community’s social problems and planning, directing, and coordinating the social service programs that can help address such needs,

As directors, they take on administrative roles, including developing and implementing administrative protocols, supervising and leading the social work staff, and establishing and managing the department's budget.

Educational Requirements

The minimum requirement to getting the director role is a masters in social work degree. You may also need to secure your state license and gain field experience.

On top of that, you also need to obtain specialized certifications as a Licensed Master Social Worker provided by the ASWB.

Since this position puts you in a leadership and management role, getting an MBA degree can also benefit your career.

Earning Potential

The average yearly salary of a social work program director is USD 78,900.

This position may also have an estimated cash bonus of USD 4,800.

7. Child, Family, and School Social Worker

Social workers in the family sector assist families and children dealing with a specialized need, like poor living conditions, medical issues, or potential abuse and neglect.

Their primary responsibility is to work with children to ensure their wellbeing. At the same time, they provide the family with the necessary assistance and resources to keep him safe, fed and cared for.

In addition to finding and arranging the required support services, they lead group counseling sessions to provide emotional and mental support.

Moreover, they are also in charge of facilitating house arrangements or foster care for the child if necessary.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's or masters in social work is what you need to get into the industry. An undergraduate degree will prepare you for general casework. At the same time, a master's will give you the edge you need to specialize in your chosen area.

After that, you must obtain licensure by completing 2 to 3 years of supervised work experience and passing the necessary examinations.

Lastly, you must obtain specialty certifications from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Earning Potential

A school social worker may earn an average annual salary of around USD 74,900.

Depending on the pay structure, they may also receive an estimated additional pay of USD 3,400 in the form of cash bonuses.

8. Social Work Case Manager

Case managers act as their clients’ care coordinators. Their main goal is to evaluate their client's needs and identify and help them gain access to the type of services they need.

They are also responsible for creating a care plan tailored to their needs, evaluating its effectiveness, and making the necessary adjustments.

It's important to note that case management is different than social work. Case management is mainly about delivering the necessary services and doesn't usually involve counseling and other social work tasks.

Educational Requirements

The stepping stone to landing this position is completing an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Since this is a managerial position, most employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in social work.

The next step is to gain experience in case management by completing a supervised internship or obtaining years of experience in entry-level social work or social service jobs.

Since most employers require their case managers to be certified, you must pass the Certified Case Manager (CCM) examination.

Earning Potential

Glassdoor states that the median wage of a social work case manager may amount to USD 72,200 per year.

On top of that, he may also receive an additional pay of USD 4,000.

9. Social Policy Analyst

Social Policy Analysts are responsible for ensuring that the current policies designed to fight, minimize, or eliminate poverty, hunger, and other socioeconomic problems are being implemented and working as intended.

After investigating the social issues, they use their research findings to modify or provide valuable insights for formulating new policies.

Educational Requirements

Start your career in social policy analysis with a bachelor’s degree in sociology or social work followed by a master’s in public administration, public policy, or international affairs.

After securing your educational requirements, you must gain relevant work experience and pursue certifications that can build your skillset. These may include Public Policy Analysis, Policy Strategy certifications, or the Policy Analysis Certificate Program.

Earning Potential

The median annual salary for social workers in this sector is around USD 63,000.

10. Community Development Specialist

The primary responsibility of a community development specialist is to manage and coordinate city government housing programs and community development initiatives.

They are in charge of providing home buyers with affordable housing programs and building shelter plans for the homeless.

Educational Requirements

Getting an undergraduate degree in social sciences is the first step to entering this industry. After that, it's recommended that you secure a master's degree, preferably in social work or economics.

Lastly, you must spend years working entry-level jobs in community and economic development to qualify for this role.

Earning Potential

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a community development specialist is USD 62,100. It may even include a potential cash bonus of USD 3, 800.


Conclusion

There is no doubt that careers in social work are highly fulfilling. And with the salary figures of the highest-paying jobs in social work, it's also incredibly rewarding.

Because of this, more and more people are entering this industry, making it more difficult for individuals to find their spot in this growing sector.

An online BBA or MBA program demonstrates your expertise. It shows potential employers your unwavering dedication to professional growth, paving the way for career advancement opportunities and higher salaries.

If you want to start a growing career in social work, Nexford is here to help you. They offer globally-recognized MBA programs which you can complete in your own home and at your own pace. They provide a next-generation learning experience that you can't find anywhere else.


FAQs

What is the highest-paying social work job in 2024?

Clinical social work is the field of social work that will pay the most in 2024. Professionals in this position make as high as USD 113,000 and as low as USD 74,000 with an annual median wage of USD 91,200.

On top of that, they may also receive an additional pay of USD 4, 700.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which social work jobs are projected to have the highest level of growth?

In the coming years, BLS projects that Child, Family, and School social workers will add the most jobs in the industry. This field is expected to generate up to 45,000 annual job openings by 2026.

What is the best social work career path in 2024?

Clinical social work would be the best career path in 2024. Aside from being the highest-paid social work job, it also is the most versatile and covers wide range of specializations, providing employees with good earning potential, high demand, and job stability.

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What skills or expertise is required for high-paying social work jobs?

Since it’s known as the helping occupation, soft skills are necessary to thrive in this field. These include active listening, communication skills, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, empathy, and patience.

You also need a few critical hard skills, including documentation, leadership, time management, cultural competency, and in-depth knowledge of social laws.

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What qualifications are required for high-paying social work jobs?

To qualify for these high-paying social work jobs, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Social Work,

Social work licensure by passing the examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB),

Industry-specific certifications provided by National Association of Social Workers (NASW),

and relevant work experience

On top of these, you also need master’s degree of Business Administration to secure any leadership and management roles.

Why is it beneficial to gain a BBA/MBA degree to achieve a career in social work?

An online MBA or BBA program can help social workers help land any of the best paying social work jobs. These programs can equip you with the leadership and a few other advanced soft skills needed to take on managerial roles with higher salaries.

Additionally, these programs are essential requirements for social work in the corporate field, such as the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, the second highest-paid job on this list.

About the author
Stephen Ramotowski
Stephen Ramotowski

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