What can I do with a social work degree?
As a social worker, you’re responsible for working with people in the community that need support, such as children, the elderly, people who suffer from a disability, lower-income families and people who have mental health difficulties. You will have the opportunity to work in various environments, from family homes and schools to care homes and prisons.
As a social worker, you can expect your role to include interviewing individuals or families and assessing their needs, writing assessments based on these visits, making recommendations for the best care and support, liaising with other agencies such as the police, crown prosecution services, charities, etc., attending cases and keeping up-to-date records on databases.
You will have fantastic communication skills and should be naturally empathetic, understanding and caring. A role in social work will require you to be a good listener.
Natural career paths following a social work degree:
- Education mental health practitioner
- Family support worker
- High-intensity therapist
- Social worker
Transferable skills career paths:
- Adult guidance worker
- Advice worker
- Community development worker
- Education consultant
- Equality, diversity and inclusion officer
- Housing manager/officer
- Life coach
- Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Youth worker
These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees.
Those wanting a career in social work should investigate doing an industry placement – pre-entry work is valued highly. Your careers department at your university should be able to help you identify these. These may include opportunities within the following:
- Community care centres
- Counselling settings
- Youth centres
Previous experience will demonstrate your interest in helping people that may find themselves in difficult situations. It will showcase your genuine desire to improve the lives of others and an opportunity to develop and hone the skills needed for a role in social work.
Any kind of pre-entry experience will give your application an advantage. It will also allow you to network and build a list of contacts who may become useful in the future.
The majority of social work will be found in local authority children’s or adult social services. However, other settings that demand the expertise of social workers include:
- Children’s homes
- Educational settings
- Primary care trusts
- Private fostering agencies or nursing homes
- Voluntary organisations or charities
- Youth justice settings
- UK police forces
Below are some of the job titles you earn with a social work degree:
- Social worker
- Community Development Manager
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager
- Health Administrator
- Family Support Worker
- Child Protection Officer
- Youth Worker
- Education Consultant
- Regulatory Inspector
Skills for your CV
Through your degree and placement year, you will learn various professional skills through shadowing professionals in industry settings like the NHS, schools, homes and youth centres. You will also learn industry-standard skills such as ethics, including respecting diversity and promoting social justice, alongside softer skills that will allow you to become more accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative.
Alongside this, you will have developed additional skills which will be transferable. Make sure the following skills are highlighted on your CV:
- Communication skills
- Analysing a situation and problem solving
- Managing conflict and ability to mediate
- Negotiating plans and goals
- Strong observational and listening skills
- Effective time management.
To succeed in a social work role, you have to be confident and comfortable engaging with other people, especially when dealing with vulnerable or young groups, so that you can act on their needs efficiently and professionally. You have to possess the skills to tackle problems, make decisions that you are confident in, and implement the most suitable strategies in various situations.
Further study is not essential for a role in social work. You may choose to do a postgraduate qualification in a different or specialised area, but many social work graduates become social workers immediately after graduation.
Some social work graduates decide that straight social work is not for them and have gone on to study a related field such as community justice, social policy, social research or counselling. A degree in social work opens many different doors to a wide range of career opportunities.
What are social work graduates doing?
Most social work graduates work as welfare professionals upon graduation (71%). The top professions held by social work graduates include welfare and house associate, care workers, teaching and childcare support occupations and managers and proprietors in health and care services.
The UWS BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme has been designed to provide you with a transformational learning experience to develop essential critical knowledge and critical practice, to qualify and practice as a professional social worker. The programme has been approved by the Scottish Social Services Council.
Social work is a hugely rewarding career path that can present complex challenges. The social work profession is committed to social justice through working in partnership with people to support their needs and to address identified risks. The BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme promotes critical awareness and professional identity in line with these stated professional aims.
Discover what it means to become a professionally qualified Community Educator with our BA Community Education degree.
This degree is perfect for anyone interested in working with young people, adults and communities to learn how to live the best life possible and challenge discrimination and all forms of injustice.
Teaching, learning and assessment are underpinned by theories and practices relating to youth and community work, equality and social justice, well-being and community empowerment.
Qualify as a social worker through this professionally accredited two-year MSc programme by developing the practical skills and knowledge you need to play a crucial role in improving people’s lives.
The programme offers a challenging and stimulating range of learning opportunities that will equip graduates with the key attributes necessary to work effectively in an increasingly globalised and pluralistic working environment.