I want to learn about careers as a Social Worker

Job Title – Social Worker


A Social Worker helps people of all ages to cope with the problems caused by poverty, unemployment, illness, antisocial behaviour and other social inadequacies.

Typical Job Activities

The social worker practices in the fields of:
- child and family welfare
- marriage and divorce counselling
- care of the elderly
- medical social work
- psychiatric social work
- social work with the mentally or physically disabled
- social work with alcoholics and drug dependents
- social work with criminal offenders
- social work in the workplace or school

The social worker uses various working methods, often in combination:

- Case work: The case worker sets up a one-to-one relationship with individuals, visiting them to give personal assistance and encouragement.
- Group work: A group worker organises group activities for people sharing similar problems, interests and needs e.g. the organisation of recreational activities for the elderly.
- Community work: This social worker identifies needs in the community and helps to plan and develop health, housing, rehabilitation and other welfare services.

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Related Occupations

Family planning community worker
Nursing auxiliary
Social auxiliary worker

Educational Requirements

Senior Certificate with matric exemption
Appropriate degrees is offered at most universities, in the Social Sciences courses.

Compulsory subjects: None
Recommended subjects: None


The practicing social worker must register with the South African Interim Council for Social Work.

What natural skills and/or aptitudes do I need for this occupation?

Enjoys working with different kinds of people
Have a desire to serve others and help them to live fuller lives
Be sympathetic but objective
Be reliable and resourceful
Be even-tempered, tolerant and mature
Inspires confidence in others
Have a good understanding of human nature
Have above average intelligence and verbal abilities
Have good health and physical stamina

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Employment Opportunities 


Market Competitiveness


Income Potential


Self-Employment Opportunities


International Employment Opportunities


Possible Employers

Government departments and provincial and local administrators
South African National Council for Child and Family Welfare
National Council for the Care of Physically Disabled Persons in SA
South African Family and Marriage Society (FAMSA)
Provincial hospitals
The Christian Social Councils of the Dutch Reformed Church
South African National Council regarding Alcoholism and Drug Dependency
Medium or small companies

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Relevant Contact Details

Department of Social Development

Social Services

Career Progress and Path

Further Studies in the specific career field
Further studies in related fields
Experience in specific fields
Experience in related fields
Work performance
Do presentations, seminars, publish articles, etc.
General management studies

Possible Career Paths

Specialist career in the specific field
Management positions in the specific field
Consultant or own practice

Employment Stability

Moderately stable  

Reasons to consider this career

A job in Government
I can be of service to people
I can work with people
I can apply my special skills
I can communicate and interact with people