LCSW Salary Info for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Social workers’ main duty is to help people handle problems in their everyday lives. They work in a variety of fields, including schools, mental health, health care, with children and families. They also work in various other fields of social service. The Licensed Clinical Social Worker salary can vary significantly based on the particular field the social worker is in. Also, the salary LCSW employees earn depends on the social worker’s level of licensure. The more responsibilities and licensures a social worker has, the better her pay is.

LCSW Salary Averages

The average annual salary for LCSW employees in the United States depends on what population the social worker serves. The following are average LCSW salaries of social workers as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

• Child, Family and School – $43,850 per year, or $21.08 per hour

• Healthcare – $49,200 per year, or $23.65 per hour

• Mental Health – $41,880 per year, or $20.13 per hour

• All Other Social Workers – $52,270 per year, or $25.13 per hour.

Salary Ranges

The LCSW average salary range for a Child, Family and School social worker is from $26,170 per year to $68,030 in most cases. Healthcare social workers can earn usually between $29,460 per year and $71,970 per year. A mental health social worker’s salary ranges between about $25,210 annually and $63,460. The median LCSW salary California enjoys may be different than in other states, but for the most part earnings of all other social workers across the U.S. typically range between approximately $29,340 per year and $77,260. Use our salary calculator on this site to find out how much your salary could increase by year-over-year.


LCSW SalaryEducation plays a key role in determining what the salary of a social worker will be. With a master’s degree, the LCSW salary will be much higher than that of someone with just a bachelor’s degree in social work. The LCSW degree is usually a degree in social work. Beginning with a bachelor’s degree in a human or social services-related field, LCSWs often go on to earn master’s degrees in social work. They then become licensed by their state’s licensing board for social workers.

To earn a particular level of licensure, social workers must participate in supervised clinical hours by someone who is qualified, typically a social worker who has more experience and a higher licensure level. Most states require social workers to have between 2,000 and 3,000 of supervised clinical hours before they can become licensed clinical social workers. Each state may also have other requirements for becoming licensed, such as taking an exam. Contact your state’s social work licensing board to learn what requirements you must meet to become a licensed clinical social worker.


Many social work students may be confused about whether they want to become licensed social workers, or whether they would rather pursue careers as counselors, psychologists or therapists. Some social workers are licensed to provide therapy to clients.

The average counselor salary as of May 2010 in the United States was $55,970 for Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational counselors, $47,530 for marriage and family therapists, $41,360 for mental health counselors, $35,850 for rehabilitation counselors, $40,810 for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors and $44,380 for all other counselors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click here to compare this with an average counselor salary.

The terms psychologist vs psychiatrist can also be confusing, as can their associated salaries. Psychologists are not doctors, and they cannot prescribe medications. Psychiatrists can since they are medical doctors. A psychologist’s salary in the U.S. averaged $72,540 for Clinical, Counseling and School psychologists, $114,040 per year for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists and $86,510 per year for all other psychologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


LCSW Salary for a Licensed Clinical Social WorkerLicensed Clinical Social Workers do not spend as much time providing therapy to clients or researching the human brain. They serve as guides to help people find practical ways to solve problems in their lives. They may do some therapy and counseling, but their focus is on providing useful assistance to people. They assist them in navigating bureaucracies, handling substance abuse, find homes and jobs.

Job Titles

LCSWs work in many different organizations and agencies. They may work for private companies, nonprofit organizations or the government. They may work in schools as well. One job title that LSCWs may hold is that of a care management coordinator. Clinical care management is one area where LCSWs can earn a higher salary than their colleagues. The field of health care is growing, and social workers are in demand.

Job Prospects

While the LCSW salary varies by the particular field in which a social worker practices, the job prospects for social workers overall is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of LCSW jobs for social workers is expected to increase by 16 percent through 2018, which is faster than average for all occupations. Jobs for those working with the aging population or who work in rural areas are expected to have good job opportunities.

LCSW Salary Trends

Medical and public health social workers jobs are expected to increase the most of all of the categories of social workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects them to increase by 22 percent through 2018. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are expected to find that the number of jobs available to them will increase by 20 percent. Child, family and school social worker jobs is expected to increase by 12 percent through 2018, which is about as fast as average for all other occupations.

Licensed clinical social workers should have a better chance of getting a social worker position because they are trained more highly than unlicensed social workers. In addition, some regions may pay more for a certain type of social worker than another. The average LCSW salary will vary not only by experience and education, but also where the prospective worker chooses to practice.

So How Do I Get Started Being A Licensed Clinical Social Worker?

The first thing you need to do is click here and view how to get an LCSW degree.  You can also check out our guide on how to become a LCSW. Education is important and necessary if you want to earn at the top of the pay scale.