Top 11 Ways to Make Money as A Social Worker in 2024

Are you a social worker who feels passionate about making a difference in society but struggles to make ends meet on your current salary? You’re not alone. Many social workers struggle to find jobs that value their work and pay a competitive salary. As per the BLS, the average salary of a social worker is $50,390/yr with a potential to go as high as $82,840/yr.

This blog post is for you if you’re struggling to make money as a social worker. Here, you’ll learn 11 different ways to use your social work expertise and turn it into a fulfilling and financially rewarding career. I’ll explore various financial resources like traditional employment along with exciting non-traditional options to help you earn more and be more secure financially.  

So, if you’re a social worker who has a passion for helping others but also wants to find financial security, this blog post is a must-read!

Let’s dive in!

Traditional Employment

Many social workers find rewarding careers within established organizations. These positions offer stability, benefits, and a clear career path. Let’s explore some popular traditional employment options:

1. Clinical Social Worker

Black female Clinical Social Worker at hospital simling at camera

Clinical social workers provide mental health assessments, therapy, and counseling services to individuals, families, and groups. They work in various settings like hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practices. Look for postings on Indeed, LinkedIn, and professional social work association websites.

  • Demand: Yes, very high demand.
  • Education/Skills: Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) and clinical licensure required. Strong assessment, therapy, and counseling skills are essential.
  • Average salary: $66,918/yr
  • Salary Potential: up to $149,000/yr

2. School Social Worker

Social worker with school kids woring at garden
School social workers play a vital role in supporting students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to address challenges students face, both inside and outside the classroom. They can find jobs in public and private schools. Search on school district websites and job boards like Indeed.

  • In Demand: Yes
  • Education/Skills: MSW and state school social work license required. Skills in collaboration, crisis intervention, and supporting students’ academic and social needs are crucial.
  • Average Salary: $66,918/yr

3. Child, Family, and School Social Worker

Black social worker women talking to mother and childern at home
These social workers provide comprehensive support to children and families. They may work in schools, child welfare agencies, or community-based organizations. Their duties include assessments, individual and family counseling, crisis intervention, and connecting families with resources.

  • In Demand: Yes.
  • Education: MSW required.
  • Average Salary: $78,943/yr

4. Social Work Manager or Supervisor

Social work managers
Social work managers oversee teams of social workers in various settings. They provide leadership, case management support, and ensure best practices are followed. They often have extensive experience as social workers and hold an advanced degree in social work administration. They can find jobs in established social service organizations, government agencies, and healthcare facilities. 

  • In Demand: Moderate demand.
  • Education: MSW and extensive experience as a social worker are required. An advanced degree in social work administration can be beneficial.
  • Average Salary: $66,996/yr

Non-Traditional Employment:

Don’t keep yourself limited to traditional roles only. Here are exciting non-traditional options to explore and potentially make money as a social worker while utilizing your expertise:

5. Private Practice

Social Social workers with a clinical license Practicing privately and engages with her patient.
Social workers with a clinical license can launch their own private practice. This allows you to set your schedule, fees, and specialize in areas you’re passionate about. It requires strong business acumen, marketing skills, and strong therapeutic skills but offers significant income potential. Build your own website, network with other professionals, and utilize online directories. 

  • In Demand: Demand varies depending on location and specialization.
  • Education: MSW and clinical licensure are required. 
  • Average Salary: $76,266 /yr
  •  Salary Potential: $117,000/yr

6. Grant Writing    

Social worker Grant Writer working at laptop
Social workers are skilled at understanding needs and crafting compelling narratives. So, you can leverage this expertise by helping non-profit organizations secure funding through
grant writing. You can work independently or with agencies, or find work on freelance platforms like Upwork, and consulting firms.

  • In Demand: Moderate demand, with a growing need for skilled grant writers in the non-profit sector.
  • Education/Skills: Strong writing and communication skills are essential. Familiarity with grant writing formats and experience with social service programs are beneficial. An MSW can be a plus.
  • Average Salary: $61,225/yr 

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7. Consulting

Black women providing cosultation
Offer your social work knowledge and experience as a consultant. This can involve program development, training, or providing expert advice to organizations on various social issues. Network with social service organizations, attend industry conferences, and build an online presence to find work. 

  • In Demand: Demand is growing for social work consultants, particularly in areas like program development and training.
  • Education/Skills: MSW and expertise in a specific area of social work are valuable. Strong communication and presentation skills are essential.
  • Average Salary: $90,513/yr 

8. Freelance Social Work

Freelance Social Worker checking online information in her tablet
You can also work as a freelance social worker and offer your services to agencies or individuals on a project basis. This flexibility allows you to choose projects you’re interested in and work on your own terms.

