How to be a Social Worker in the UK

April 1, 2022
How to be a Social Worker in the UK

Being a social worker is a really rewarding career choice. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment that can come from this role – you work hard to achieve positive outcomes for the people you’re supporting. Whether supporting families, young people or adults, social workers can make a huge difference to communities; helping people to solve their problems whilst achieving their potential.  

To be a successful social worker you’ll need to be able to work well under pressure, deal with challenging behaviour and be understanding of other people’s lifestyles and choices. You’ll also need excellent organisational skills, resilience, and a lot of empathy.

But how do you become a social worker here in the UK? This blog will cover the required qualifications and registrations necessary to practise here.  

What Qualifications do I Need to be a Social Worker in the UK?

You’ll need to successfully complete a degree or post graduate programme in social work, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – a regulatory body that maintains a register of healthcare professions. Social work courses may take 3-4 years, full time (some social work courses also incorporate an element of mental health or learning disability nursing). There’s also the option to complete a degree apprenticeship in social work.

To study social work, you’ll need to be able to prove that you have a good understanding of social work, gained through a form of work experience. This could be paid or voluntary work – even gained from your own life experiences, e.g., if you’ve cared for a relative.

Once I’m Qualified, What do I Need to do Next?

To practise as a social worker, you must be registered with Social Work England - the specialist regulator for social workers in England - and the HCPC to work in England (if you are an overseas applicant). Once registered, you’ll need to keep your skills up-to-date and pay an annual retention fee to retain your name on the register.

What do Social Workers in the UK Get Paid?  

The salary of a social worker varies depending on what point you are in your career, how much experience you have and whether you work for the NHS or a private company. An average salary for a social worker in the UK is £30,000, however with more experience it could be £40,000 and as a lead practitioner you could be on a wage of £45,000+.

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