Become a social worker

Social work is a profession you may want to consider if you have a passion to help others, and you want to improve the well-being of people and society.

It is an excellent career choice if you enjoy working with a diverse population and feel you could support and safeguard society's vulnerable people through difficult times.

To practice as a social worker, you need a degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level. 

Find out more about the different entry routes through the teaching partnership.

In addition to a recognised qualification, you will need to demonstrate a range of personal skills.

These include:

  • empathy
  • resilience
  • listening
  • communication
  • analytical
  • organisation
  • motivation
  • commitment

Having previous experience would help your application. This could be paid or voluntary work. Volunteering will give you an insight into whether this type of work is ideal for you. 

Qualifying as a social worker

There are a range of routes that you can take to become a social worker. They vary in length depending on the type of course.

These include:

  • full-time undergraduate degrees that last three years
  • approved full-time postgraduate courses that last two years
  • the full-time Step Up to Social Work programme that lasts 14 months
  • social work apprenticeships which usually take three years

Career opportunities as a social worker

You can work in a range of places such as:

  • local authorities
  • NHS trusts
  • voluntary sectors
  • private sectors

Clients may include:

  • children
  • adults
  • the elderly
  • families
  • those with disabilities
  • those with addictions
  • those with learning difficulties
  • those with mental health issues

Other useful sites

Become a Social Worker (BASW)

They provide guidance on what to expect from a career in social work as well as up to date information about social work reform. 

Visit the BASW website for more information. 

Social Work England

The regulator for social work from 2 December 2019.

Visit the Social Work England website for more information.

Community Care

They provide the latest social work news and jobs.

Visit the Community Care website for updates.

Skills for Care

They provide a range of information and services to develop you as a social worker.

Visit the Skills for Care website for more information.


In partnership with

Medway Council Kent County Council University of Kent logo Canterbury Christ church University Skills for Care logo Open University logo