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Becoming a Social Worker
How do I become a Social Worker?
What ‘rank’ do I need to study Social Work?
What study options are available? - How do I choose a University?
What is involved in a Bachelor of Social Work?
How do I become a Social Worker?
If you have just completed high school or do not have a previous degree, you will need to undertake a four year Bachelor of Social Work at an accredited tertiary institution. For a full list of AASW approved Social Work courses, please visit If you have a previous undergraduate degree, with some specialisations in psychology, sociology or political science, you may be able to complete a two year accelerated program and graduate with either a Bachelor of Social Work or a Master of Social Work (Qualifying). Please contact the universities offering these courses directly to discuss their requirements.
What 'rank' do I need to study Social Work?
Depending on which State/Territory you complete your Secondary Education, you will be given a ‘rank’, which will be used by Universities to determine your entry into a course. Each University will set the minimum requirement for entry to the Bachelor of Social Work degree. If you are a non-school leaver wishing to study Social Work, there are alternative pathways to University entry. For further information on entry requirements, please visit the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations ‘Going to Uni’ website at
What study options are available?
There are a range of study options available, including on campus and distance education, dual degrees and accelerated entry programs. For detailed information on study options, please contact Universities directly.
How do I choose a University?
There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing where to study, including location, mode of delivery (full-time, part-time, on campus or by distance) and course structure. We recommend that you spend some time researching the different courses available. A great place to start is to visit the Social Work department’s homepage at each University, where you will find information on course structure, subject lists and field placement requirements. You might also like to visit the University or make direct contact with the Social Work department.
What is involved in a Bachelor of Social Work?
All Social Work courses contain a core practice component, including individual counselling, family work, group work, community development, and advocacy. Social work graduates are expected to possess an understanding of human behaviour, personal development, lifecycle stages, physical and mental health, and disability. They should also have a working knowledge of most counselling frameworks, including psychoanalytic, task-centred, cognitive, humanistic, behavioural, social psychological, and ecological/systems models.
A critical component of Social Work training is Field Education. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 140 seven-hour working days (at least 980 hours) in at least two field education subjects, taken over two years. Students undertake their placements in a variety of settings and practice areas, everything from hospitals, community health centres, mental health services, child protection, disability, or community development just to name a few. The choices are diverse, just like the profession! One student placement overseas is also a possibility, depending upon the University.
Social Work programs have the following six learning outcomes:
1. Direct Practice (including work with individuals, groups and communities)
The ability to engage with individuals, groups and communities in society and apply social work knowledge and skills to meet needs, to enable them to develop their potential and to foster their greater control over their lives.
2. Service Management
The ability to appropriately manage service provision and practice in ways that meet the needs of individuals, groups and communities in society, as well as organisational goals and community expectations of the service.
3. Organisational Development and System Change
The ability to apply knowledge of organisational systems and processes and societal systems, to identify inequalities, and to act to reduce social barriers, inequality and injustice.
4. Policy Development, Implementation and Change
The ability to apply social work knowledge and skills to identify inappropriate or inequitable policy goals and outcomes, and to promote and implement policy which achieves equity and effective distribution of social resources.
5. Research and Knowledge Generation
The ability to apply research knowledge and skills to undertake ethical research and disseminate findings, and to utilise research in practice to address the needs and aspirations of individuals, groups and communities in society, and to further organisational goals and social policy
6. Education and Professional Development
The recognition of the importance of, and a demonstrated commitment to continually increasing knowledge and skills through processes of continuing education.

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