As well as becoming a social worker, a social work degree can lead you into many roles where you can help, support and guide people

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

You will complete work placements as part of your social work degree and these are extremely helpful in giving you some relevant experience as well as showing what the actual job is like.

Additional work experience that you set up yourself is also useful to have when it comes to applying for jobs as it will show your commitment to the role. This could be in areas such as community care centres, charities that work with vulnerable adults or children, counselling settings or youth centres.

Any roles that show you can demonstrate empathy, along with a genuine desire to improve the quality of the lives of others, are helpful.

An interest or involvement in your local community is also useful. Relevant voluntary work may be found through Volunteering Matters.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Most social workers are employed by local authority children's or adult social services. Increasingly, however, opportunities are available within other settings such as:

  • children's homes
  • educational settings
  • primary care trusts
  • prisons
  • private fostering agencies or nursing homes
  • voluntary organisations or charities
  • youth justice settings.

It's possible to do freelance work for social work staffing agencies or to work as an independent practitioner within social enterprises.

Find information on employers in healthcare, social care, charity and voluntary work, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A social work degree provides you with practical skills through placements carried out alongside professionals in, for example, the NHS, schools, police and housing.

Ethics, including respecting diversity and promoting social justice, is covered and you develop skills of judgement and become more accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative.

Transferable skills gained include:

  • communication skills
  • analysing a situation and problem solving
  • managing conflict and ability to mediate
  • advocacy
  • negotiating plans and goals
  • strong observational and listening skills
  • effective time management.

Further study

You can become a social worker immediately after completing your degree but if you decide to take another route, you could study a postgraduate qualification in a different area. This could be to focus your career on working with children or vulnerable adults, or to move into mentoring or offering advice and guidance.

If you're interested in related careers you could take postgraduate qualifications in areas such as community justice, social policy, social research or counselling. Or take on a teaching qualification to move into education.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in social work.

What do social work graduates do?

The majority (71%) of social work graduates in employment in the UK are working as welfare professionals 15 months after graduation. Welfare and housing associate professionals (9%), care workers (5%), teaching and childcare support occupations (2%) and managers and proprietors in health and care services (1%) are also among the top five most popular jobs held by social work graduates.

Further study2
Working and studying7.9
Graduate destinations for social work
Type of workPercentage
Legal, social and welfare86.7
Childcare, health and education6.4
Retail, catering and customer service1.2
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what social work graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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