Social worker

Social workers help to protect vulnerable children and adults from harm or abuse, and support people to live independently.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become a social worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme

University

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in social work approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

You can also do a 2-year postgraduate degree in social work, if you have a degree in another subject.

You may be eligible for social work funding.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or above and 2 to 3 A levels
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can complete a social worker degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Volunteering and experience

Experience of working with vulnerable groups or children is essential for most courses and jobs.

You can get experience by volunteering in the community, with a charity or through paid work. You can get more information on volunteering opportunities in your area from Do-it.

Other routes

You can apply to do an intensive, work-based training programme for graduates if you've got a first or upper second class degree in any subject except social work. The programmes are:

More information

Registration

Career tips

It's possible to do a degree in social work and learning disabilities nursing. You'll need to check that the course is recognised by the relevant professional bodies. Course providers can advise you on this.

Further information

You can get more advice about becoming a social worker from the British Association of Social Workers and Think Care Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • offering information and counselling
  • putting together support plans
  • keeping records and writing reports
  • working with other professionals
  • supervising team members
  • attending court
  • discussing your cases through regular supervision

Working environment

You could work in an office, in an NHS or private hospital, at an adult care home, at a children's care home or in the community.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

During your first year in work your employer may offer you professional development like the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (AYSE). This includes extra support like:

  • regular supervision
  • a training and development plan
  • time to meet your training and development needs

When you've completed your ASYE, you'll be given training to keep your skills up to date and to help you progress. Each local authority will have a career pathway, with some offering the chance to study for a postgraduate MA in Advanced Professional Practice.

With experience, you'll find opportunities to move into management, research or study for a PhD. You could also become a practice educator and train and mentor students from your partner university.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a social worker right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to Social Work - Higher Education Diploma

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: Blackpool

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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