How to become a social worker in the UK

Updated: Mar 12

Social work involves caring for people in difficult circumstances and supporting them and

their families. It can be challenging at times, but it is a very rewarding role. Social workers

have a significant positive impact on peoples' lives and help to alleviate the struggles they

may be facing. If you are considering a UK career in social work, then be sure to read on.


What does social work entail?


In the UK, a lot of social work is office-based but often involves travelling about frequently to

visit service users, provide information and support where needed. The types of people you

work with include vulnerable children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and drug or

alcohol abusers. You will spend time around particular groups of people depending on where

you end up working.


Not only can you get a job in a government agency, but there are positions available in

schools, hospitals, charities, and churches, to name a few. There is a lot of flexibility when it

comes to social work, so you can have a look around and decide on an option that is the

best fit for you and your skills.


Prerequisites and qualifications needed to become a social worker


In order to start social work in the UK, you need to have completed a recognised social work

qualification. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work are some of the most widely

recognized qualifications across the UK, so they are a good thing to aim for if you are

looking to become a social worker.


No previous experience:

If you do not have the proper qualifications and experience, you

cannot become a professional social worker just yet. You will need to start by planning

things out a bit and look towards enrolling in an appropriate course if social work is

something you would like to get into. There are various courses and programmes you can

apply to online, so be sure to have a browse.


International Social workers transferring to the UK:

If you have been practising as a social worker already outside of the UK, and would like to start a career in social work in the UK, you will need to provide information about your existing qualifications and experience to Social Work England. They are a specialist regulator for social workers in England with advisers on hand to look at your information and decide whether your skills are adequate for a UK career in social work. If they decide that you are missing any crucial skills, you may need to undertake some special training to get yourself up to date on things.


Already have a degree but want to switch over to social work?

If you have already completed a degree in something else, it is possible to do a 2-year postgraduate master’s degree in social work to get where you need to be. There are even certain specialised fast-track programmes you can sign up for too!


Frontline is a great social work programme that might be worth considering. You can earn

money as part of this programme while studying for a fully funded degree in social work. Be

sure to check out the Frontline website for more information and a full list of eligibility

requirements. You will need at least a 2:1 in an undergraduate degree to apply.


Salary and working hours

Salaries for social work jobs vary depending on the position, but they generally start around

£24,000 - £30,000 for newly qualified workers. This can go on to exceed £40,000 per year

as you take on more responsibilities and gain valuable skills.


When it comes to working hours, you can expect to work roughly 37 hours per week for a

full-time job. Social work typically involves a fair bit of time outside traditional working hours,

so you may be tasked with things to do in the evenings and on weekends. Part-time work is

also an option if you’re not looking for a full-time position.


Why choose social work?

Social work can be challenging at times, but it is a great way to give back to the community

and help those in less fortunate positions than yourself. If you want to make a positive

difference in the world and do not know where to start, then perhaps it is worth considering

venturing into the world of social care. The job market for social workers is always growing

too, so there will always be positions available.

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