Salary Report for Kentucky Social Workers

  • The number of Social Workers currently employed in Kentucky is 6,700.
  • Social Workers in Kentucky earn an average of $43,440 per year or $20.89 per hour.
  • The percentage of U.S. Social Workers who work in Kentucky is 2%.
  • Kentucky will need 7,140 new Social Workers by 2030 or 670 new psychologists per year.

Kentucky Rankings

  • Kentucky ranks #45 in the U.S. for Social Workers salary and #47 when adjusted for cost-of-living.
  • Kentucky ranks #18 in the U.S. for the total number of Social Workers employed.
  • Kentucky ranks #19 in U.S. for the number of new Social Workers needed by 2030.
  • Kentucky ranks #49 in U.S. for the percentage of new Social Workers needed by 2030.

Compare Kentucky to U.S.

Kentucky Social Workers earn an average of $43,440 which is 20% less than the national average salary of $54,880.

TypeKentuckyU.S.% Difference
Average Hourly Wage$20.89$26.39-20.84%
Average Annual Salary$43,440$54,880-20.85%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Salary Range by Education and Experience

In Kentucky, 50% of Social Workers earn between $35,860 and $48,330 a year, depending on factors such as level of education, experience, location and place of employment.

About 10% of Social Workers earn more than $60,690, a rate generally associated with highly educated and experienced Social Workers.

Approximately 10% of Social Workers earn under $30,460, a rate generally reserved for less experienced or entry level Social Workers.

PercentExperienceEmployedAnnual Salary
10%Less than a Year670Under $30,460
15%2 – 4 years1,005$30,460 – $35,860
25%5 – 9 years1,675$35,860 – $40,310
25%10 – 14 years1,675$40,310 – $48,330
15%15 – 20 years1,005$40,310 – $60,690
10%20+ years670Above $60,690
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 Kentucky psychologists earn about $48,385 per year which is less than the average U.S. psychologist of $54,880.

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

  • National average salary for Social Workers is $54,880.
  • Average Kentucky Social Workers salary is $43,440.
  • Adjusted for cost-of-living, Kentucky Social Workers earn an average salary of $48,385.

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

Salary Compared to Related Professions

With an average annual salary of $43,440, Kentucky Social Workers tend to earn less than Forensic Psychologists ($97,370), Clinical and Counseling Psychologists ($96,290), School Psychologists ($67,930), Psychology Teachers ($63,940), Marriage and Family Therapists ($57,210), Health Care Social Workers ($55,540), and Substance Abuse Counselors ($45,310).

TitleAnnual Salary
Forensic Psychologists$97,370
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists$96,290
School Psychologists$67,930
Psychology Teachers$63,940
Marriage and Family Therapists$57,210
Health Care Social Workers$55,540
Substance Abuse Counselors$45,310
Social Workers$43,440
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 Kentucky the three professions needing the most new psychologists by 2030 are Social Workers (7,140), Substance Abuse Counselors (5,160) and Health Care Social Workers (1,820).

The three professions in Kentucky needing highest percentage new psychologists by 2030 are Substance Abuse Counselors (25.9%), Marriage and Family Therapists (16.7%) and Health Care Social Workers (10.3%).

Title20202030ChangeYearly Openings
Social Workers6,8907,1403.6%670
Substance Abuse Counselors4,1005,16025.9%530
Health Care Social Workers1,6501,82010.3%180
Forensic Psychologists610600-1.6%40
Marriage and Family Therapists48056016.7%60
Psychology Teachers4204507.1%40
Industrial Organizational Psychologists1201308.3%10
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 2022*

Salaries Ranked by Kentucky Cities

The average salary for Social Workers in Kentucky is $43,440. The top cities that pay Social Workers the most are Lexington-Fayette ($49,010), Louisville/Jefferson County ($47,170) and Owensboro ($45,250).

When adjusted for cost-of-living, the cities that pay Social Workers the highest average annual salary are Lexington-Fayette ($52,614), Louisville/Jefferson County ($51,322) and Owensboro ($50,189).

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
Lexington-Fayette$49,010$52,614$3,604
Louisville/Jefferson County$47,170$51,322$4,152
Owensboro$45,250$50,189$4,939
Elizabethtown-Fort Knox$43,840$48,792$4,952
Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area$41,440$48,175$6,735
South Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area$40,890$47,535$6,645
West Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area$40,710$47,326$6,616
Bowling Green$40,640$45,535$4,895
East Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area$39,350$45,745$6,395
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce – 2022*

Salary FAQ for Kentucky Social Workers

Kentucky Social Workers earn between $30,460 and $60,690 a year depending on their level of education, experience and skill.

There are currently 6,700 Social Workers employed in Kentucky which is about 2% of the U.S. total.

Forensic Psychologists are the highest paid psychologists in Kentucky with an average annual wage of $97,370.

An entry level psychologist makes as much as $30,460 a year in Kentucky

The most Social Workers work in the Louisville/Jefferson County area where 1,400 Social Workers are employed.

After being adjusted for cost-of-living, Social Workers in Kentucky earn 48,385 per year, while the average across the United States earns $54,880.

By 2030, Kentucky will need 7,140 Social Workers. A total of 670 Social Workers will need to enter into the Kentucky work forces each year.

City and Rural Summaries

Bowling Green

Average Social Workers Salary: $40,640
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $45,535
Hourly Wage: $19.54
Currently Employed: 260
Cost-of-Living Index: 89.25
Bowling Green Salary Report

Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area

Average Social Workers Salary: $41,440
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $48,175
Hourly Wage: $20
Currently Employed: 880
Cost-of-Living Index: 86.02
Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Salary Report

East Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area

Average Social Workers Salary: $39,350
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $45,745
Hourly Wage: $18.92
Currently Employed: 940
Cost-of-Living Index: 86.02
East Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Salary Report

Elizabethtown-Fort Knox

Average Social Workers Salary: $43,840
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $48,792
Hourly Wage: $21
Currently Employed: 220
Cost-of-Living Index: 89.85
Elizabethtown-Fort Knox Salary Report

Lexington-Fayette

Average Social Workers Salary: $49,010
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $52,614
Hourly Wage: $23.56
Currently Employed: 780
Cost-of-Living Index: 93.15
Lexington-Fayette Salary Report

Louisville/Jefferson County

Average Social Workers Salary: $47,170
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $51,322
Hourly Wage: $23
Currently Employed: 1,400
Cost-of-Living Index: 91.91
Louisville/Jefferson County Salary Report

Owensboro

Average Social Workers Salary: $45,250
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $50,189
Hourly Wage: $21.75
Currently Employed: 180
Cost-of-Living Index: 90.16
Owensboro Salary Report

South Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area

Average Social Workers Salary: $40,890
Adjusted for Cost of Living: $47,535
Hourly Wage: $20
Currently Employed: 850
Cost-of-Living Index: 86.02
South Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Salary Report

West Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area

Average Social Workers Salary: $40,710
Adjusted for Cost-of-Living: $47,326
Hourly Wage: $19.57
Currently Employed: 630
Cost-of-Living Index: 86.02
West Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Salary Report

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