Social Work Salaries in Oregon and the U.S.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Study

Social workers may be paid in several different ways. A 2009 study of U.S. social workers sponsored by NASW found that 57% are paid an annual salary, 24% are paid an hourly wage, and 20% are paid a per diem/fee for their services. The study used these various payment methods to calculate an annual base pay for the sake of comparison. The mean base pay for social workers was $59,800, and the median was $55,000. Below is the distribution from their report.

Base Pay for Social Workers (Annualized Wage Equivalent)




The entire NASW report is worth reading and is also easy to read, but here are a few of their findings:

  • The median base pay for those social workers with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) as their highest social work degree was $40,000, while those who had a Master of Social Work (MSW) as their highest social work degree had a median base pay of $55,000 - a difference of $15,000.
  • The Pacific states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington) stand out as providing the highest base pay levels with a median of $65,000.
  • Experience in the social work profession shows the expected correlation with base pay, rising from a median of $43,700 for those with less than five years’ experience to $63,000 for those with 30-39 years’ experience.

The NASW has also conducted further analysis on the compensation data collected in this study looking at correlations with gender and ethnicity.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Data

For a more recent look at the incomes of social workers in Oregon, here are the annual mean wages for the four categories of social workers tracked and reported on by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015:


Occupation Oregon Annual Mean Salary U.S. Annual Mean Salary Difference
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $46,150 $46,610 -$460
Healthcare Social Workers $64,210 $54,020 $10,190
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $45,840 $47,190 -$1,350
Social Workers, All Other $49,650 $57,970 -$8,320

Sources:
May 2015 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics
May 2015 Oregon Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics



Here are salaries for each of these same social work occupational categories over time compared to the annual mean wage for all occupations. Use the buttons to toggle between social work categories.

Historical Social Work Salaries


Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics