How to become a social worker

Want to know how to become a social worker in the UK? Discover the benefits, qualifications, and different routes you can take to pursue a career as a social worker.

Social workers are in high demand. If you’re thinking of joining this profession, you can be confident in your ability to secure a fulfilling role.

In this article, we'll cover:

What is a social worker?

A social worker is someone who works with vulnerable groups of people, providing care, support, and protection to individuals in need.

A social worker's role involves safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, preventing abuse and harm, and supporting people to live independently.

As a social worker, you’ll have the opportunity to work with people of all ages, during times in their lives when they need help finding solutions to their problems.

Key facts 

  • The average starting salary of a social worker is £27,000 as of 2024.
  • To work as a social worker you’ll have to register with one of four UK regulators.
  • You may be expected to work some evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
  • There are three main routes to becoming a social worker: university, apprenticeship and a graduate training scheme.

Why become a social worker?

Routes to becoming a social worker in the UK

Because social work is a graduate profession, you'll need degree level education in order to qualify.

There are three main routes to becoming a social worker in the UK:

  • University
  • Degree apprenticeship
  • Graduate training scheme

You could study a degree in social work at university. To work as a social worker in the UK, check that the degree is accredited by Social Work England.

If you already have a degree in another subject and want to retrain or change careers, you could study a postgraduate degree in social work.

To support your studies in social work, you may be eligible for a social work bursary.

Entry requirements

Depending on the institution, you’ll typically need:

  • Two to three A Levels, or equivalent
  • A degree in any subject if you want to study a postgraduate course

Always check the entry requirements for the course and institution you’re applying to.

What does a social worker do?

Your day-to-day will look different depending on if you work with children, families or adults.

As a social worker, you might:

  • meet with individuals and families to assess needs and create support plans
  • maintain records, write reports, and discuss cases with supervisors
  • ensure client safety and take necessary steps for their protection
  • help clients in building and sustaining independent living skills
  • work closely with communities, health professionals, and other agencies

Frequently asked questions about becoming a social worker

To summarise, becoming a social worker is an incredibly rewarding career and you'll have the opportunity to make a real difference to someone's life.

If you have questions or want to find out more about becoming a social worker, chat to our team.