Social Worker


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

  • You’ll need a degree in social work approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • You can study as an undergraduate, which will usually take 3 years full-time.  If you’ve already got a first degree in another subject, you can take a 2 year master’s degree in social work. When you qualify, you must also register with the HCPC.
  • If your degree isn’t in social work, and if it’s a 2:1 or above, you could apply to a fast-track training route like ‘Frontline’, ‘Think Ahead’ or ‘Step Up to Social Work’.
  • You’ll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).


You will need the following skills:

  • Excellent communication and listening skills;
  • The ability to build working relationships with families, groups and professionals;
  • Tact and understanding;
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations;
  • Problem solving and report writing skills;
  • The ability to make decisions and use your professional judgement;
  • Administration and organisational skills;
  • IT skills.
  • You’ll work with a range of people including children, families and vulnerable adults needing protection.
  • The people you’ll support could be homeless children or adults, or people with drug, alcohol or substance misuse problems. In some roles, you might support children and adults with learning disabilities or physical disabilities.

You might also work with:

  • people of all ages with mental health problems
  • Looked after children and young people
  • carers and adopters
  • older people
  • people receiving end of life and palliative care
  • people in prison with social care needs
  • young offenders
  • refugees and asylum seekers
  • people at risk of abuse and neglect or who have been abused or neglected
  • victims of domestic violence

You’ll provide help and support to improve people’s lives. You may visit people in their homes to look at their needs and build relationships with them. Your day-to-day tasks may include:


  • 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

The following is a guide only:

  • Starter: £24,000 (newly qualified).
  • Experienced: up to £40,000.
  • A newly qualified social worker could expect to earn £24,000 per annum. This could rise to £40,000 per annum for an experienced social worker depending on their location.


Working Conditions

  • You’ll usually work office hours or on a rota. You may work shifts, including nights, or be on call.
  • You may work in an office. Most offices operate a hot-desk system where you’ll be expected to work flexibly.
  • You may visit people in their homes. You could also work in a hospital or in a day, health or residential centre.


Further Information

For further information click on the links below:

Next Steps

Skills for Care



British Association of Social Workers

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