Public and Private Social Workers

Home >> Careers & Education

Public and Private Social Workers


Education

What’s Needed:

  • In order to work as an independent social worker in either a public or private setting you must hold a master’s degree in social work.
  • You may be able to work under another professional in a public facility if you have only a bachelor’s degree in social work.

What you study:

You’ll study all of the following in a social work program:

  • Professional Ethics
  • Human Behavior
  • Counseling
  • Diversity
  • Social Work Practices
  • Research Methods


A Day in the Life

You help individuals from all walks of life cope with struggles.

You have many different career options when you choose to work as a social worker. You may work in a public facility or in a private practice. Where you work depends on your personal desires and the types of positions open in your specialty area. Whether you work in a public or private setting you will be responsible for helping your clients cope with life challenges. You may be known as a clinical social worker a mental health worker a school social worker or simply a services specialist.

You can work with individuals or families.

Your day begins by heading to the agency or organization where you work. You check your email and voicemail for any messages from clients or updates from other professionals with whom your clients work. You don’t have to respond to any pressing messages so you spend about half an hour reviewing your appointments for the day. You’ve kept files on all of your clients and take the opportunity to review these so that you can remind yourself of the goals for each client.

You’re responsible for staying in touch with other professionals who work with your clients.

About an hour after you’ve arrived at work the receptionist at your office tells you that your first client has arrived. She is a young woman who was in a debilitating accident and is learning how to cope with her disability. You talk to her about strategies for work and her home life. You’re concerned about her access to good medical care so you also help her understand the types of public assistance programs that she qualifies for and give her all the information that she needs to apply to these programs. After you’ve wrapped up with your client you make notes in her file and prepare to visit your next clients a family whose son has recently been diagnosed with a learning disability.

You meet with the boy and his parents at their home. Instead of sitting the boy down at a table and asking him questions you engage in creative play to encourage him to express his emotions. After you’ve spent time with the boy you talk to his parents about how they can support him in school. You help them to understand special programs that he can participate in and provide them with contact information for the people who run those programs.

You head back to your office and prepare to see several more clients. You talk to each client about the challenges that they are facing and help them to formulate a plan for coping with those problems. After your last client has left you organize your office and pull out client files for tomorrow. You quickly glance over these files and then close up your office. You check in with the director of your facility before you go so that you can share any issues or concerns with her.


Certifications and Licensing

All states require that social workers are licensed by a social work board. In order to become licensed you must have an M.A. in social work and pass a background check. Most states also require that you complete a set number of internship hours.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most social workers have full-time schedules. You may also be required to work overtime and on-call hours on an as-needed basis.

Work location:

As a social worker you can choose whether you’d like to work in a traditional office or travel from location to location to work with your clients.


