Graduate jobs in social care

Jemma Smith, Editor
October, 2019

Social care jobs span a range of careers. You can work with individuals, groups or communities in diverse settings such as schools, hospitals, care homes, prisons and youth clubs. Learn more about the roles on offer

Adult guidance worker

Also known as education guidance workers, personal advisers or welfare advisers, adult guidance workers explain what education, work or training options are available to people and help them to make informed choices. You can work with marginalised or hard-to-reach groups or those without qualifications.

Starting salaries range from £19,000 to £25,000. This job is open to graduates of all disciplines; entry without a degree or HDN is possible for those with relevant experience, as long as you're prepared to train on the job.

Gain an insight into the role of an adult guidance worker.

Advice worker

Work to provide free, impartial, confidential advice to clients on issues including debt, employment, housing, welfare and education. Advice is given face-to-face, over the phone and via email and web chat services. You'll work in advice and community centres, courts, doctor's surgeries and prisons.

While a degree isn't required, many advice workers possess a degree or postgraduate qualification.

Discover what it's like to work as an advice worker.

Care manager

You're responsible for the day-to-day running of a residential care setting such as elderly or nursing homes, children's homes, hospice care or supported housing. You'll recruit staff, manage budgets and ensure quality care is provided.

While a degree isn't necessary many care managers have management qualifications or go on to further study in their specialism. A nursing, social work or health and social care degree can increase your chances of entry.

Average salaries depend on your role and service, but typically range from £25,500 to £37,000.

Find out more about working as a care manager.

Child psychotherapist

Social care jobs enable you to work with a variety of people of all ages. As a child psychotherapist you'll offer treatment to children and young people suffering from depression, aggression, anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, self-harming and psychosomatic disorders.

You'll need an honours degree to get onto one of the accredited training routes provided by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) or the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and extensive experience of working with babies, children, young people or families.

Discover what you could earn as a child psychotherapist.

Cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT)

CBT practitioners use talking therapy to help clients suffering with depression, anxiety OCD and panic disorders to overcome negative patterns of thinking and behaviour.

The job requires a degree in arts therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, psychotherapy or social work, as well as experience of working in mental health and a postgraduate CBT qualification.

A typical starting salary of £30,000 can be expected.

Community arts worker

Social care jobs also cover community roles such as a community arts worker, where you'll use a range of art forms to engage with service users, including crafts, creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual arts to support their development and improve their quality of life. You can work with young people, young offenders, the homeless, ethnic minorities and the elderly.

Look out for alternative job titles such as arts development officer, youth arts practitioner, and community projects assistant.

Take a look at the qualifications you'll need to become a community arts worker.

Community development worker

Helping communities to bring about social change and improve quality of life you'll work with individuals, families and community groups to tackle inequality and set goals for improvement. You'll be the link between communities and other local authority and voluntary sector providers, such as the police, social workers and teachers.

This area of work is open to all graduates and those with an HND but a degree or HND in social sciences may improve your chances.

Learn more about the salary of a community development worker.

Community education officer

Social care jobs can often overlap with other sectors such as healthcare, and in this case teaching and education. As a community education officer you'll help to organise and promote participation in local education or training opportunities. You'll work in diverse communities, often in areas of social deprivation or high unemployment.

Starting salaries in the public sector range from £23,000 to £28,000.

A degree, HND or foundation degree in community education, educational studies, English or communication studies, social sciences or youth work may improve your chances.

Read more about the role of a community education officer.

Counselling psychologist

You’ll use psychological theory and research to help clients with bereavement, domestic violence, relationship troubles, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. You'll work with children, adults, families and couples.

You'll need to undergo a high level of training to qualify. Find out more about the qualifications you need to become a counselling psychologist.


This social care job is all about helping people to explore feelings and emotions related to their experiences, in a confidential setting. The aim is to reduce a client's confusion and enable them to cope with challenges, or to make positive changes in their lives.

You don't need a degree or HND, as there are separate qualifications available at different levels.

Starting salaries vary but can be in the region of £20,000 to £26,000.

Find out what to expect from your job as a counsellor and discover some of the essential skills for a career in counselling.


Using the performing arts, it's your job to create a safe environment in which patients can explore and address a range of personal and social difficulties. You'll use puppetry, role play and storytelling to help both children and adults express issues in a way that's easier than talking about them directly.

Professional postgraduate training is currently offered at four UK universities. To gain entry onto a course, you'll need a degree in a performing arts or psychology-related subject, or other professional qualifications and relevant experience.

If you join the NHS once qualified you're likely to be employed at Band 6, where salaries start from £28,050. Find out more about becoming a dramatherapist.

Drug and alcohol worker

Helping people to tackle their drug and alcohol addiction, you'll assist clients in accessing counselling, healthcare and education and work irregular and unsocial hours, due to the on-call nature of the job.

There are no set entry requirements but experience of nursing, criminal justice, social care or youth work will be valuable.

Educational psychologist

Working with children and young people you'll help solve problems that hinder their successful learning and participation in school and other activities. You will work in a variety of ways including observations, interviews and assessments and offer a range of appropriate interventions, such as learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers or parents.

