Social workers can work in a variety of different capacities to help people.
Social work is a career that many people believe has great intentions, but doesn't have a great pay out. While people might feel good about what they're doing, is it a field where people are actually rewarded for their hard work? It turns out, it is. Don't feel discouraged if you're considering getting a master's degree in social work — feel empowered. Often people who are in social work also can target jobs in psychology-related fields as well, which may be a bonus. Here's a few of the highest-paying jobs in social work, but remember that all of these figures may vary by state and region.
1. Marriage and family therapist
This is one career that people can enter from a background in psychology or social work. Essentially, people in this career get to work with couples, families and children on various issues. For instance, if a family endured the tragic loss of a loved one, a marriage and family therapist may be able to help. They also can work with children who have general social or learning issues, or help a couple communicate more effectively. Along with being a high-paying job, this career is currently in demand as more people become receptive to working with therapists and psychology professionals. The average salary for this job is $46,000.
2. Mental health counselor
Again, this is a career where psychology and social work can overlap. People who choose to be mental health counselors often have gotten a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology or in social work. Usually people in this career will either counsel people with mental health issues or help the families of those with mental health problems. Sometimes, they might counsel both in an family setting. Other times, they work in hospitals and other mental facilities. This career can also be lucrative depending on where people work – the average annual salary is $40,000.
"The pay is certainly worth your clinical experience, sitting around an average of $52,000."
3. Clinical social worker
Clinical social work is exactly how it sounds – people need to have clinical experience as well as a social work master's degree to work in this field. Essentially, they need to be able to clinically diagnose someone with mental health issues. They might also give therapy for these conditions and work with patients and their families to create treatment plans. The pay is certainly worth your clinical experience, sitting around an average of $52,000.
4. School counselor
School counselors usually hold a master's degree in social work given their expertise in dealing with people and reinforcing relationships. Counselors will work directly with students, staff and parents to ensure that students get through school without any hiccups. They might be involved in student conflicts as well as handling issues that happen outside of the classroom. While this job can certainly be a lot to handle sometimes, school counselors are paid well for their time. The annual salary is $56,000.
5. Substance abuse counselor
Sadly, substance abuse is becoming more common, especially with substances such as opioids and heroin. However, more families and patients are beginning to embrace help from counselors who specialize in substance abuse. Many people have become aware of the importance of getting help for substance abuse and addiction, as psychological illnesses such as anxiety and depression can often come alongside physical issues. People in this field find it very rewarding, as they can see progress in the people they work with. The pay also isn't too shabby, with most people pulling in around $60,000.
6. Speech pathologist
Speech pathology can be a very engaging field to be in. People get the chance to work with and help those who have speech issues, ranging from a minor stutter to major problems caused by cognitive damage. However, this is one field people pursuing social work degrees might not think of. Luckily, people can get their speech-language pathology certification and their social work certification, as the two fields largely intertwine. While a person might have a passion for social work, getting certified in language education can help people make more money while doing what they love — work directly with people to help them. This career is definitely the highest paying out of the group, with an average salary of $70,000.