Contact us

Chat with us

Phone: 13 64 64 or (08)9224 6500
TTY: 08 9225 7831
(Hearing impaired only)
Site search



Occupation search

Occupation Search

Social worker

Back to top

Summary of occupation

Social workers provide information, counselling and support to people experiencing personal and social problems. They provide support services, such as counselling, facilitation of support groups and administering education programs, to clients experiencing a diverse range of difficulties. Social workers also help their clients and clients' families with practical issues, such as accessing income support, travel and accommodation subsidies and finding emergency accommodation. They may offer support to clients with a disability or chronic illness, victims of violent and/or sexual crimes, people who have attempted suicide or self harm, homeless people, drug addicts and many others experiencing a personal crisis.

ANZSCO description: Assesses the social needs of individuals,  families and groups, assists and empowers people to develop and use  the skills and resources needed to resolve social and other problems,  and furthers human wellbeing and human rights, social justice and  social development. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Good
Back to top

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A social worker needs:

  • emotional maturity
  • a caring and compassionate nature
  • a high level of organisational and communication skills
  • the ability to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • the ability to assess their clients' difficulties objectively
Back to top

Working conditions

Social workers work in a variety of environments including schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, government agencies, courts and in private practice. They may also conduct home visits or run group support sessions in halls, churches or other community facilities. The majority of social workers in Western Australia are based in the Perth metropolitan region, however, there are employment opportunities for social workers throughout the state.

Back to top

Salary details

On average, social workers can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

Back to top

Tools and technologies

Social workers use standard office equipment, including computers, faxes and photocopiers. Depending on their area of specialisation they may also use counselling aides, such as children's toys, psychological tests and art supplies. Many social workers also need a drivers licence so that they are able to visit clients at home.

Back to top

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a social worker you usually need to complete a degree majoring in social work.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

Back to top

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

Back to top

Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

Back to top


Related links

Related occupations

Need advice?

Profile and social options