Social Workers help individuals, families and communities to deal with and resolve personal issues and social problems or support them in times of crisis. They deal with people face-to-face and work within policy development, education and research.
They can specialise in a wide range of areas including children and family, youth, violence and sexual assault, medical and health, child protection, income support, disability, education, aged care, correctional services, family law, youth justice, community legal, psychiatric and general mental health, refugees and migrants, and Indigenous communities.
If you’re a passionate and empathetic people person who would like to help others, or if you’re interested in breaking down barriers that contribute to inequality, discrimination, exploitation and oppression, then Social Work could be a rewarding career to consider.
- Empathy and emotional maturity
- Great interpersonal skills, especially listening and communication
- Ability to work independently or as part of a team
- Adaptability and problem solving
- Time management
- Leadership skills
- Professional ethics
- Good analytical and report writing abilities
- Ability to be objective
- Assessing clients’ needs and finding or providing appropriate support services
- Writing letters of referral or reports to help clients obtain services they need, e.g. crisis accommodation or social security benefits
- Helping community groups to plan and carry out programs, improve or develop services to improve their situation
- Monitor the progress of clients by maintaining contact
- Analyse statistics and write reports
- Develop policies and evaluate programs
- Manage, mentor or train other staff
- Attend professional meetings relevant to your caseload to provide the best outcomes for clients
- Lobby to change social welfare policies and procedures in the pursuit of social justice
Lifestyle Impact: Moderate
- Part Time opportunities: Moderate – around 36% of Social Workers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Average hours for full-time workers: 41 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Social Workers’ salary (median) $63,000* per year (source: ato.gov.au). *Salaries greatly vary depending on your skills and experience.
- Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- You will be doing work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors.
- You might need to work on weekends and holidays, as well as late at night and early in the morning.
- More than a third of workers reported regularly working overtime or extra hours (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
Social Workers are most in demand in these locations:
There is demand for Social Workers in both metropolitan and regional and rural areas. Most Social Workers work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.
How to become a Social Worker
You will need to complete a relevant university-level degree in order to work as a Social Worker in Australia.
Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English and Maths.
Step 2 – Undertake a relevant undergraduate qualification, such as a Bachelor of Social Work.
Step 3 – Ensure you have any other relevant qualifications, such as First Aid and a Working with Children Check.
Step 4 – Apply for registration with the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Step 5 – Consider moving into specialised roles in family therapy, research, mental health, academia or policy and management.
Find out more here –
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What options are there for career progression?
You can specialise in a wide range of areas including children and family, youth, violence and sexual assault, medical and health, child protection, income support, disability, education, aged care, correctional services, family law, youth justice, community legal, psychiatric and general mental health, refugees and migrants, and Indigenous communities.
Do I need to go to university to become a Social Worker?
You will need to go to university and obtain a relevant qualification in order to become a Social Worker in Australia.
Where do Social Workers work?
Social Workers can work from private clinics, community facilities, hospitals, for government bodies, in youth groups, or directly within the community.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Social Worker?
If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Social Worker is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
- Get out in your community and volunteer – it doesn’t necessarily need to be in health. This is a great way to build important skills.
- See if you can find work experience in health. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
- Talk to a Social Worker to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career in dance.