Social Work Educational Debt and Salary Survey: A Snapshot from Ohio

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Educational debt is on the rise, and social work salaries remain low compared with salaries of other similarly educated and trained professionals. To better understand the implications of educational debt for social workers, an online survey was sent to social workers in Ohio. More than 700 respondents provided information concerning educational debt and social work wages. It was found that educational attainment levels were correlated with educational debt burden but did not affect the length of the payback period. In contrast, type of practice setting did not affect educational debt burden but did affect payback period. Regarding social work wages, educational levels affected salaries; specifically, more time spent earning a degree resulted in higher starting and current salaries. Those with an MSW earned more than those with only a bachelor’s degree in the field, both in starting and current salaries. Practice setting did not have an impact on starting salary but did affect current salary. This study has implications for social work education and advocacy work related to student debt forgiveness.



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