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Top 5 Jobs You Can Get with a Degree in Social Work

9th November 21

Under the umbrella of social work, there are an array of roles that you can pursue, depending on the area that you feel is best suited to your skills and capabilities. Once you have achieved a degree in social work, you will be in a strong position to apply for rewarding social work jobs or move on to postgraduate study. 

If you have a natural nurturing nature, possess plenty of patience, have strong organisational skills and are confident communicating effectively, a role in social work could be perfectly suited to you. Social work, England residents, covers a range of bases and if you want to study a social work degree, you will have to gain prior qualifications. 

For those of you at the beginning of your career path, continue reading to learn the top 5 jobs you can achieve with a social work degree. Before that, we will explain how to get the relevant qualifications you need to apply for a role at your chosen university. 

Your Qualifications 

Before you can begin thinking about social work jobs, you will need to go through an academic journey. We have outlined your academic route below: 


Your first real introduction to qualifications is through GCSEs. However, not everyone obtains the qualifications they need at school level. If you are keen to study a degree in social work but don’t have GCSEs, hope is not lost! 

With the help of learndirect, you can study a range of GCSE courses online, gaining nationally recognised qualifications in the process. It is likely that your chosen university will require grade C/4 or above in GCSE Maths and English, but please check with the establishment beforehand. 

Alternatively, you can gain the Level 2 equivalent of GCSEs by studying Functional Skills. As mentioned, check your chosen university’s entry requirements before applying.

A Levels 

The next stage of your academic path is to obtain A-levels, of which you can learn online if you do not already possess them. We offer a selection of A-level courses that may help you secure a spot on a social work degree course. Our course options range from Biology to History

Access to Higher Education Diploma  

If you would like to go down a different route rather than study A Levels, you can achieve a Level 3 equivalent through an Access to Higher Education Diploma. These qualifications are widely recognised as the equivalent to 3 A Levels, and they not only provide you with essential information regarding your chosen subject matter, but they also prepare you for degree-level study. 

To enrol on a social work degree, you can potentially gain a position at your chosen university with an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work). You can complete this online with learndirect, and once you have completed a series of assignments based on the units studied, you will achieve a nationally accredited qualification. 

Whatever route you opt to take to study a social work degree, once you have achieved your bachelor’s degree, you can pursue the following jobs: 


Career as a social worker


Social Worker 

One of the most popular social work jobs is as a Social Worker. The primary role of a Social Worker is to provide support to individuals and families through trying times, while also ensuring that safeguarding measures are put in place for vulnerable people. Vulnerability is not restricted to certain age groups, as there are many children, adults, and elderly individuals who fall into this category. 

This form of social work, England residents, can be conducted across an array of settings, from homes to hospitals. You will work within relevant legislation and processes, all of which you will learn about while studying your social work degree. 

Roles and Respoonsibilities 

There are a range of responsibilities that you will likely need to take on when working one of these social work jobs. Primarily, you will need to provide adequate support to individuals and families, while also having to make tough decisions to ensure that the wellbeing of each person is looked after. It is likely that you will work with one or more of the following groups: 

  • Elderly 
  • Young offenders 
  • Drug and alcohol misusers 
  • People with learning and physical disabilities  
  • Homeless 
  • Individuals with mental health conditions 


Salary Expectations 

One of your priorities is likely to be salary when considering social work jobs, so below we have outlined the average salary amount you could earn per year depending on your position. Please note that there are no fixed national salary scales. 

  • Newly qualificatied Social Workers: £24,000 - £30,000 pa 
  • NHS Social Workers on Band 6 of the NHS pay scale: £31,365 - £37,890 pa 
  • Social Workers with more experience and responsibilities: £40,000 pa 


Family Support Worker 

Once you have obtained your social work degree, you may want to use these credentials to apply for a role as a Family Support Worker. As the title indicates, you will be working closely with families who are going through short and long-term issues, providing emotional support and practical solutions. 

