If you feel passionate about helping people and want to work towards human rights and social justice, being a social worker is the right profession for you.
The main objective of every profession is to promote human well being and help workers to live a steady life, fulfil basic needs, and be more valuable to society.
However, A social worker’s profession is one of the very few occupations that helps in enhancing the lives of people living in society, particularly the ones who are facing uphill battles. This is the type of field that aims to make life better and easier for people, with the assistance of practitioners who are always ready to help people in need.
Social workers are continually working for economic and social justice, preventing any situation that limits and hinders human rights. They strive towards eradicating poverty and helping people to live a healthy and quality life.
So if you want to learn what it takes to become a social worker in Australia, read the post below. It contains all the information on how to become a social worker in Australia.
1. What Does a Social Worker Do?
Social workers play an incredibly diverse role, depending on day-to-day activities and on the environment they work in. They help their clients with a wide range of situations, such as delivering counselling, case management, family therapy, and helping people to engage with different other social services.
Social workers also contribute to research and policy development projects, as well as education and training programs. Not only that, they even work with consultation processes and participate in public debates to speak about critical social topics. Furthermore, a social worker also plays a vital role as an intermediary for various organisations and professions to fulfil the needs of their clients.
2. Why Become a Social Worker?
You may become drawn to a career in social work due to several reasons. Some people are interested in doing social work because a social worker may have helped them in the past or they might have experienced difficulties and would like to help others overcome similar hardships.
You may also be drawn to this field if you are interested in resolving issues like abuse, addiction, or mental illness. Additionally, you can be inclined towards working with the elderly or children. All in all, the majority of social workers love engaging with individuals and are highly motivated by a passion for supporting others and making this world a better place.
3. Major Duties and Tasks of a Social Worker
A qualified and professional social worker renders his services to different people. Many social workers choose to work with families, young people, homeless people, the elderly, alcohol and drug abusers, people with physical and learning disabilities, etc.
Even though a social worker has many tasks and duties, here we have listed the core ones:
Provide clients with information about different services that can assist them.
Offer support and counselling through a crisis that may involve relationship breakdown, illness, death, etc.
Help community groups plan and execute programs (for instance, assist newly arrived immigrants to form an association.
Provide reports or letters of referral that will help clients to receive services like social security benefits or crisis accommodation.
Research needs, community problems, and solutions via client contacts and records of health and welfare agencies.
Assist small groups of people in learning social skills, sharing their experiences, and supporting each other.
Put pressure to change social welfare procedures and policies and seek social justice for all members of the community.
Provide assistance and leadership for carrying out pilot projects on self-help and community development, organisational goals and social policies, and planning and implementing research projects to handle client needs.
Assist clients in understanding and resolving issues by acting as a mediator, offering information, and referring them to self-help and community agencies.
Cooperate with social agencies, community organisations, and voluntary groups to develop new services or improve the old ones.
Assess resources for employment, welfare, health, employment, housing, recreation, and other community services.
Act as a facilitator between community services and clients in need.
Conduct interviews of a family or an individual to identify the extent and nature of clients’ problems.
Develop, analyse, implement, and promote social policies through experience, practice, analytic frameworks, research, and negotiation skills to respond to social requirements via equitable, effective, and fair allocation of social resources.
4. What are the Skills Required to Become a Social Worker in Australia?
People facing crises in their lives can give rise to a lot of challenges, making the job of a social worker even more complicated. As a result, social workers always need to be good listeners and empathetic towards people who need help.
One of the most crucial qualities that a social worker can possess is being non-judgemental. Additionally, having problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence can help social workers to serve the community effectively.
Furthermore, a social worker should have thorough knowledge about the social sciences to understand the relationship between individuals and society broadly. The various fields of social sciences that a social worker needs to learn include economics, education, legal aspects, and psychology.
Also, as a social worker’s job entails referring clients to other healthcare and social services, he or she can be considered as a case manager for individuals who are facing challenging situations and cannot meet their goals.
