How to become a social worker

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What does a social worker do. Jane Barry is a socail worker with a large city council. She works in a busy child protection team and steps in where there are concerns that a child is being abused or neglected physically.

Social worker salary

  • Social worker pay for newly qualified social worker jobs should pay about £17,200 (more in London), increasing to about £28,000 with experience and additional qualifications. A senior social workers salary will be circa 40,000.
  • Social worker manager jobs can be paid to 60,000 a year and senior manager social workers jobs pay 70,000 annually.

Social work training

  • What do I need to become a social worker? To be a social worker you need a social work honours degree or social workers post-graduate qualification in social work.
  • Social work Degree courses involve a combination of course work and a minimum of 200 days spent in working practice settings.
  • Once you're a qualified social worker you will need to get on the social worker register with the General Social Care Council (GSCC) before you can practise.
  • MSW, a postgraduate study for a Masters of social work degree once you have obtained your social worker degree.

Child social worker

I intervene in a family if a child is at risk of being harmed or neglected. Although I work with the whole family, my job is to represent the interests of the child. The children I work with are aged up to 16 years.

What do social workers do

If there are suspicions that a child may be at risk, I make home visits to see the child, families and carers. I observe, talk and listen to the children and adults in the family and decide whether there are grounds for concern.

I then assess any risk to the child and decide on a plan of action. Building relationships, establishing trust and giving practical and emotional support are very important aspects of the work. I suggest ways families can make positive changes and support them as they put the changes into practice.

Child social worker

Child social workers have to intervene in a child at serious risk case. I can get a child protection order to put them into local authority care or foster care. If possible, I will continue to work with the family, helping them to make changes that could mean the child can eventually come home.

Socail worker and police

For social work I may have to work closely with the police on joint child protection investigations, collating information and speaking directly to people involved. I could interview a child about whether abuse has taken place and what actually happened, recording the interview on DVD. I appear in court to give evidence and represent the child's interests.

Who else do you work with?

I work very closely with a range of other professionals, sharing information about children who may be at risk. They include teachers, housing staff, health visitors and midwives. It is essential to keep in regular contact as they often have information that I need for my job.

What other skills do you need to become a social worker?

You must have confidence to deal with stressful situations involving family members.You need warmth, openness and honesty to inspire trust and build relationships with children and the family involved. Listening and observation skills help you assess family situations and relationships. Counselling skills help people to address problems and make positive changes. Keeping accurate records and completing regular reports and other paperwork means that computer skills are useful.

What hours do socail workers work?

I work from 8.45 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. but I often have to work late. If someone reports their concerns about a child at 4.50 p.m. on Friday, I cannot go home and put it on hold until Monday.

Whats best about a social worker job

I deal with a wide range of complex issues and meet all sorts of people in my work, so it is always stimulating and challenging. Most important, I act as a voice for children who cannot protect themselves and I play a role in revealing and stopping child abuse. There is a real sense of achievement.

Jane's route to her social worker job












  • SNNEB Nursery Nursing course.
  • Children's nanny.
  • Diploma in Health & Social Welfare.
  • HNC in Social Sciences with Management.
  • MA Social Work.

Social worker tips

  • Social science subjects are a good preparation for this career.
  • Contact your local social services department or one of the voluntary agencies to arrange some voluntary work with people.

Related Social worker jobs

  • Social care worker
  • Counsellor
  • Education welfare officer
  • Probation officer
  • Residential social worker
  • Teacher of special educational needs

Modified: 16 June 2013

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