What Is the Salary of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) works in social and human services, providing aid in the fields of medicine, public health, substance abuse, mental health and family services. Your salary in this career is determined by years of experience, location and type of employer. Schools offering Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
The 10th-90th percentile salary range for LCSWs was $38,887-$78,164, according to Payscale.com in January 2014. The median wage at that time was $52,797. Salaries varied based on the number of years of experience, location, social work specialty and employer type.
Salaries Based on Experience
January 2014 salary data from PayScale.com showed the following LCSW salary ranges according to experience:
- Less than one year: $30,000-$50,868
- 1-4 years: $35,293-$62,143
- 5-9 years: $38,357-$68,094
- 10-19 years: $40,513-$73,969
- 20 or more years: $40,608-$85,421
Salaries by Specialty
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that social workers can expect to see growth by up to 19% over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). Overall, growth in the social work field is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations with percentages varying by specialty.
The BLS stated in May 2012 that the median annual earnings for various social worker specialties were:
- Mental health and substance abuse social worker: $39,980
- Healthcare social worker: $49,830
- Child, family and school social worker: $41,530
- All other social workers : $54,560
Salaries by Employer Type
Mean salaries in social work also vary by the type of employer. In May 2012, the BLS reported social worker mean annual wages by employer for each specialty area. The top-paying industries for child, family and school social workers were elementary and secondary schools, home health care services, other schools, consulting services and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, with mean annual salaries of $52,050 to $59,620.
In the field of healthcare social work, the top-paying industries were specialty hospitals; employment services; elementary and secondary schools; colleges, universities and professional schools; general medical and surgical hospitals; and scientific research and development services.
If you work in mental health and substance abuse, the top-paying industry was home healthcare services with a mean annual wage of $56,540. The other top-paying industries were specialty hospitals with a mean way to $54,910. Mean wages for the offices of other health practitioners were $51,630, and mean wages for general medical and surgical hospitals were $51,480. Professionals working for offices of physicians made a mean wages $51,450.
Social workers not falling into these categories, had the top-paying industries listed as the federal government, insurance carriers, insurance and employee benefit funds, general hospitals and specialty hospitals. The mean annual salaries for these industries were $71,160, $67,200, $63,120, $61,490 and $59,800.
Mean Salaries by State
In May 2012, the BLS reported that the states with the highest mean wages for child, family and school social workers included Connecticut ($62,930), New Jersey ($61,090), Minnesota ($57,770), Rhode Island ($57,380) and New York ($54,480). States with high mean wages for healthcare social workers included the District of Columbia ($66,130), Nevada ($64,640), California ($63,480), Connecticut ($60,830) and Rhode Island ($59,910).
Some states that had the highest mean earnings for mental health and substance abuse social workers included Connecticut ($55,690), Wisconsin ($55,090), the District of Columbia ($54,210), New Jersey ($54,070) and Rhode Island ($53,560).
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