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'll 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.

If you organise any additional work experience yourself it will demonstrate 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 experience that shows you have empathy, along with a genuine desire to improve the quality of the lives of others is 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, but you can also work 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

The placements you complete when studying a social work degree help you to develop essential practical skills for a career in social work. During your placements, you'll work alongside and learn from professionals in, for example, the NHS, schools, police and housing.

A particularly important skill you'll learn is how to consider ethics in your work, including respecting diversity and promoting social justice. You'll enhance your capacity to make sound judgement and become more accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative.

You'll also develop a range of useful transferable skills, such as:

  • the ability to communicate well
  • conflict management and mediation skills
  • the ability to analyse a situation and problem solve
  • advocacy
  • negotiation skills, for helping clients work out their 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 a related career, you could study for a postgraduate qualification in an area such as community justice, social policy, social research or counselling. A teaching qualification is another option, for a 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 (81%) of social work graduates in employment in the UK are working as welfare professionals (73%) or welfare and housing associate professionals (8%) 15 months after graduation.

Further study2
Working and studying7.8
Graduate destinations for social work
Type of workPercentage
Legal, social and welfare81.9
Childcare, health and education7.2
Clerical, secretarial and administrative2
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 Outcomes survey data from HESA.

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