Salary Report for California Social Workers

  • The number of Social Workers currently employed in California is 47,380.
  • Social Workers in California earn an average of $64,940 per year or $31.22 per hour.
  • The percentage of U.S. Social Workers who work in California is 14%.
  • California will need 51,800 new Social Workers by 2030 or 4,970 new psychologists per year.

California Rankings

  • California ranks #5 in the U.S. for Social Workers salary and #4 when adjusted for cost-of-living.
  • California ranks #1 in the U.S. for the total number of Social Workers employed.
  • California ranks #1 in U.S. for the number of new Social Workers needed by 2030.
  • California ranks #29 in U.S. for the percentage of new Social Workers needed by 2030.

Compare California to U.S.

California Social Workers earn an average of $64,940 which is 18% more than the national average salary of $54,880.

TypeCaliforniaU.S.% Difference
Average Hourly Wage$31.22$26.3918.30%
Average Annual Salary$64,940$54,88018.33%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Salary Range by Education and Experience

In California, 50% of Social Workers earn between $47,740 and $77,640 a year, depending on factors such as level of education, experience, location and place of employment.

About 10% of Social Workers earn more than $98,560, a rate generally associated with highly educated and experienced Social Workers.

Approximately 10% of Social Workers earn under $38,700, a rate generally reserved for less experienced or entry level Social Workers.

PercentExperienceEmployedAnnual Salary
10%Less than a Year4,738Under $38,700
15%2 – 4 years7,107$38,700 – $47,740
25%5 – 9 years11,845$47,740 – $61,190
25%10 – 14 years11,845$61,190 – $77,640
15%15 – 20 years7,107$61,190 – $98,560
10%20+ years4,738Above $98,560
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Adjusted for Cost-of-Living

After being adjusted for cost-of-living, Social Workers in California psychologists earn about $58,833 per year which is more than the average U.S. psychologist of $54,880.

Cost-of-living in California is 10% higher than the national average, which means California residents have an overall higher cost for food, housing, utilities and transportation compared to other states.

  • National average salary for Social Workers is $54,880.
  • Average California Social Workers salary is $64,940.
  • Adjusted for cost-of-living, California Social Workers earn an average salary of $58,833.

More cost-of-living reports for U.S. States.

Salary Compared to Related Professions

With an average annual salary of $64,940, California Social Workers tend to earn less than Industrial Organizational Psychologists ($123,090), Clinical and Counseling Psychologists ($122,790), Psychology Teachers ($114,950), Forensic Psychologists ($112,210), School Psychologists ($96,530), and Health Care Social Workers ($84,690).

However, Social Workers tend to earn more than Marriage and Family Therapists ($59,320), and Substance Abuse Counselors ($59,790).

TitleAnnual Salary
Industrial Organizational Psychologists$123,090
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists$122,790
Psychology Teachers$114,950
Forensic Psychologists$112,210
School Psychologists$96,530
Health Care Social Workers$84,690
Social Workers$64,940
Substance Abuse Counselors$59,790
Marriage and Family Therapists$59,320
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Projected Demand for Psychologists in 2030

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that in California the three professions needing the most new psychologists by 2030 are Social Workers (51,800), Substance Abuse Counselors (43,500) and Marriage and Family Therapists (32,700).

The three professions in California needing highest percentage new psychologists by 2030 are Substance Abuse Counselors (17.3%), Health Care Social Workers (12.2%) and Marriage and Family Therapists (10.5%).

Title20202030ChangeYearly Openings
Social Workers47,20051,8009.7%4,970
Substance Abuse Counselors37,10043,50017.3%4,330
Marriage and Family Therapists29,60032,70010.5%3,170
Health Care Social Workers13,10014,70012.2%1,440
Forensic Psychologists5,5005,5000%360
Psychology Teachers3,9004,2007.7%410
Industrial Organizational Psychologists1,8001,9005.6%120
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 2022*

Salaries Ranked by California Cities

The average salary for Social Workers in California is $64,940. The top cities that pay Social Workers the most are San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ($76,500), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($72,750) and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($69,540).

