Types of Social workers

Generally, social workers practice in one of the following areas:

  • Child and family welfare
  • Marriage and divorce counselling
  • Care of the elderly
  • Medical social work
  • Psychiatric social work – Masters degree only
  • Social work with the mentally or physically disabled
  • Addictions focussed
  • Criminal offenders
  • Social work in the workplace or school

How does one become a social worker?

In order to practise as a social worker in South Africa one needs to register with The South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). The SACSSP is a statutory body under which falls the Professional Board for Social Work and the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care Work. The Council, in conjunction with its Professional Boards, works to protect both the integrity of the social service professionals and the public at large.

The most direct route to becoming a social worker would be to enrol for a Bachelor of Social Work. During their degree students are required to register for specific courses within the Faculty of Humanities with majors in social work, psychology and sociology. In order to qualify students also have to register for an internship, which requires them to complete a number of hours of field instruction at an approved welfare organisation in the social service sector.