Social work

Social workers are professionals who help support and protect people who are vulnerable and at risk. They work with people who are experiencing social and emotional problems and their families if they are affected.

They may help people who use services to claim benefits, plan budgets, obtain legal advice or deal with other local authority departments. Social workers undertake assessment in relation to child care, mental health and criminal justice. Depending on individual needs, a social worker may arrange services such as home care assistance or hospital treatment.

To be a social worker you need an honours or postgraduate degree in social work. You can gain these qualifications from various universities across Scotland.  
All courses include practice learning where each student is assessed while working in placements.  List of university courses.


A social work graduate can expect an average starting salary of £23k – £25k. After the first few years social workers can earn £29k or more depending on their chosen field and post qualifying training. These are just some of the options and the salary will depend on the career path a graduate takes and where they work.

Got a question?

The Caring Careers website has more information on a career in social services including job profiles that give you first hand information on what each job entails.

Our SSSC Learning Zone website also has information on job roles and areas of employment for social workers.