When adjusted for cost-of-living, the cities that pay Social Workers the highest average annual salary are San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ($68,230), Santa Cruz-Watsonville ($63,252) and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($62,150).

The following table shows the average yearly salary range for Social Workers in each city, and the average yearly salary after being adjusted for cost-of-living in that state.

The difference column shows how much more or less purchasing power a Social Workers salary will have in that area.

AreaAverage SalaryCOL AdjustedDifference
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara$76,500$68,230$-8,270
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward$72,750$61,983$-10,767
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim$69,540$62,150$-7,390
Santa Cruz-Watsonville$69,210$63,252$-5,958
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade$60,900$57,399$-3,501
Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California$60,570$60,612$42
San Diego-Carlsbad$59,790$52,730$-7,060
Vallejo-Fairfield$59,680$55,045$-4,635
Salinas$59,260$53,508$-5,752
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario$57,920$55,848$-2,072
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura$57,640$51,741$-5,899
Napa$57,550$51,647$-5,903
Santa Rosa$56,970$51,866$-5,104
North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California$55,670$55,709$39
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara$55,060$50,045$-5,015
North Coast Region of California$54,860$54,898$38
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande$54,210$49,493$-4,717
Chico$53,960$53,173$-787
Fresno$53,960$54,046$86
Visalia-Porterville$53,130$54,453$1,323
Redding$52,790$52,838$48
Yuba City$51,960$52,221$261
Modesto$51,780$50,414$-1,366
Bakersfield$50,970$51,391$421
Hanford-Corcoran$50,710$52,779$2,069
El Centro$50,400$53,950$3,550
Stockton-Lodi$50,360$48,516$-1,844
Merced$49,540$49,960$420
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Salary FAQ for California Social Workers

California Social Workers earn between $38,700 and $98,560 a year depending on their level of education, experience and skill.

There are currently 47,380 Social Workers employed in California which is about 14% of the U.S. total.

Industrial Organizational Psychologists are the highest paid psychologists in California with an average annual wage of $123,090.

An entry level psychologist makes as much as $38,700 a year in California

The most Social Workers work in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area where 20,810 Social Workers are employed.

After being adjusted for cost-of-living, Social Workers in California earn 58,833 per year, while the average across the United States earns $54,880.

By 2030, California will need 51,800 Social Workers. A total of 4,970 Social Workers will need to enter into the California work forces each year.

City and Rural Summaries

Bakersfield

Average Social Workers Salary: $50,970
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $51,391
Hourly Wage: $24.50
Currently Employed: 960
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.18
Bakersfield Salary Report

Chico

Average Social Workers Salary: $53,960
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $53,173
Hourly Wage: $26
Currently Employed: 210
Cost-of-Living Index: 101.48
Chico Salary Report

Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California

Average Social Workers Salary: $60,570
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $60,612
Hourly Wage: $29.12
Currently Employed: 130
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.93
Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California Salary Report

El Centro

Average Social Workers Salary: $50,400
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $53,950
Hourly Wage: $24
Currently Employed: 130
Cost-of-Living Index: 93.42
El Centro Salary Report

Fresno

Average Social Workers Salary: $53,960
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $54,046
Hourly Wage: $25.94
Currently Employed: 1,050
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.84
Fresno Salary Report

Hanford-Corcoran

Average Social Workers Salary: $50,710
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $52,779
Hourly Wage: $24
Currently Employed: 70
Cost-of-Living Index: 96.08
Hanford-Corcoran Salary Report

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim

Average Social Workers Salary: $69,540
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $62,150
Hourly Wage: $33.44
Currently Employed: 20,810
Cost-of-Living Index: 111.89
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Salary Report

Merced

Average Social Workers Salary: $49,540
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $49,960
Hourly Wage: $24
Currently Employed: 450
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.16
Merced Salary Report

