Social workers aim to improve people’s lives by helping with social and interpersonal difficulties, promoting human rights and wellbeing. Social workers protect children and adults with support needs from harm. From helping keep a family under pressure together to supporting someone with mental health problems, social work is a varied, demanding, often emotional and very rewarding career.

‘Social worker’ is a protected title, so the routes to qualifying as a social work professional are regulated by the UK care regulators. 

Qualifications and experience

Social workers must have a degree in social work (BA), or master’s degree in social work. A master’s degree is a two-year-long postgraduate course for those with a degree in a different subject. Some universities offer part-time studying.

Experience is an important part of social work qualifications. A work placement forms half of social work courses with academic learning focusing on legislation, ethics and theory. You’ll need some experience of social work or social care when applying to study. This can be paid, voluntary or placement work, or even life experience.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements differ from course to course. Generally, you’ll need a minimum of 240 UCAS points: five GCSEs grade A* to C, including English and Maths, and two A-levels.

Integrated Degree Apprenticeship for Social Workers is now available - find out more about the assessment plan.

Download "A career as a social worker: Information sheet for schools and colleges" (England only)

Social Work England

Social work England are a specialist regulator focused on enabling positive change in social work. They have additional support and information for graduates, prosperous and current students. 


Frontline train new and existing social workers, social work managers and senior leaders to bring an innovative approach to delivering social work to children and families.

Social workers must be registered with one of four UK regulators. The four regulators are: Social Work England in England, Social Care Wales (SCW)Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). These regulators protect the public by ensuring practicing social workers are fully qualified. Social workers have to re-register every two years, completing post-registration training and learning to qualify.

To register, you need a social work degree (an undergraduate degree in social work, or masters in social work). As well as registering with a regulator, social work is protected by a strict professional code of practice. Read more about becoming a social worker for more information about the different routes into social work as a profession.

  • BAWS provid support for newly qualified social workers which can her found here.
  • Social work England are a specialist regulator focused on enabling positive change in social work.
  • The Social Workers Union (SWU) is an organisational member of BASW.

  • Updates on Covid-19 guidence for social workers can be found here. Policies and guidence can change reguarly during this time and therefore to check if unsure of any guidence. 
  • Social work England are a specialist regulator focused on enabling positive change in social work. There is lots of informatio on Covid-19 which can be found on their website.

Guidence and resources for social workers


Taking care of yourself

Health is full of helpful people who spend their time looking after others. It is important to look after ourselves as well.