A further aspect to the job is research and advising on educational provisions and policies.

Discover more about the role of an educational psychologist.

Equality, diversity and inclusion officer

Working within community services you'll promote good relations and practices towards different minority groups. You'll support people who experience discrimination related to age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

You can become an equality, diversity and inclusion officer with any degree subject, although qualifications in business and management, community or youth studies, human resources, law, psychology or social work may increase your chances.

For further information on skills and work experience see equality, diversity and inclusion officer.

Family mediator

You'll need a degree in counselling, education, law, social work or therapy, as well as up to five years' relevant experience to become a family mediator. Working with divorcing or separating couples, you'll help them to reach agreements without having to go to court.

Over the course of your career you can expect to earn a salary of £20,000 to £35,000.

Family support worker

Employed by social services, local authorities or charitable organisations you'll assist families who are experiencing difficulties by offering practical help and emotional support. You could help parents and children with a range of social and personal issues, or specialise in a particular area, such as domestic abuse, bereavement or homelessness.

Entry routes are varied, although a combination of relevant experience and qualifications is usually required.

Read more about what it takes to become a family support worker.

High intensity therapist

Working for the NHS or a charitable organisation you'll support individuals of all ages and cultural backgrounds who are experiencing mental health conditions, in particular moderate to severe depression and anxiety.

The working environment can be stressful and challenging, as you'll be working with distressed people with high emotional demands. Therefore, supervision by colleagues is important.

Take a look at what qualifications you need to become a high intensity therapist.

Housing policy officer

There are a number of social care jobs available in housing, for example a housing policy officer researches and develops policies for local authorities and housing associations. The work focuses on affordable housing, homelessness or tenant participation. You'll need a relevant degree such as housing studies, town planning or social policy, or a professional qualification to enter the profession.

Over the course of your career you could earn £22,000 to £40,000.

Life coach

Your main responsibility is to develop a positive relationship with your clients in order to help them achieve their goals. This could be in a one-to-one setting or through group workshops, in areas such as career coaching, health and wellbeing and personal development.

You'll need a non-judgemental, motivational attitude and a creative approach to problem solving to tailor coaching to the individual or group. It's likely you'll be self-employed.

Learn more about the role of a life coach and discover what training to become a life coach involves.

Play therapist

You'll need a relevant undergraduate degree, a postgraduate qualification and registration with appropriate professional bodies to become a play therapist. Working with children you'll use play as a communication tool to help them understand their world and to help them deal with emotional distress and trauma. The issues that you deal with may be related to abuse, divorce, violence, learning difficulties and psychological problems.

Starting salaries can range from £25,000 to £35,000 per year.

Find out what it's like to work as a play therapist.

Probation officer

Working for the National Probation Service (NPS) you'll manage offenders in order to protect the public and reduce the incidence of reoffending. You'll interact with offenders, victims, police and prison service colleagues and work with offenders in court, in the community and in custody to make communities safer.

Probation service officers (PSOs), new entrants to the profession, start on NPS pay band 3 and receive a salary of £22,039 to £27,373.

Learn how to qualify as a probation officer and discover what life is like as a probation officer.

Rehabilitation worker

Providing support to those who have suffered from illness or are recovering from an accident, you may be required to help keep patients mobile through exercises or use of specialist equipment, carry out household tasks such as cooking and cleaning, or organise social activities for patients.

Entry routes are varied, but holding relevant professional qualifications is advantageous.

Starting salaries for rehabilitation workers typically range from £17,000 to £25,000.

Sexual health worker

Working with individuals, couples or groups, you'll provide education and guidance on a range of sexual health topics, including diagnosis and treatment of STIs, promoting good sexual health practices and offering counselling and support in emotionally difficult situations.

Relevant experience and a public health-related degree are needed to become a sexual health adviser.

Starting salaries range from £26,000 to £30,000.

Social services manager

Also known as services managers and service development managers, you'll plan and coordinate health and social care support provided by local authorities and charities.

You'll need a degree and professional qualifications relevant to the area in which you work, for example, social work or mental health and several years of management experience.

You'll also need a clear understanding of legislation, safety standards and social policy to enter this career.

Social worker

You'll work with people and families to support them through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults are safeguarded from harm. You'll work in a variety of settings such as homes, schools, hospitals or the premises of other public sector and voluntary organisations.

Social work is a graduate profession and you will need an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate qualification. Other fast-track entry routes are available, see social work courses and discover how to become a social worker.

For further information on what the profession involves, see social worker.

Youth worker

Working mainly in the public sector, youth workers guide and support young people in their personal, social and educational development to help them reach their full potential.

Relevant work experience is vital for entry, as is an undergraduate degree validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA). Professional training is also available at postgraduate level for those with a degree in a subject other than youth work.

Youth support workers (e.g. those who are not fully-qualified professional youth workers) can expect to earn between £15,807 and £26,929.

Discover what else a youth worker does.

Find out more

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