Social worker

Social Worker Jobs

Social worker jobs… did you know?

Many members of our society need extra support in their lives during times of difficulty. As a social worker you could be working with families, children, the elderly, people with physical/mental health problems or learning difficulties, homeless people, refugees, people affected by drugs/alcohol and people who have either committed a crime or been affected by one.
‘Social worker’ is a great name for this job because it involves spending time with all kinds of members of society and it definitely involves work! If you’re passionate about supporting the people who need it most, social work could be a great job for you.

Industry: Social care

Social worker job trends

How much money can you make as a social worker?

£24,000 – £40,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £24,000 and £40,000 a year as a social worker in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a social worker will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

Social work is one of those jobs where you definitely need a degree. You can’t become a qualified social worker unless you have a degree in social work approved by the Health and care professions Council (HPC).

It usually takes you three years of full-time study to pass your degree as an undergraduate.
Every university has its own requirements for what you need to apply for a social work degree. However, in most cases you will need three A-levels or equivalent Level 3 qualifications. You’ll also need five GCSEs or the equivalent including English, maths and science. Universities may also accept other health and social care qualifications like BTECs or HND/HNCs.

What if you already have a degree, and it’s a 2:1 or above but it isn’t in social work? If this sounds like you, you can apply to a fast-track training route which means you don’t have to do a full social work degree to get into the profession.
Training routes are available with:

Career Progression

In your first year of work, your employer may offer you an Assessed and Supported year in Employment(AYSE). If you pass your ASYE in your first year of employment as a social worker you’ll get a Fitness to Practice certificate.

You’ll also get:

  • Regular supervision
  • A training and development plan
  • Time to train and develop while working

Once you’ve done your ASYE you’ll get a training pathway to boost your skills and progress, and your employer may also give you the chance to study for an MA in advanced professional practice.
Lots of social workers join the British Association of Social Workers. It helps them build their skills and knowledge with specialised professional development courses.

Over time, you could get a senior social work job and either supervise others or work in different specialised services with a different range of people. Depending on which area you choose to specialise in, you could move into roles like being a senior mental health practitioner.

What experience do you need for social care jobs?

Work experience

Any work experience or volunteering you have done to work with vulnerable people can help you decide if this is the right career move for you.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work experience placements on a college or university course

What skills do you need for social worker jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • Excellent communication and listening skills
  • Diplomacy and understanding
  • Being able to stay calm when situations get stressful.
  • Good IT, administration, organisational and self-management skills
  • Good teamwork skills – you will be building relationships with families and groups, and you’ll also work closely with professionals like doctors and nurses, psychiatrists, teachers, police and the courts.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a social worker do?

You could work with a wide range of people including people at risk of abuse or neglect, domestic violence victims, young offenders or asylum seekers. Your job is to help improve their lives.

Some day-to-day job responsibilities include:

  • Assessing someone’s situation by interviewing them, potentially interviewing their family or carers, and gathering information from other agencies
  • Offering counselling and information
  • Creating support plans for a person, after agreeing what they need (in some cases, such as child protection, you will have the legal power to decide along with your professional colleagues what is necessary to protect that vulnerable person)
  • Taking part in supervision meetings where you discuss your cases with a colleague
  • Attending case conferences, tribunals and court when required
  • Attending case conferences, tribunals and court when required

Your first steps into social worker jobs

Social worker jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Social worker
  • Newly qualified social worker
  • Social worker for older adults / children

Useful organisations and links for healthcare and social care careers

Careers Help
Your Life and Career Choices
Become a Young Professional