While your degree sets you up with the knowledge for a career in social work, the skills you gain are also highly relevant for a range of related social care roles

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

Previous work experience in an area relating to social work is extremely important if you want to become a social worker. You could look for paid positions or voluntary work in community care centres, or working with children or with vulnerable adults.

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 participation 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 services. Increasingly, however, opportunities are available with voluntary organisations or charities, such as:

  • Action for Children
  • Barnardo's
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

You can also find work in the NHS in mental health trusts, community-based settings or in prisons. Jobs are available in the private sector, such as with private fostering agencies, and it's possible to do supply work for social work staffing agencies.

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
  • advocacy
  • negotiating plans and goals
  • 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 related area such as professional education and training. This provides skills in educating, mentoring and supporting others in social work education.

There is also the option to take other vocational courses, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which allows you to work as a teacher.

If you're interested in related careers you could take postgraduate qualifications in areas such as community justice, social policy, social research or counselling.

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

What do social work graduates do?

Over two-thirds of graduates in employment in the UK are working as social workers six months after graduation.

Further study4.8
Working and studying4.2
Graduate destinations for social work
Type of workPercentage
Legal, social and welfare81.8
Childcare, health and education work6.5
Retail, catering and bar work2
Health professionals1.8
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what social work graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.