Financially speaking, Dallas-Fort Worth ranks as the best metro area in the country for social workers, school counselors, health educators, probation officers, and others in community service and social service professions, according to a new study fromapartment website RentCafé.
Based on its analysis of data from MIT and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, RentCafé found that compared with their professional counterparts in 99 other major metro areas in the U.S., workers in community service and social service in DFW were left with the most money ($21,200 at the end of the year) after paying for living expenses.
The community service and social service fields cover a broad swath of careers. What follows is a sampling of those jobs, along with their median U.S. pay in 2017, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- School or career counselor, $55,410
- Probation officer, $51,410
- Marriage or family therapist, $48,790
- Social worker, $47,980
- Health educator, $45,360
- Rehab counselor, $34,860
A broad brush won’t paint a complete picture of the pay for professionals in community service and social service, but a look at the situation for one segment — social workers — might help put things into sharper focus.
Miriam Nisenbaum, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, says that how much a social worker earns in DFW or anywhere else in Texas depends greatly on his or her level of education and experience.
The pay also varies based on the sector where a social worker is employed, such as a hospital, government agency, home health service, or private practice, Nisenbaum says. In addition, the pay fluctuates according to whether a social worker is in management or is providing frontline services, she says.
Regardless of how much she and other social workers earn, Nisenbaum wants to dispel the notion that they’re not interested in being properly compensated.
“We’re not doing it because we love it and don’t care how much we get paid,” she says. “We have bills like everybody else.”
One group of folks in DFW might have an easier time paying their bills. People in management positions rank as the highest-paid workers in the region and pocket the most money at the end of the year ($69,400) after paying for living expenses, according to RentCafé.
At the other end of the financial spectrum in DFW are those in personal care and personal service jobs, who are left with $4,200 in annual debt after they cover living expenses, the RentCafé study shows. Those jobs include hairstylist, manicurist, fitness trainer, and childcare worker. Among the jobs in that category, childcare worker was the lowest-paid, collecting just $22,290 in median pay in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.