Becoming a social worker

Our Master of Social Work fully prepares graduates for entry to the social work profession.

Social work is a profession committed to the development of the full potential of individuals, groups and communities. The profession recognises that there are personal and structural barriers that create and maintain distress, injustice and inequality and prevent the achievement of full potential. Some individuals, groups and communities are more disadvantaged by these barriers than others and they receive particular attention from the profession.

Social work confronts disadvantage and distress by striving to enable individuals, groups and communities to achieve power over resources, information, relationships and decision-making. Social work practice is the action taken by professional social workers in pursuit of the goal of empowerment. Such practice is informed by professional education based on the analysis of social processes and human behaviour.

More about the profession

The Australian Association of Social Workers describes the profession of social work this way on its website:

"Social work is the profession committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the enhancement of the quality of life, and to the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in society.

Social workers pursue these goals by working to address the barriers, inequities and injustices that exist in society, and by active involvement in situations of personal distress and crisis. They do this by working with individuals, groups and communities in the pursuit and achievement of equitable access to social, economic and political resources, and by working with individuals towards the realisation of their intellectual, physical and emotional potentials.

Social workers are committed to working within a stated value position and in accordance with a code of ethics.

Social work practice is informed by professional education based on an analysis and understanding of human development and behaviour, and of complex social structures and processes."

Where do social workers work?

In a wide range of government and community service agencies, such as:

  • Children, youth and family (family support, parenting, youth support and accommodation, housing and homelessness, child protection, foster care, residential child care)
  • Health (hospitals, community health, rehabilitation, palliative care, bereavement services)
  • Mental health (outreach, clinical services, hospitals, psychosocial rehabilitation)
  • Women’s services (health, sexual assault, domestic violence, women’s advocacy)
  • Ageing (aged care residential care, community care, health, local government)
  • Migration, refugee and settlement services
  • Justice and correctional services (juvenile justice, community corrections, prisons, court support)
  • Generic community counselling, advice, support and resource services (Centrelink, local government, community centres, community health)

What do they do?

Whatever it takes!

  • Group work – social support, educative, and action groups
  • Community work- needs assessment, community development, locality and social planning
  • Individual and family counselling and social casework
  • Program planning – fitting the pieces together to make strong and responsive human services
  • Policy development and advocacy

Why do they do it?

To make a difference.