Recommended Websites

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Social Workers: This Bureau of Labor Statistics website is designed to offer well-rounded basic information about careers in social work. Prospective social work students can learn about salary ranges and employment outlook projections in this field but should also consult sites that offer more qualitative content.
  • National Association of Social Workers: The NASW website provides information about all facets of social work. It serves as an excellent resource for individuals who want to explore different areas of social work.
  • Clinical Social Work Association: CSWA’s website is designed to provide information about clinical social work to the general public and practitioners in this field. It contains valuable information about clinical practice and features a job board that social workers at all levels can use to find open positions.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $54620 $41K – $82K 150 0.09%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $63140 $30K – $75K 60 0.01%
AL Florence – Muscle Shoals $27930 $21K – $47K N/A N/A
AL Tuscaloosa $63150 $24K – $76K 60 0.06%
AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $59310 $27K – $76K 70 0.04%
AR Fort Smith $46130 $29K – $63K 30 0.03%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $43590 $30K – $75K 270 0.08%
AZ Flagstaff $35570 $21K – $54K 50 0.08%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $55510 $33K – $75K 660 0.04%
AZ Tucson $61220 $32K – $75K 180 0.05%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $76700 $25K – $92K 50 0.02%
CA Chico $54190 $20K – $68K 70 0.10%
CA El Centro $64690 $39K – $81K 40 0.07%
CA Fresno $58790 $42K – $75K 550 0.17%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $58710 $35K – $89K 3590 0.09%
CA Madera – Chowchilla $57880 $50K – $73K 50 0.13%
CA Napa $22910 $20K – $75K 80 0.12%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $76660 $41K – $104K 1170 0.12%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $47970 $39K – $71K 430 0.15%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $60980 $40K – $83K 1240 0.11%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $69650 $59K – $92K 900 0.11%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $43690 $29K – $89K 530 0.04%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $75840 $41K – $95K 640 0.06%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $78770 $51K – $94K 890 0.10%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $65220 $38K – $81K 80 0.08%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $66180 $47K – $75K 690 0.05%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $55360 $44K – $85K N/A N/A
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $65990 $38K – $76K 130 0.16%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma N/A N/A – N/A 40 0.02%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $62940 $41K – $90K N/A N/A
CA Visalia – Porterville $42780 $30K – $64K 930 0.71%
CO Colorado Springs $63140 $29K – $76K 130 0.05%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $45870 $28K – $74K 420 0.03%
CO Grand Junction $36330 $24K – $75K 50 0.08%
CO Pueblo $37840 $26K – $75K 40 0.08%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $42430 $32K – $88K N/A N/A
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $42280 $31K – $86K N/A N/A
CT New Haven $51960 $33K – $84K 140 0.05%
CT Waterbury $37160 $31K – $64K 30 0.05%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $67800 $37K – $90K 460 0.02%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $67370 $43K – $86K 100 0.03%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $56350 $36K – $103K 70 0.04%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $52570 $31K – $76K 60 0.04%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $52590 $29K – $78K 200 0.03%
FL Gainesville $71100 $33K – $85K 90 0.07%
FL Jacksonville $55030 $28K – $76K 120 0.02%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $63720 $37K – $88K 310 0.03%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $58820 $42K – $73K 60 0.03%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $44820 $27K – $73K 370 0.04%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $60270 $46K – $87K 50 0.03%
