Social Worker



OFO No: 263507





Other names for Social Worker:

  • Adoptions Worker
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Forensic Social Worker
  • Health Care Social Worker
  • Occupational Social WorkerReintegration Worker
  • School Social Worker


‘Social work is not just a career, it’s a calling! Students who REALLY want to follow this profession must be very passionate about helping disadvantaged SA communities with all their problems regardless where they are, especially in rural communities’ – Moqueloa Mothopeng, Project Manager: Scholarship Programme: National Department of Social Development.


What is a Social Worker?

A Social Worker helps individuals, families or communities to overcome challenges.

These challenges could be:

  • Addiction – (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex etc)
  • Abuse – (physical or emotional)
  • Disabilities
  • Old Age
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Health
  • Safety etc


Youtube clip – Family and School Social Worker Career Overview


Youtube clip – Health Social Work Career Overview


Youtube clip – Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker Careers Overview

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What does a Social Worker do?

  • meets with clients, families, groups or communities to discuss problems
  • interviews and collects information
  • analyses this information
  • designs programmes to help them reach their goals
  • monitors success of programmes
  • organises life skill workshops or substance abuse programmes
  • keeps in contact with healthcare professionals, teachers, community leaders etc
  • provides crisis intervention
  • sources emergency shelter when required
  • keeps in contact with the law and order officials
  • keeps detailed records

Are you . . . ?

  • caring?
  • dedicated?
  • passionate about helping people, no matter what?
  • a hard worker?
  • emotionally stable?
  • a person with a positive attitude?
  • a motivator?
  • understanding?
  • a good communicator?
  • a good listener?

How do I become a Social Worker?

You will need a 4 year Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. This degree has both theoretical and practical elements. The practical will take place in the field.

This qualification can be done at most universities of SA.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 



Once qualified, you will then approach the South African Council for Social Service Professionals (SACSSP) which is the regulating body that registers Social Workers.

The SACSSP encourages Social Workers to have a minimum of four or five years of field work experience before entering into private practice.


What Social Work areas can I specialise in?

Specialisations are usually added to your original qualification as you go along.  

263501 Social Counselling Worker

Provides socially related counselling services of a specific nature. May work in a call centre.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Bereavement Counsellor
  • Genetic Counsellor
  • HIV / Aids Counsellor
  • Trauma Counsellor
  • Women’s Welfare Organizer

263502 Addictions Counsellor 

Provides support and treatment for people with drug and alcohol dependency problems,
develops strategies which assist them to set goals and affect and maintain change, and
provides community education. 

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Drug and Alcohol Counsellor
  • Gambling Counsellor
  • Social Detoxification Worker

263503 Marriage and Family Counsellor 

Assists individuals, couples and families with marriage and relationship difficulties.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Family Court Counsellor
  • Family Mediator
  • Family Therapist

263504 Rehabilitation Counsellor

Assists physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged people to re-integrate into work and
the community.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Life Coach

263505 Student Counsellor

Provides information and assistance to students, parents and teachers about a wide range
of matters such as students’ personal problems, learning difficulties and special

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • School Counsellor

263506 Parole or Probation Officer

Supervises parolees who have been placed on probation by court order or released
conditionally from corrective service institutions.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Community Corrections Officer
  • Probation Worker 

263508 Child and Youth Care Worker

Assesses protective, developmental and therapeutic needs of a young person, providing
information and acting as a mediator.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Child and Youth Counsellor

263509 Parole Board Member

Evaluates behaviour and formulates an opinion on whether an offender should be released
from prison on parole after serving at least a minimum portion of their sentence as
prescribed by the sentencing judge.

263510 Employee Wellness Practitioner

Assesses physical and/or mental health and well-being of employees e.g. Employee fitness
programs, smoking cessation, nutrition and weight loss counselling, alcohol and drug
dependency counselling.

Alternative Titles and Specialisations:

  • Employee Assistance Practitioner


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Addictions Counsellor … or … Foundation Phase School Teacher

Is becoming a Social Worker the right career choice for me?