Turn your natural empathy into a rewarding and critically needed career helping people unlock their potential by studying a social work course.
What do social work graduates do?
As a social worker, you’ll work closely with marginalised people to provide support, advice and assistance on a range of social, emotional, health and welfare matters. You’ll also be responsible for coordinating the services of a variety of different agencies and stakeholders in your client’s life.
As a social worker, you can expect to perform tasks like:
- Meeting with new clients to assess their needs and design support programs;
- Identifying available resources for health, welfare, recreation, housing, employment and other community services;
- Monitoring and reporting on the progress of clients;
- Referring clients to services;
- Communicating with service delivery agencies, including housing, education, employment, counselling and health services, for the benefit of your clients;
- Meeting with families, employers and other people in the client’s environment, and assessing community needs and resources;
- Working closely with community organisations, social agencies and other service delivery providers to improve services for clients and develop new initiatives;
- Providing leadership and assistance for the implementation of pilot projects in community development and self-help;
- Analysing, developing, promoting and implementing social policies through the use of practical experience, research, analytic frameworks and negotiation skills;
- Managing case files and records; and
- Preparing reports, research and submissions to government and service bodies, and advocating on behalf of clients.
Social work is relational, and your tasks will depend uniquely on your clients and their needs. A successful social worker will focus on building excellent relationships, and providing the support, assistance and advice that will help the client create the change in their life they want to see.
After completing a social work course, you may choose to seek employment as a:
- Parole Officer
- Community Worker
- Youth Worker
- Disability Support Worker
- Welfare Worker
- Community Centre Manager
- Community Support Worker
- Probation Worker
- Rehabilitation Counsellor
- Policy Analyst
- Social Worker
- Probation Officer
- Human Service Assistant
- Child Social Worker
- School Social Worker
- Health Care Worker
- Medical Health Social Worker
- Mental Health Worker
- Child Welfare Worker
- view all
You’ll find social work stimulating and rewarding if you:
- Are empathetic and patient
- Believe in the value and dignity of everyone
- Enjoy working with people
- Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Like problem-solving
- Enjoy building relationships
- Have strong organisational and time management skills
- Can think strategically
- Can work well independently and with groups
- Have a desire for learning
- Are committed to supporting others
- Are passionate about human rights
The Australian Government’s Job Outlook reports that the social work industry in Australia is large and growing. Currently employing approximately 30,800 people, the industry is expected to grow strongly until at least 2020, where it will employ approximately 39,500 people. Job Outlook reports that employment opportunities in this sector have been growing steadily over the last decade, and expects that rate of growth to continue.
PayScale reports that social workers can expect to earn a salary between $45,000 and $83,000 per year, with an average industry salary of approximately $62,000 per year. While a positive relationship exists between experience and earning capacity, PayScale notes that entry-level social workers can still earn a competitive average salary of approximately $58,000 per year.
PayScale notes that approximately 80 per cent of social workers have less than 10 years of work experience, indicating that people move from this profession as their careers progress. After gaining experience as a social worker, you may choose to work in a more senior role in management or administration in the public health sector, or in a policy role.