What does a social worker do?
The role of social workers can be incredibly varied, day to day tasks will depend a lot on the setting in which they work. Social workers generally provide support to clients, which can include delivering counselling, family therapy, case management, and assisting people to engage with other social services. Social workers often contribute to policy development and research projects, as well as delivering training and education programs. They contribute to consultation processes and public debates on important social issues and also have a central role as an advocate with other professions and agencies to get the needs of their clients considered.
- Counsel and support clients
- Advocate for client needs with other agencies and individuals
- Contribute to policy development and research
- Deliver training and education
What skills do I need to be a social worker?
Social workers need to be able to work well with people from diverse backgrounds. They must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, as well as keeping excellent records of their work. Social workers also benefit from having good organisational skills as they often have to manage competing priorities across multiple work areas. It is also important that social workers have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of how to deliver effective social services.
- Strong people skills
- Effective written and verbal communication abilities
- Organised and good at prioritising
- Proactive in professional development
There are numerous specialisations available to social workers as their careers progress. One option is to become a subject matter expert, dedicating your professional focus to one group such as working solely with juvenile offenders or addressing the needs of disabled clients. It is also possible for social workers to take on management roles, overseeing projects or programs.
Subject Matter Expert
Study pathways for social workers
Social workers in Australia must either hold a Bachelor in Social Work, or, if they hold a relevant Bachelors degree in other subject, a Masters of Social Work.
Find out what it takes to work in social services with these entry level courses.
Add to your existing skills with a targeted social work qualification.
Take your social work career to the next level.
Many employers require a social worker to be registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your social work career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for social work jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
Demand for social workers has grown significantly in recent years and this trend is projected to continue. Starting salaries are not considered high in this sector although there is often a great deal of flexibility in social work positions which many workers find beneficial.