What can I do with a degree in Social Work?

The occupations listed below are a selection of those which may interest students and graduates with a Social Work degree.

Social work careers

Social Worker

Social Workers work with people in the community who need support, for example, the elderly, children who are at risk, people with disabilities or mental health difficulties.
Prospects job profile: Social Worker
British Association of social work and social workers - become a social worker

Care Home Manager

Care Home Managers are responsible for residential care homes and ensure that all care standards are met.
National Careers Service: Registered Care Home Managerve
Prospects job profile:Care Manager

Education Welfare Officer

Education welfare officers work with school staff and parents/guardians to ensure children receive the necessary support and guidance to gain a full education and maintain a good school attendance record.
Job profile of an Education Welfare Officer from the National Careers Service website

Family Support Worker

Working with families facing a variety of difficulties and helping them to solve problems and move forward.
Prospects job profile:Family Support Worker
National Careers Service: Family Support Worker

Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Psychological wellbeing practitioners treat people with a range of low-level to moderate mental health difficulties. They may also refer people for more intensive support.
Prospects job profile:Psychological wellbeing practitioner
Job profile of a Psychological wellbeing practitioner from Health Careers

Probation Officer

Probation Officers work with offenders and aim to reduce rates of re-offending and protect the public.
Prospects job profile:Probation Officer
Job profile of a Probation Officer from the How2Become website

Youth Offending Team Officer

Working with young offenders with the aim of reducing rates of re-offending and supporting young people to achieve positive outcomes.
National Careers Service: Youth Offending Team Officer

Please note that some of these careers may require further study  

For further information on these careers, see also:

People in some Social Work roles may be self-employed

Other careers

A Social Work degree may be useful in the following career areas:

Advice Worker

Advice workers provide information, advice and guidance on a range of topics depending on the role. These topics may include housing, employment, welfare, education, finance and law.
Prospects job profile: Advice Worker
Prospects job profile: Adult Guidance Worker
Prospects job profile:Debt Adviser
Job profile of a Welfare Rights Adviser from the TARGETjobs website
Prospects job profile:Careers Adviser
Prospects job profile:JHigher Education Careers Adviser
Job profile:Homeless Worker

Charity Officer

There are a range of different roles within charities including project management, volunteer co-ordination and fundraising.
Prospects job profile:Charity Officer
Prospects job profile:Charity Fundraiser
Charities Administrator from the TARGETjobs website
Charities Fundraiser from the TARGETjobs website

Community Development Worker

Working in communities and liaising with different agencies to bring about change and improvements. Some work may be targeted towards certain groups of people e.g. unemployed or homeless people.
Prospects job profile:Community Development Worker

Community Education Officer

Promoting and co-ordinating a range of educational options to members of a local community.
Prospects job profile: JCommunity Education Officer

Family Mediator

Family Mediators work with couples who are divorcing/separating and help them come to agreements without going to court.
National Careers Service: Family Mediator


Counselling and Mental Health Roles

Psychotherapists help people with a range of emotional/mental health difficulties.
Prospects job profile:Psychotherapist
Job profile of a Psychotherapist from the Health Careers website


Providing talking therapy to enable people to talk about their issues in a confidential and supportive environment.
Prospects job profile:Counsellor
Job profile of a Counsellor from the Health Careers website

Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Psychological wellbeing practitioners treat people with a range of low-level to moderate mental health difficulties. They may also refer people for more intensive support.
Prospects job profile:Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
Job profile of a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner from the Health Careers website

Social Researcher

Social research covers a wide range of topics including migration, poverty, and healthcare. Social Researchers could work for universities or research organisations and manage research projects including collecting and analysing data and presenting the results.
Prospects job profile:Social Researcher
Job profile of a Social Researcher from the Social Research Association website
Prospects job profile:Government Social Research Officer
Gov UK Government social research profession
Prospects job profile: Trade Union Research Officer

Substance Misuse Worker

Supporting clients to overcome their problems with drug, alcohol or solvent misuse.
National Careers Service: Drug and Alcohol Worker
National Careers Service: Substance Misuse Outreach Worker

Teacher/Lecturer/Education Roles

Large number of opportunities within education from primary schools to universities.
Prospects job profile:Graduate jobs in teaching and education
Get Into Teaching website from the Department for Education

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Volunteer coordinators recruit & manage volunteers and can work in charities or organisations (including universities).
Job profile of a Volunteer Co-ordinator from the Prospects website
Job profile of a Volunteer Co-ordinator from All about careers

Youth Worker

Working with young people to provide support, raise aspirations and break down barriers to achieving. Support is offered in a variety of ways including through recreational activities, organising projects, mentoring and liaising with other agencies.
Prospects job profile:Youth Worker
Job profile of a Youth Worker from the TARGETjobs website

You may be interested in graduate roles outside of social work. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that don’t have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options see:

Skills gained

As well as subject-specific knowledge and skills, a graduate in social work will typically:

  • Have the ability to solve problems
  • Have advanced level communication skills
  • Work effectively with others, including challenging others where necessary
  • Be able to analyse, interpret and show critical judgement
  • Be able to self-appraise, reflect on practice and cope with change, uncertainty and stress
  • Recognise and respond to moral, legal, ethical and safety issues
  • Have numeracy and IT skills
  • Know how to plan and manage their own learning

This is not an exhaustive list of skills - you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience. You can find out more about the skills you have developed on your social work course at QAA subject benchmark statements (search social work). You can find out more about the skills you have developed on your social work course at QAA subject benchmark statements (search social work).

Find a job

The Careers and Employability Service provides information and advice on job searching to University of Kent students and recent graduates. This includes a vacancy database advertising a range of graduate jobs, sandwich placements and vacation work/internships and online resources. The websites listed below may also be useful when searching for a job and when looking for further information on this sector.

UK regulatory organisations for social work

Useful websites

Job vacancies

Further study

Most social work graduates go into employment within 6 months after graduation but 2.8% do go onto further study Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).

Alternatively, graduates may choose to study relevant courses so that they can move into social policy, research or academia. Whatever your motivation, you need to consider issues such as your suitability, funding options for postgraduate study and research the options available to you to enable a fully informed decision to be made.

Thank you to Prospects for the content on these pages.

Last updated