Well, your pay depends on what kind of social worker you want to be. Here’s the main kind and what they do (hope it helps):
There are social workers that work for CPS (Child Protective Services). They are investigators and case managers. They deal with allegations of abuse and children that have suffered from abuse and neglect. It is demanding but rewarding work and pays well in (only) a few states. This is what I do (for 7 years) in California and it pay about $60,000 a year. Most states don’t pay this well.
There is also APS (Adult Protective Services). They investigate allegations of abuse and neglect among the elderly, including financial abuse. Their educational requirements are the same as CPS (I listed below) and the pay is about the same. In CA their pay is the same as CPS.
Public school districts also have social workers. They do some counseling with children and usually help families access services in their area. Not sure about their pay, but they get summer vacations off.
Hospitals also have social workers. Their job is usually to report to CPS if there are concerns (school social workers do this too) and to help families with services - such has finding respite care, helping new moms sign up for WIC and get free car seats. They usually don't have long-term involvement with a family. These social workers get paid pretty well.
The military hires civilian social workers for their Family Advocacy programs. They do a little informal counseling, help military families with getting services and run programs - everything from anger management and domestic violence classes to parenting classes and social groups. Average pay, actually depends on the branch of military that hires you, Air Force pays the best.
Family Courts also use social workers (at least in California) as family court mediators. You meet the parents, assess where the child would be best off and then make recommendations to the judge. Once you figure out what you'd like to do, you'll be able to look up the qualifications. Very good pay (again in CA)
EDUCATION - For the military, hospitals, school and family court you almost always need a masters degree (MFT – Marriage and Family Therapy or MSW – Master’s of Social Work). For CPS you usually only need a bachelors degree. Your degree can be in anything as long as you have a minor in social services (at least in California).
Keep in mind (if money is an issue) that the government offers the Title IV-E program in just about every state. The program is for social work students who want to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree. You get free tuition (plus a stipend for living expenses) to get a BSW or MSW degree. Then to pay it back, you have to work in that state (where ever you went to school) for CPS for a certain number of years. It's usually three years or four. This is a great option and if you do this, choose somewhere like California or New York where CPS workers actually get paid well.
Sorry for the long answer but I hope it helped.