FL Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach $28030 $17K – $65K 30 0.05%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $46070 $32K – $76K 100 0.07%
FL Port St. Lucie $45100 $29K – $58K 60 0.05%
FL Tallahassee $36250 $32K – $65K 120 0.08%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $65180 $34K – $80K 360 0.03%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $55450 $31K – $81K 160 0.03%
GA Athens – Clarke County $34540 $28K – $59K N/A N/A
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $40580 $30K – $74K 720 0.03%
GA Augusta – Richmond County $63150 $33K – $78K 120 0.06%
GA Columbus $63130 $19K – $76K 70 0.06%
GA Savannah $61230 $26K – $82K 30 0.02%
HI Honolulu $64450 $35K – $83K 240 0.06%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $27760 $20K – $65K 60 0.03%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $64970 $44K – $76K 130 0.04%
IA Iowa City $59180 $50K – $85K 60 0.07%
ID Boise City – Nampa $66970 $24K – $80K 60 0.02%
IL Champaign – Urbana $29010 $21K – $48K N/A N/A
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $57190 $33K – $78K 1090 0.03%
IL Danville $63140 $31K – $76K 50 0.18%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $65020 $35K – $85K 120 0.03%
IL Peoria $45380 $30K – $65K 90 0.05%
IL Rockford $19490 $18K – $61K 130 0.10%
IL Springfield $62360 $28K – $73K 50 0.05%
IN Evansville $57690 $34K – $74K N/A N/A
IN Fort Wayne $61230 $35K – $76K 50 0.03%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $63430 $44K – $75K 190 0.02%
IN Kokomo $35880 $26K – $72K 40 0.09%
IN Michigan City – La Porte $32270 $25K – $47K 30 0.08%
KS Manhattan $63140 $38K – $71K 50 0.10%
KS Wichita $42350 $38K – $71K 140 0.05%
KY Lexington – Fayette $65060 $47K – $78K 50 0.02%
LA Alexandria $61860 $42K – $78K 80 0.13%
LA Baton Rouge $51610 $34K – $71K 200 0.05%
LA Lafayette $52010 $33K – $69K 40 0.03%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $54250 $30K – $73K 260 0.05%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $66970 $47K – $80K 60 0.04%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $62760 $30K – $87K 390 0.02%
MA Brockton – Bridgewater – Easton (Metro Area) $69030 $52K – $80K 60 0.07%
MA New Bedford $36840 $31K – $71K 30 0.05%
MA Springfield $75930 $41K – $91K 60 0.02%
MD Baltimore – Towson $72020 $43K – $93K 510 0.04%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $74930 $51K – $95K 190 0.03%
MD Hagerstown – Martinsburg $70210 $41K – $87K 60 0.06%
ME Bangor $43810 $32K – $65K 40 0.06%
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $47230 $34K – $71K 100 0.05%
MI Ann Arbor $47510 $30K – $80K 160 0.08%
MI Bay City $38030 $25K – $58K 40 0.12%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $43000 $30K – $71K 570 0.08%
MI Flint $36670 $17K – $65K 110 0.09%
MI Grand Rapids – Wyoming $34690 $26K – $61K 190 0.05%
MI Muskegon – Norton Shores $39780 $28K – $63K 50 0.08%
MI Saginaw – Saginaw Township North $61230 $50K – $71K 70 0.09%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $55950 $41K – $83K 360 0.03%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $68900 $46K -align=”center”>$34K – $75K 50 0.05%
MO Kansas City $44460 $34K – $75K 190 0.02%
MO St. Louis $55670 $32K – $75K 150 0.01%
MT Billings $33620 $27K – $70K 100 0.12%
MT Great Falls $31540 $22K – $49K 60 0.17%
MT Missoula $34500 $29K – $51K 90 0.17%
NC Asheville $57420 $30K – $76K 80 0.05%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $38790 $27K – $68K 180 0.02%
NC Durham – Chapel Hill $59170 $33K – $78K 120 0.05%
NC Fayetteville $65080 $30K – $78K 140 0.11%
NC Goldsboro $35760 $30K – $75K 30 0.08%
NC Greensboro – High Point $34270 $24K – $38K 80 0.02%
NC Greenville $31240 $18K – $59K 90 0.13%
NC Hickory – Lenoir – Morganton $29810 $21K – $35K 60 0.04%
NC Raleigh – Cary $48440 $29K – $58K 120 0.02%
NC Winston – Salem $36280 $32K – $69K N/A N/A
ND Fargo $61230 $19K – $75K 60 0.05%
NE Lincoln $40700 $24K – $61K 70 0.04%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $63150 $30K – $78K 40 0.01%
NH Manchester $75300 $59K – $88K 40 0.04%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $62520 $45K – $85K 50 0.01%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $64730 $24K – $84K 120 0.01%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $59340 $36K – $82K 400 0.04%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $62510 $44K – $91K 60 0.03%
NJ Vineland – Millville – Bridgeton $60490 $52K – $77K 40 0.06%
