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Social work courses in Australia

Social Work

Are you after a career that allows you to improve human well-being? Social workers support people to make a change in their lives to improve their personal and social well-being. 

Social workers work in a wide range of public and private settings including community health centres, and public and private hospitals, aged care facilities, education facilities, mental health settings; alcohol and drug services, private clinics and non-government organisations, refugee facilities, correctional institutions, universities and research facilities, group homes, supported employment and government departments.

Several states like Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory have an attractive offer for students who are interested in following a permanent residency pathway.  Continue reading to learn what you need to do follow a state nomination in these states.  As normal, you will need to apply via expression of interest and satisfy the work and study component.

SA Nomination

3 pathways

1. SA graduate

2. NON- SA graduate

3. Talented individuals: high EOI+ Superior English – The state usually gives 491 only

Minimum work experience requirement in SA is 20 hours per week.

SA nomination considers work experience from ANZSCO unit group 4117 closely related to Social Work.

State nomination in South Australia for 491 Visa:

SA Graduate

If you’re a graduate from a South Australian institute, and have achieved a GPA of 5-5.99 and superior English, there is no need to provide work experience evidence for the 491 visa.  Otherwise, the work requirement is 3 months working as a social worker in SA or 12 months as care/support worker in outer SA regional.

Non – SA Graduate

The work experience requirement is 6 months as a social worker in SA.

State nomination in South Australia for 190 Visa:

SA Graduate

Under the 190 visa, you will need 12 months work experience in greater Adelaide or 6 months experience in regional SA to satisfy the requirements of this visa.

Non – SA Graduate

If you completed your degree in other states and apply for the 190 nomination, 18 months of work experience in Greater Adelaide or 12 months in regional SA will satisfy the work experience requirement.

TAS Nomination

3 Pathways

1. TAS Graduate

2. Working in TAS

3. Small business owner in TAS

State nomination in Tasmania for 491 Visa:

If you graduated from a Social work degree in Tasmania, there is no work experience requirement. If you graduated from other states, you need to satisfy a 3 month relevant work experience requirement and have proficient English. There is flexibility, as the student can work multiple jobs to satisfy the 35 hrs per week work requirement.

Without a relevant job, the work requirement is 6 months.

State nomination in Tasmania for 190 Visa:

If you’re a Tasmanian graduate, there is no mandatory work requirement. If you graduated from another state, there is a 6 month work requirement to satisfy, plus proficient English.

State nomination in Northern Territory:

If you’re a Social Work Graduate from Northern Territory, there is a good opportunity to explore permanent residency. This means you need to have completed one or more qualifications in NT, and lived there for 6 months after graduation whilst holding full working rights visa.

Unlike other states, employment is not mandatory for graduates in Northern Territory.

Here are 7 key reasons to consider a career as a social worker.

Job outlook

The number of people working as social workers is expected to grow  over the next 5 years from 32,900 in 2018 to 35,500 by 2023. 

Making a positive impact

Social workers naturally work with those in greatest need. Forbes Magazine, ranked social work supervisor 7th on the list of most meaningful occupations as this career path provides a sense of purpose.

Never a dull moment

As a social worker, no day will be the same. From a day in court to a hospital, you’ll have numerous opportunities to learn and make a difference in someone’s life.

Various job options

Once qualified, social workers can pursue a range of employment locally and globally. This includes casework, counselling, advocacy and engagement with individuals, families, groups for government and non-government agencies, including hospitals, clinics, prisons, nursing homes, community health services and schools and advocacy bodies, detention centres and local councils. Social workers are also employed as private practitioners.

Gain transferrable skills

If you decide to change careers, transferrable skills like communicating, problem-solving, empathy, time management and teamwork that you gain after completing your social course will be valued by many employers. You can find a role that interests you and fits your skills and talents.

Good salary

Full-time workers on an adult wage can earn around $1,829 per week (compared to the all jobs average of $1,460). 

Hands-on learning

Practical placements helps the student to enhance their personal and professional social work development.

Social Work courses (1).jpg

Australian PR Pathway

Social work is one of the fastest growing professions and is highly in-demand both in Australia and globally. As the occupation features on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), it’s possible to apply for any of the visas in the Skilled Migration Program.

Visas in this category include the Skilled Independent 189, the Skilled Nominated 190 or the 489 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visas. In addition, there is also the opportunity of applying for a number of employer-sponsored visas if you have an offer of employment. Occupations that are listed consistently in the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) include Welfare Centre Manager, Welfare Worker, Social Worker and Community Worker.

Social work courses

To work as a social worker in Australia, you need to complete a Bachelor of Social Work. The course provides both theory and clinical social work experiences. Alternatively, for students with previous tertiary qualifications, you can complete a two-year Master of Social Work program.

Bachelor of Social work

This four-year course will equip you with the skills to work in a range of fields in social work and human services. Once completed, you’ll be recognised as a professional and be eligible for membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Social work courses in Australia

Entry requirements:

Institutions have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact us if you need any advice or assistance.

Generally, it’s required you have:

  • Successfully completed an Australian Year 12 or equivalent and a formal English language test

Master of Social Work

A master’s degree in social work builds on your prior knowledge and experience and gives you more opportunities to advance your knowledge in direct practice. With a Master in Social Work, you can expect to be more competitive in the job market, be eligible for higher pay, and have more opportunities for advancement.

This course also allows graduates from other disciplines the opportunity to enter the social work profession without having to return to undergraduate study.

Entry requirements:

Institutions have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact us if you need any advice or assistance.

Generally, it’s required you:

  • An undergraduate degree with at least one year of full-time studies in social sciences or equivalent
  • Meet the English language requirements of the University

Note:

Flinders University: Applicants must hold a bachelor degree or equivalent in an area other than social work. Selection is based on academic merit.