  • In Demand: Demand is increasing for freelance social workers, particularly for short-term projects.
  • Education/Skills: MSW and relevant experience are required. Flexibility, strong communication, and the ability to work independently are essential.
  • Average Salary: $76,266/yr

9. Social Work Blogging or Content Creation

Social worker blogging about motivation and success.
You can share your social work knowledge and passion through blogging, creating social media content, or developing and offering online courses. This can establish you as an expert, attract clients, and generate income through advertising or selling resources. 

  • In Demand: Growing demand for social work content creators, particularly those who address niche areas or target specific audiences.
  • Education/Skills: Strong writing and communication skills are essential. Knowledge of social media platforms and content marketing is a plus. An MSW can lend credibility. 
  • Average Salary: $49,583/yr

10. Online Therapy

Feamle social worker engages with her client during teletherapy services session.
With proper licensing, some social workers can provide therapy services online through secure platforms. This offers flexibility for both you and your clients while addressing a growing demand for teletherapy services. Many online therapy platforms connect therapists with clients. You can also market your services directly through your website or social media presence.

  • In Demand: Yes, demand for teletherapy services is growing rapidly.
  • Education/Skills: MSW and clinical licensure are required, along with additional training and certification specific to online therapy platforms. Strong communication and technological skills are also essential.
  • Average Salary: $73,504/yr

11. Social Work Advocacy/Public Speaking

American-African women Public speaking at conference.
Use your social work voice to advocate for policy change or raise awareness about social issues. Network with social work organizations, advocacy groups, and community centers involved in issues you care about. Public speaking opportunities at conferences, workshops, or online platforms can enhance your reputation and potentially generate income.

  • In Demand: Demand varies depending on the specific social issue and your area of expertise.
  • Education/Skills: Strong communication and advocacy skills are essential. An MSW can provide valuable knowledge and experience.
  • Average Salary: $54,688/yr

Factors Affecting Social Worker Salary

Social Worker Visit
Several factors influence social worker salaries. Earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) leads to higher pay compared to a Bachelor’s degree.  Experience is another key factor – the more experience you have, the greater your earning potential. Location also plays a role; salaries may be higher in urban areas with a high cost of living.

Moreover, your work setting and specialization further impact your income.  Social workers in certain settings, like hospitals, or specializing in in-demand areas, such as mental health or geriatrics, have higher salaries.

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How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Social Worker?

Here are some tips that will help you maximize your earning potential: 

  • Consider pursuing relevant certifications and licenses that enhance your skill set. Networking and building relationships within the field can also open doors to new opportunities. 
  • Continuing education and professional development showcase your commitment to growth. This potentially leads to promotions or higher-paying positions. 
  • Finally, don’t underestimate the power of negotiation. Research typical salaries for your role and location to confidently negotiate a fair compensation package.


Here you go with 11 exciting paths to financial security as a social worker. You have both traditional and non-traditional employment options to explore as a Social worker and earn a decent living. Remember, factors like your location, experience level, and chosen specialization can affect your income. 

By strategically using your skills and experience, you can achieve both financial well-being and deep satisfaction by making a positive impact.

Now, tell me in the comments below! Which social worker career path most excites you, and what questions do you have about pursuing a fulfilling social work career? I’d love to hear from you and guide you!

For more in-depth and exclusive opinions, grab my ebook that entails 112 astonishing career options to select and achieve success in your dream career here!


Is Social Work a Good Career Choice Financially?

Social work salaries can vary, but there are ways to make money as a social worker beyond traditional employment. Consider exploring non-traditional options and maximizing your earning potential through experience, certifications, and negotiation.

What are the Highest-paying Social Work Specializations?

Specializations like mental health, geriatrics, and administration often see higher salaries. Location and work setting can also influence your pay as a social worker. 

How can I Increase My Salary as a Social Worker?

There are many ways to increase your salary as a social worker. Earn an MSW, gain experience, pursue relevant certifications, network, and negotiate your salary effectively.

Do Social Workers Need a Business Degree to Go into Private Practice?

While a business background can be helpful, it’s not always mandatory. However, strong business acumen and marketing skills are essential for success in private practice.

Is a Career in Social Work Right for Me if Money is a Concern?

While financial security might require strategic planning, social work offers a variety of income streams. If you’re passionate about helping others, social work can be a fulfilling and financially viable career path for you.

Meet Manicka

I created The Social Work Success Path blog and podcast, during the pandemic of 2021 to provide online education and mentorship for Social Workers. I felt very isolated and disconnected being only in the second year of running my private practice. I strongly considered going back to work when everything shut down. The resources and tools that I share helped me to maintain my practice through the pandemic and plan a successful transition as a Social Work content creator, doing work that I love and connecting with Social Workers all around the world. I did this in the span of 1 year, but using the resources, trainings and tools that I have pulled together, and all my all lessons learned, you can make your career transition much sooner than I did!

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