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Social work courses in Australia

Social Work

Are you after a career that allows you to improve human well-being? Do you want to be equipped with all the skills to help meet the needs of those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty? If you’re passionate about making things better and find it fulfilling to relieve suffering, social work is the perfect course for you to take towards a successful career.

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

Job outlook

The number of people working as social workers has grown very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years from 32,900 in 2018 to 35,500 by 2023. Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving). There are likely to be around 23,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 4,600 a year).

Higher demand can also translate into increased compensation for qualified applicants, especially in large cities and urban areas.

Making a positive impact

Social workers naturally work with those in greatest need. The feeling you get knowing that your job enhances the quality of life and develops the potential of individuals, groups and communities, is second to none. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the person you assisted using the same social work principles to help others. 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. It will be filled with various exciting and challenging situations. 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 and chances to gain transferrable skills

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.

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). Like most professions, earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.

Hands-on learning

One of the most important components of the course is the social work field placement. It provides students with a significant opportunity to enhance their personal and professional social work development. Additionally, it develops a greater sense of self-awareness, respect, appreciation of different cultural beliefs and a chance to assimilate into Australian society.

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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

Social workers are now being employed in such varied occupations as:

Community Development Workers/ Cultural Development Officers

Community Workers facilitate community development initiatives and collective solutions within a community to address issues, needs and problems associated with recreational, health, housing, employment and other welfare matters.

The job outlook for Community Workers

Drug and Alcohol Counsellors

Drug and Alcohol Counsellors provide support and treatment for people with drug and alcohol dependency problems, develop strategies that assist them to set goals and affect and maintain change and provide community education. They may work in call centres.

The job outlook for Drug and Alcohol Counsellors

Disability Services Officers

Disabilities Services Officers work in a range of service units that provide education and community access to people with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities.

The job outlook for Disabilities Services Officers

Parole/Probation Officers

Parole or Probation Officers supervise offenders who have been placed on probation by court order or released conditionally from corrective service institutions.

The job outlook for Parole or Probation Officers

Recreation Officers

Recreation Officers plan, organise and coordinate recreation facilities and programs through organisations such as local governments, schools, church bodies and youth organisations.

The job outlook for Recreation Officers

Residential Care Officers

Residential Care Officers provide care and supervision for children or disabled persons in-group housing or institutional care.

The job outlook for Residential Care Officers

Welfare Workers

Welfare Workers assist individuals, families and groups with social, emotional or financial difficulties to improve quality of life, by educating and supporting them and working towards change in their social environment.

The job outlook for Welfare Workers

Youth Workers

Youth Workers assist young people as individuals or groups to solve social, emotional and financial problems in an agency framework.

Job outlook for Youth Workers

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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