This form of social work, England residents, usually involves the social services department of a local authority or a charitable organisation. Your primary purpose is to make a positive impact on the lives of the families you are working with, using the knowledge from your social work degree to empower individuals to face their challenges in a safe and effective manner. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Typically, these types of social work jobs will involve you working with Social Workers to provide the best level of support to the family. Your day-to-day role will vary depending on the requirements of the family you are supporting. There are a range of challenges that families face, and you will be responsible for providing support and solutions, potentially relating to the following issues: 

  • Bullying 
  • Domestic violence and abuse 
  • Debt 
  • Criminal activity 
  • Housing and homelessness 
  • Bereavement 


Salary Expectations 

If your ideal type of social work jobs is in the family support sector, then you will be doing rewarding work as well as a job that can be well paid. Below, you can find the average salaries for each level of your profession: 

  • Starting salary: £18,000 - £24,000 pa 
  • Experienced or specialist role: £35,000 pa 
  • Centre project and Charity Managers: £50,000 pa 



Mental health practitioner


Education Mental Health Practitioner 

With mental health being spoken about more openly in this day and age, it allows us to provide support to those who need it most. With your social work degree, you can help children and young people deal with mental health difficulties by becoming an Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP).  

As part of the government’s initiative to increase mental health support in schools and colleges, you will be able to travel between various primary schools, secondary schools, and further education colleges. This type of social work job involves offering low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a talking therapy that helps people change the way they think. 

By offering this level of therapy to children and young people, you can help them deal with a variety of mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

There are various roles and responsibilities for an Education Mental Health Practitioner, and with the knowledge you will gain from your social work degree, you can bring plenty to the role. You may find yourself doing the following: 

  • Working with groups and individuals 
  • Building therapeutic relationships with children and young people 
  • Referring students to alternative services 
  • Providing training to schools and other mental health agencies 
  • Writing up confidential notes from meetings 
  • Promoting mental health awareness 


Salary Expectations 

Below, we have outlined the average salaries that you could potentially earn during your role as an Education Mental Health Practitioner: 

  • Trainee Education Mental Health Practitioners at NHS Band 4: £21,892 pa 
  • EMHPs at NHS Band 5: £24,907 pa 
  • Potential senior roles in NHS Band 6: £31,365 pa 


High Intensity Therapist 

Social work, England residents, can come in many forms. One of the most rewarding social work jobs is as a High Intensity Therapist. This position focuses on providing talking therapies to individuals who are dealing with severe depression and other mental health conditions. 

Your role will be to provide high intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to around 30 to 40 clients per year, while working in Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT).  

Roles and Responsibilities 

As part of your role in this field of social work, England High Intensity Therapists will have a range of roles and responsibilities, including: 

  • Work with other healthcare professionals 
  • Assess a client’s suitability for interventions 
  • Encourage clients to discuss their feelings and behaviours 
  • Offer specialist advice to other professionals across the mental health sector 
  • Provide a range of CBT-based interventions, including imagery rescripting and exposure therapy 
  • Interact face-to-face, online, and via telephone 


Salary Expectations 

After embarking on this role once you have achieved your social work degree, you should keep in mind that the average salary expectations are as follows: 

  • Trainee High Intensity Therapists on NHS Band 6: £31,365 pa 
  • Qualified High Intensity Therapists on NHS Band 7: £38,890 - £44,503 pa 
  • Management and specialist roles at NHS Band 8: £42,414 - £62,001 pa 


career as a counsellor



If you would like to make a significant difference and help individuals work through their problems by providing effective therapies and coping mechanisms, you may want to consider becoming a Counsellor. This is a role that you can pursue after achieving a social work degree, but you will benefit from undergoing additional training. 

Having a social work degree could help you secure a place on a counselling course that is accredited by The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Once you have gained the relevant qualifications, you can work as a professional in this sector. 

Roles and Responsibilities  

As a Counsellor, you will be helping clients make positive changes to their behaviours by providing them with impartial support that allows them to consider their own patterns of behaviour. As part of your responsibilities, you may need to carry out the following: 

  • Build trustworthy relationships with clients 
  • Encourage clients to talk openly about their feelings and behaviours 
  • Maintain an unbiased attitude 
  • Provide one-to-one counselling sessions as well as group work 
  • Support clients in making decisions 
  • Undergo personal therapy 


Salary Expectations 

A Counsellor can earn an impressive salary depending on their experience. We have broken down the salary expectations below: 

  • Starting salaries: £20,000 - £26,000 pa 
  • Experienced Counsellors: £30,000 - £40,000 pa 
  • Private practice Counsellor: £40 - £80 per 50-minute session 


Kick-Start Your Career 

If you are keen to study a social work degree and you need help gaining the necessary qualifications to enrol on one, then we can help. Our range of online courses will help you take your first steps towards rewarding social work jobs.  

Simply speak to one of our Course Executives at learndirect by calling 01202 006 464 or contact us online. Alternatively, click below to explore your options. 


Jobs in social care


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