A social worker also needs administrative and social skills to assist a client and connect with other support services. All in all, day to day tasks of a social worker may involve a lot of emailing, registration and looking for resources on the client’s behalf.
Here are some of the skill requirements for a social worker:
Organisational and administration skills
A non-judgemental attitude
Knowledge of social sciences
Effective verbal and written communication abilities.
5. Where do Social Workers work?
Social workers mostly choose to work with organisations, communities, or governments to address social issues. They often work in an office setting; however, they may spend plenty of time visiting clients outside of the office.
Social workers engage in policy analysis, legislative advocacy, and community organisation, fighting to end the injustices and inequalities they see in their communities.
Here are some of the popular settings social workers work in:
Hospitals and clinics
State and local government agencies
Colleges and universities
Substance abuse clinics
Community health clinics
6. How Do Social Workers Help People?
Several individuals within society can take help from social workers. The help usually involves acting as an advisor or spending time with program participants to improve their lives and help them move forward.
Improvements can occur through identifying the cause of the issues or providing housing, well-being, health, or other community services.
Social workers also play a significant role in becoming an active member of society and working with other social and health professionals like counsellors, doctors, and psychologists.
Usually, with the help of private practices, government, health services, care centres, or youth and aged services, social workers may assist people with a variety of issues like:
Mental health issues
Youth behavioural issues
Domestic violence/family violence
Child abuse/child protection
As the issues mentioned above involve families or individuals facing difficulties, it can sometimes be challenging for a social worker to help people deal with tough circumstances. However, with strength and resilience, social workers can handle any situation.
7. What are the Educational and Training Requirements for a Social Worker in Australia?
You need to complete a degree in social work from a university to become a social worker in Australia. Entry into these courses usually requires you to receive a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English.
Different educational institutions in Australia have different prerequisites - some have flexible entry requirements, and some may even provide external study options. You can contact the university of your choice to get further information.
Students might have to obtain a First Aid Certificate, National Police Certificate, immunisations, and apply for Working with Children Check before pursuing professional placements offered through courses. You can check with the institutions you are interested in to get further details.
8. What are the Social Worker Degree Courses in Australia?
There are two types of social worker course degrees in Australia. Let us check them out!
Bachelor of Social Work (undergraduate degree) with no prior educational qualifications. You can complete this degree in four years.
Master of Social Work (postgraduate degree). It takes up to two years to complete. Social work courses under this degree are also offered to graduates with specialisations in law, psychology, and social science.
Due to a wide range of specialisations offered, social workers can work in diverse fields, including psychiatric services, child or family welfare services, criminal law and justice sector, age care sectors, healthcare sectors, and more.
If you have completed your social work degree outside Australia - in that case, you need to apply for the skill assessment of your international qualifications through AASW to determine whether you are allowed to work as a social worker in Australia.
Note: Applicants can apply for both employment and migration purposes at the same time. This will save candidates from having to apply for a different assessment at another time.
9. Steps to Become a Social Worker
If you want to become a social worker in Australia, you must follow the steps below:
10. Employment Opportunities for a Social Worker in Australia
There are plenty of job prospects for social workers in Australia. They are employed in a variety of social and community welfare fields, and they may even work for the territory, state, or federal government departments, including local government authorities, hospitals, non-government organisations, or community health centres.
Some social workers are self-employed and work as therapists, counsellors, and consultants. With years of experience, extensive practical and academic training, qualified social workers choose to work in non-social work fields as policymakers, project officers, administrators, or managers.
11. How Much do Social Workers Earn in Australia?
The social worker salary in Australia usually depends on several factors such as educational background, speciality area, and more.
However, according to PayScale, the annual average earnings of a social worker range between AUD 50,000 to AUD 80,000 (depending on the demand of the position in each state within Australia and the years of relevant experience an applicant possesses).
12. Closing Words
If you want to become a social worker and make a difference in society, make sure you are passionate about it. At the end of the day, social work is a profession that refers to the underlying desire to really support people.
It is a challenging job, but it can be meaningful, impactful, and rewarding to several communities who need open-minded listeners to help address social issues.
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