Modesto

Average Social Workers Salary: $51,780
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $50,414
Hourly Wage: $24.90
Currently Employed: 880
Cost-of-Living Index: 102.71
Modesto Salary Report

Napa

Average Social Workers Salary: $57,550
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $51,647
Hourly Wage: $28
Currently Employed: 210
Cost-of-Living Index: 111.43
Napa Salary Report

North Coast Region of California

Average Social Workers Salary: $54,860
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $54,898
Hourly Wage: $26.37
Currently Employed: 430
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.93
North Coast Region of California Salary Report

North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California

Average Social Workers Salary: $55,670
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $55,709
Hourly Wage: $27
Currently Employed: 250
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.93
North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California Salary Report

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura

Average Social Workers Salary: $57,640
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $51,741
Hourly Wage: $27.71
Currently Employed: 850
Cost-of-Living Index: 111.40
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Salary Report

Redding

Average Social Workers Salary: $52,790
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $52,838
Hourly Wage: $25
Currently Employed: 160
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.91
Redding Salary Report

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario

Average Social Workers Salary: $57,920
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $55,848
Hourly Wage: $27.85
Currently Employed: 4,010
Cost-of-Living Index: 103.71
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Salary Report

Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade

Average Social Workers Salary: $60,900
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $57,399
Hourly Wage: $29
Currently Employed: 3,190
Cost-of-Living Index: 106.10
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade Salary Report

Salinas

Average Social Workers Salary: $59,260
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $53,508
Hourly Wage: $28.49
Currently Employed: 380
Cost-of-Living Index: 110.75
Salinas Salary Report

San Diego-Carlsbad

Average Social Workers Salary: $59,790
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $52,730
Hourly Wage: $29
Currently Employed: 3,300
Cost-of-Living Index: 113.39
San Diego-Carlsbad Salary Report

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward

Average Social Workers Salary: $72,750
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $61,983
Hourly Wage: $34.98
Currently Employed: 5,270
Cost-of-Living Index: 117.37
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Salary Report

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

Average Social Workers Salary: $76,500
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $68,230
Hourly Wage: $37
Currently Employed: 1,520
Cost-of-Living Index: 112.12
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Salary Report

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande

Average Social Workers Salary: $54,210
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $49,493
Hourly Wage: $26.06
Currently Employed: 350
Cost-of-Living Index: 109.53
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande Salary Report

Santa Cruz-Watsonville

Average Social Workers Salary: $69,210
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $63,252
Hourly Wage: $33
Currently Employed: 290
Cost-of-Living Index: 109.42
Santa Cruz-Watsonville Salary Report

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara

Average Social Workers Salary: $55,060
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $50,045
Hourly Wage: $26.47
Currently Employed: 230
Cost-of-Living Index: 110.02
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara Salary Report

Santa Rosa

Average Social Workers Salary: $56,970
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $51,866
Hourly Wage: $27
Currently Employed: 530
Cost-of-Living Index: 109.84
Santa Rosa Salary Report

Stockton-Lodi

Average Social Workers Salary: $50,360
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $48,516
Hourly Wage: $24.21
Currently Employed: 410
Cost-of-Living Index: 103.80
Stockton-Lodi Salary Report

Vallejo-Fairfield

Average Social Workers Salary: $59,680
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $55,045
Hourly Wage: $29
Currently Employed: 250
Cost-of-Living Index: 108.42
Vallejo-Fairfield Salary Report

Visalia-Porterville

Average Social Workers Salary: $53,130
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $54,453
Hourly Wage: $25.54
Currently Employed: 710
Cost-of-Living Index: 97.57
Visalia-Porterville Salary Report

Yuba City

Average Social Workers Salary: $51,960
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $52,221
Hourly Wage: $25
Currently Employed: 110
Cost-of-Living Index: 99.50
Yuba City Salary Report

Official Data Sources for Social Workers: Salary Data | Projected Employment | Cost of Living Data