NM Albuquerque $46120 $34K – $69K 420 0.12%
NM Farmington $37700 $27K – $60K 80 0.16%
NM Las Cruces $44190 $35K – $57K 80 0.12%
NM Santa Fe $52070 $41K – $65K 150 0.26%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $73380 $47K – $80K N/A N/A
NV Reno – Sparks $65590 $42K – $78K 50 0.03%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $53600 $41K – $71K 590 0.14%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $53070 $40K – $69K 650 0.12%
NY Elmira $37400 $23K – $71K 40 0.11%
NY Ithaca $49120 $41K – $60K 60 0.13%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $66000 $48K – $86K 1120 0.09%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $60960 $41K – $82K 4360 0.08%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $67450 $40K – $84K 170 0.07%
NY Rochester $48650 $37K – $69K 610 0.12%
NY Syracuse $54670 $42K – $71K 450 0.15%
NY Utica – Rome $43180 $31K – $71K 220 0.18%
OH Akron $40760 $27K – $68K 260 0.08%
OH Canton – Massillon $42090 $27K – $69K 150 0.09%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $45410 $31K – $76K 450 0.05%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $47660 $23K – $74K 350 0.04%
OH Columbus $41150 $28K – $63K 530 0.06%
OH Dayton $49640 $25K – $77K 170 0.05%
OH Lima $38610 $27K – $58K 70 0.15%
OH Mansfield $53700 $41K – $68K 90 0.18%
OH Toledo $43630 $32K – $67K 80 0.03%
OH Youngstown – Warren – Boardman $45370 $25K – $71K 110 0.05%
OK Oklahoma City $36000 $27K – $73K 280 0.05%
OK Tulsa $37410 $25K – $75K 90 0.02%
OR Bend $43690 $28K – $73K 70 0.11%
OR Eugene – Springfield $43700 $26K – $67K 90 0.07%
OR Medford $45160 $31K – $71K 130 0.18%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $48110 $27K – $71K 960 0.10%
OR Salem $39870 $29K – $63K 140 0.10%
PA Altoona $64260 $29K – $76K 40 0.07%
PA Erie $62430 $47K – $76K 50 0.04%
PA Harrisburg – Carlisle $57850 $48K – $80K 30 0.01%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $69400 $48K – $88K 340 0.02%
PA Pittsburgh $63890 $31K – $86K 210 0.02%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $65050 $39K – $85K 70 0.03%
PA York – Hanover $31410 $25K – $47K 40 0.03%
PR Mayaguez $23550 $20K – $68K 50 0.16%
PR Ponce $20720 $17K – $64K 80 0.14%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $26410 $19K – $45K 1040 0.14%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $69020 $49K – $88K 100 0.02%
SC Columbia $40560 $31K – $71K 320 0.09%
SC Florence $41430 $31K – $55K 70 0.08%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $43280 $33K – $65K 110 0.04%
TN Chattanooga $42160 $28K – $67K 50 0.02%
TN Clarksville $66960 $57K – $76K 90 0.11%
TN Johnson City $61220 $40K – $78K 80 0.10%
TN Kingsport – Bristol – Bristol $34150 $30K – $38K 40 0.03%
TN Knoxville $44490 $28K – $59K N/A N/A
TN Memphis $63130 $28K – $80K 120 0.02%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $63150 $38K – $78K 150 0.02%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $65330 $38K – $87K 80 0.01%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $40010 $24K – $75K 450 0.02%
TX El Paso $61910 $24K – $76K 170 0.06%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $48970 $33K – $79K 100 0.01%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $60970 $33K – $91K 310 0.01%
TX Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood $72720 $59K – $83K 150 0.12%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $63140 $30K – $78K 250 0.03%
TX Waco $65890 $31K – $80K 40 0.04%
UT Ogden – Clearfield $38670 $35K – $51K 80 0.04%
UT Provo – Orem $36610 $35K – $45K 60 0.04%
UT Salt Lake City $43130 $35K – $76K 290 0.05%
VA Roanoke $65050 $49K – $80K 60 0.04%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $65040 $28K – $78K 150 0.02%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $47110 $27K – $77K 510 0.04%
WA Spokane $58690 $28K – $71K 70 0.03%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $65170 $30K – $86K 300 0.12%
WI Madison $58150 $42K – $76K 230 0.07%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $54140 $19K – $75K 370 0.05%
WV Huntington – Ashland $63150 $27K – $78K 50 0.05%
WV Wheeling $40440 $26K – $55K 50 0.08%

    Advertisement

    POWERED BY
    Customer Service: 855.213.0348
    Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM CST, Sat 8AM-5PM CST, Sun 10AM-6PM CST
    © 2017, Bold Limited. All rights reserved.