Western Sydney University: WSU offers a Postgraduate Qualifying Program leading to Master of Social Work for non-sociology students.

University of Sunshine Coast: USC offers a Postgraduate Qualifying Program leading to Master of Social Work for non-sociology students.

Top 5 Universities for social work courses

Curtin University

Curtin’s Bachelor of Social Work course received five-star ratings across several categories in the Good Universities Guide 2020, including teaching quality, learner engagement, learning resources, skills development, full-time employment and salary.

Find out more about studying at Curtin University

The University of Queensland

UQ’s Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) provides you with core knowledge in social work, social policy and research. This internationally recognised program is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Find out more about studying at the University of Queensland

Southern Cross University

Their accredited Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) is suited to applicants with previous experience in the study of the social sciences, social welfare, psychology or related fields.

In this program, you'll examine child protection, social policy and law, health issues impacting Indigenous communities, and leadership in social work organisations. You'll also undertake practice under the supervision of an experienced social worker.

Find out more about studying at Southern Cross University

Charles Sturt University

The Bachelor of Social Work from Charles Sturt University gives you the skills you need to help people from all walks of life understand and improve their personal and social wellbeing. As a qualified social worker, you will make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities.

Find out more about studying at CSU

Queensland University of Technology

Bachelor of Social Work from QUT allows you to engage with individuals, families and communities to identify strategies for change. You’ll be taught by experienced social workers and complete 1000 hours of placement to explore career paths that include direct support services, advocacy services and policy development.

Find out more about studying at QUT

Get the list of AASW Accredited Social Work courses by State and Higher Education providers that offer a graduate with eligibility for membership of the AASW.

Careers

Once qualified, social workers pursue a range of employment pathways. These include roles in casework, counselling, advocacy and community engagement. This means supporting people or helping them develop or access resources.

The following is a list of the current fields of practice that are available to you on graduation:

  • Addictions
  • Aged care
  • Child Protection
  • Disability Services
  • Family and Relationship Counselling
  • Income Support
  • Justice
  • Medical and Health Care
  • Psychiatric and General Mental Health Care
  • Youth

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enrol in a Bachelor of Social Work course in Australia?

Each Institution has different entry requirements; generally, an International student applicant must;

  • have the required English language skills
  • have a valid student visa and passport
  • Academic transcripts and qualifications from your home country.
  • provide work experience statement, a reference letter from universities or professional registration if applicable.

If you have any questions or need help with your course application, speak to our friendly counsellors – it’s free!

Can you apply for permanent residency in Australia after studying social work?

As a graduate of Bachelor of Social Work, you can apply for permanent residency in Australia as it’s included in the Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

If you have completed an Australian Association of Social Workers’ accredited Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work, you are eligible to apply for a skills assessment through the AASW. The AASW must be able to verify that you met all the higher education provider requirements and have or are eligible to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work or a Master of Social Work. The AASW must also see evidence that all applicants for migration skills assessment purposes meet the AASW English language requirements.

The conditions for applying for permanent residency changes about twice a year, so best to keep an eye on the Australian Home Affairs website for changes.

Alternatively, you can speak to our migration agents for advice.

Which universities provide accredited social work courses in Australia?

ACT:

Australian Catholic University

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

New South Wales:

Charles Sturt University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (distance education available)

University of New England

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (distance education available)

University of New South Wales

  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Law
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Research and Policy

University of Newcastle

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Western Sydney University (formerly University of Western Sydney)

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

University of Wollongong

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Australian Catholic University

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP)

  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
  • Bachelor of Social Work/ Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Northern Territory:

Charles Darwin University (formerly Northern Territory University)

  • Bachelor of Social Work / Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Queensland:

Central Queensland University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)

Griffith University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (distance education available)
  • Master of Social Work/Master of Mental Health Practice

James Cook University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) (distance education available)

Queensland University of Technology

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Southern Cross University

  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (distance education available)

The University of Queensland

  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work Studies

University of the Sunshine Coast

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Australian Catholic University

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Theology/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

South Australia:

Flinders University

  • Bachelor of Social Work and Social Planning (please note the above degree is phasing out, with no new student intake offered)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (2015)
  • Master of Social Work (Graduate entry) (2008) distance education available

University of South Australia

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Cultures and Australian Society), Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Arts (International Relations)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Tasmania:

University of Tasmania

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Victoria:

Deakin University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (distance education available)

La Trobe University

  • Master of Social Work (Graduate Entry)
  • Bachelor of Human Services / Master of Social Work

Monash University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (1974) distance education available
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) (1974)
  • Bachelor of Social Work/Bachelor of Health Sciences (2002)
  • Bachelor of Social Work/Bachelor of Arts (2002) (please note the above courses are being disestablished, with no new student intake offered )
  • Master of Social Work (distance education available)

RMIT University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  •  Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
  •  Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

University of Melbourne

  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Federation University

  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Victoria University

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Western Australia:

Curtin University (formerly Curtin University of Technology)

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (provisionally accredited 2019)

Edith Cowan University

  • Bachelor of Social Work (distance education available)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

University of Western Australia

  • Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (2009)

Do I need a Master's in Social Work?

A bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) is the minimum requirement for all social worker positions. If you plan to become a social worker, counselor, or licensed mental health professional, it is definitely to your benefit to get a Master in Social Work (MSW). This is especially true if you plan to work with children, troubled adults or other populations.

If you’re interested in studying Social Work and need some guidance on choosing and applying for a course, don’t hesitate to submit your details or call IDP on 1800 664 700.

We can help you find the ideal course and best university, speak to us today - it's free!.

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