Social work is a graduate profession and you will need either an honours or postgraduate degree in social work approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) in England, although the diploma in social work (DipSW) and other previous social work qualifications are still recognised as valid social work qualifications.
Entry for HND/foundation degree holders is normally via the undergraduate degree in social work. The following subjects may improve your chances or allow some exemptions:
Most undergraduate degrees are full-time courses lasting three years, although there are some part-time courses.
A minimum 2:2 honours degree is often needed for entry to the postgraduate professional training. If your degree is not in a relevant subject, such as social sciences, education, psychology or nursing, substantial work experience in a relevant area can increase your chances of being considered for training.
You need to have relevant experience before being accepted on to the postgraduate course. Gain as much work experience as possible, either through paid positions in community care centres or by undertaking relevant voluntary work.
Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
Empathy, combined with a genuine desire to improve the quality of the lives of service users, is essential, as is the ability to think on your feet and make difficult decisions under pressure. An interest/participation in some aspect of your local community is also useful. General administrative skills are also needed.
Contact Community Service Volunteers (CSV) for details of relevant voluntary work. Your local volunteer bureau may also be able to help you to find opportunities for work experience.
Both undergraduate and postgraduate courses cover the same topics and have a strong practical element with over 200 days (usually six to seven hours a day) of supervised work placements. Approved postgraduate courses are usually full time and last two years, although there are some part-time courses available.
Applications for most courses are made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) . A few part-time postgraduate degrees are available where applications should be made direct to the university. Search for further courses at the HCPC Register of Approved Programmes .
The Step Up to Social Work programme may be another possibility. It's an alternative, accelerated entry route which combines work and study. At the moment it's undecided whether there will be another intake of students, so check the website for details.
Some students may be eligible for a bursary; see NHS Student Bursaries for further details. This is currently under review.
Further information on how to train as a social worker is available on Skills for Care and the HCPC website.
Get specific information on entry requirements and paths to becoming a social worker in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland from the relevant social care workforce regulator:
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.