A new report on salaries for social workers published on Huffington Post has the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) – and the profession in general – riled up.
The data was presented under the title, The WORST-PAYING college degrees, and was based on an analysis by PayScale.
“The quest for social welfare doesn’t pay much, even if you commit to it for the long haul,” Huffington Post said. “Average starting salary is just over $33,000, and the average mid-career salary barely tops $40,000.”
The NASW responded that PayScale “limited its data collection to social workers with bachelor’s degrees…” and added: “Those median salary levels are below those in a new National Association of Social Workers Compensation Study, which includes data from social workers with master’s degrees. That study puts the median annual salary for all social workers at $55,000 a year.
“Social workers with less than five years experience earn a median annual salary of $43,700; those with 10- 19 years of experience earn a median annual salary of $52,000; and those with 20 -29 years of experience earn a median annual salary of $60,000, according to the NASW study.”
An Adobe Acrobat (PDF) summary of the study is available by clicking here.
One writer on Huffington Post responded to the PayScale report: “This article is 100% correct. SW are the worst paid professionals. Many in the field continue to maintain this fixed delusion system they operate on re: salaries. Please spare me the BS!
“Why doesn’t the NASW send out a mass mailing questionnaire as to how many SW/LCSW are stressed/burned out because: 1) they can barely meet living expenses, 2) pay their NASW dues, 3) declare or on the verge of bankruptcy, 4) barely pay (if that) student loans, 5) drive 10 yr old cars that are barely maintained, 6) share living accommodations with others or 7) work 2 jobs cause they can’t manage a family with their SW salary. Why? NASW represents 155K SW and not once have they addressed this with all their members.”
On the Social Workers Facebook page, the topic drew 43 comments. A few samples:
* “I went into the field knowing I would not make millions. I wanted to make a difference.”
* “[Social workers] with licsws need to be paid and considered at the same status level as doctors.”
* “The Huffington Post article was a little odd to me. I assume the starting salaries for BA’s in sociology or psychology are also not very high. I think psychology, sociology and social work are the kind of majors you go into knowing that grad school is in your future.”