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6 minute read

Salary Guide Singapore 2023: Social Services Sector

If you’re looking to make a real difference to people with the work that you do, learn more about the career pathways, job roles and salaries in the social services industry.

Some of you may feel a spark of joy when making another person’s day brighter, feel riled up when observing injustice, or simply want to offer a helping hand to people in need. Perhaps a career in social work could be your calling.

Having a big heart and a desire to help children, families and the elderly improve their lives is probably the one thing you will require to join this profession. Here, we break down the various job roles available in the social services industry, their salaries, and the qualifications you need to take on these roles.

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Get qualified with the proper education and certifications

There are several different paths to a career in social work. You can start off at any point in the education system, from Institute of Technical Education to A Levels.

Here’s a basic chart of the educational trajectory towards pursuing the social work profession:

Image Credit: Angela Teng/DollarsAndSense

University programmes offering a specialisation in Social Work include the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). The degrees are Bachelor of Social Work with or without honours for SUSS and Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Social Work for NUS.

If you are a mid-careerist, you can consider pursuing a Graduate Diploma or Master’s in Social Work from NUS or SUSS. There are also programmes and schemes that will help to facilitate a smooth career transition to the industry, such as the Career Conversion Programme for Social Workers.

Specialisation areas in Social Work

Social services roles span across a range of public to private entities, with about six areas of specialisation:

  • Children, Youth and Family
  • Eldercare
  • Disability
  • Rehabilitation and Protection
  • Medical, Psychiatric and Mental Health
  • Social Policy/Administration

For those who feel the calling to help children and their families who are struggling with social or psychological issues in school, at home or in the community, the path to specialise in will be Children, Youth, and Family. Social servic specialising in Eldercare tend to work with nursing homes and hospitals to take care of senior citizens, as well as to plan events and activities for them.

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How much are social workers paid?

The National Council of Social Services (NCSS) recommends social service agencies to take reference from their salary guidelines for the social service sector (with effect from April 2023).

The salary guidelines indicate market pay references for job roles in the sector and are reviewed regularly with annual adjustments to reflect general wage movement (guidelines should not be compared with previous years’ as job roles change over time).

Monthly gross salary comprises the base salary and fixed allowances. The recommended Starting Salaries denote positions that do not require significant transferable experience. The Reference Point denotes those who are competent on the job, and do not indicate the maximum point. In addition, individual salaries may reflect market conditions and respective agencies’ wage policies.

Training Officers

The person will have to assist and support the people requiring care with the implementation of programmes. This includes supporting clients, preparing teaching resources and planning activities that are part of the programmes.

The starting salary of a Training Assistant is $1,890 and can rise to $3,940 for competent Senior Training Officers.

NCSS salary guideline for training officers

Care Staff

A care staff provides personal care assistance to people who need support in their daily living and performs tasks according to the care plans developed by social services or healthcare professionals. They will document the health condition and care treatments of people under their care as well as accompany them between appointments and activities to ensure safe transfers.

According to NCSS, a Care Staff salary starts from $1,790 and can reach close to $3,000 for senior roles.

NCSS salary guideline for care staff


Those who work in nursing will have to manage patients’ care, train caregivers to provide basic care, assess patients’ physical and mental wellness and perform clinical procedures.

According to NCSS, a Senior Staff Nurse can earn above $4,000 if they are competent, with the entry level role being a Nursing Aide, at $1,670.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in nursing

Early Intervention (EI) Teaching

This role entails responsibility for implementing preschool programmes and curriculum, developing and preparing curriculum resources, as well as providing and maintaining a safe and conducive learning environment for students.

According to NCSS, an Educator Aide salary starts at $1,880 and a Senior Lead EI Educator can earn around $9,000.

Such roles are also open to educators with EI professional qualifications (Specialist Diploma in Early Childhood Intervention (Special Needs)) and a range of academic profiles, including Degree, Diploma, and experienced A-level holders.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in Early Intervention teaching


You will need to assess and formulate care plans for people who are under your care, and also provide interventions such as supportive counselling and service referral. There are different types of therapist roles including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, roles that require restoration efforts to allow planned recovery of patients’ health conditions.

According to NCSS, a Therapy Assistant salary starts at $1,790, and a Senior Principal Therapist, the highest-paying job for this profession, can earn more than $10,000.

Note: Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech-Language Therapists are required to be registered with the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC). You can refer to the AHPC website for more details here.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in therapy


You will have to manage and assess routine psychological cases, and provide structured brief interventions and routine psychological interventions. You will also have to deliver psychological and psychoeducational programmes.

According to NCSS, a Senior Principal Psychologist can earn $12,000 and an entry level Associate Psychologist earns $3,600.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in psychology

Social Work

You will be tasked to provide interventions and programmes, and perform community development work. You also have to prepare social reports as well as support the implementation of standards to manage people who need care.

According to NCSS, Social Workers earn a salary band of $2,570 to more than $11,000, depending on their experience.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in social work

Management/Executive Roles

This encompasses the more administrative roles in the social services industry. You will have to plan and implement policies that are aligned with the guidelines and practices of the social services industry. You will also manage and grow a team depending on your management level.

If you plan to enter this route, note that Clerical Officers or Associates start with salaries from $2,010. Meanwhile, a Head of Agency managing a large group (with operation budgets of more than $10 million) can earn $17,000.

NCSS salary guideline for job roles in management / executive

This article is contributed by DollarsAndSense.

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