Career as Social Worker

Career as a Social Worker

About Social Worker

Social work is a rewarding career for those who are interested in working with people and wish to address social and community issues. Many people think that social work simply involves working with NGOs as a part-time job/activity. But in reality, social workers work with individual, communities, and families and deal with social issues such as unemployment, education, and poverty. Social workers contribute to the society by working for the upliftment of poor people, by working with children with special needs and promoting women empowerment.

Eligibility to become Social Worker

  • For B.S.W / B.A (SW) programme: Candidates should have completed their class 12 in any discipline from a recognised board.

  • For M.S.W / M.A (SW) programme: Candidates should have completed their graduation in any stream from a recognised university/ institute but graduates with social sciences or sociology are given more preference.

    • Candidates who have completed their M.Phil can also apply for the M.S.W programme.

  • Candidates having M.Phil or M.S.W degree can pursue a Ph.D/doctorate in social work.

  • Candidates are also required to qualify entrance exams such as TISSNET, AMU Entrance Test, JMI Entrance test , DUET etc. to take admission into Master's programme.

Types of Job Roles Social Worker

Unlike other professions or careers, the job profiles are quite different for a social worker. Social workers are engaged in social activity in which they deal with issues such as unemployment, education, and poverty. Following are some job profiles available in the field of social worker:

  • Welfare Officer: A welfare officer is a fundraiser for a university, college or private organisation. He/she also works for the welfare of Child/Youth/Women/Labour, etc.

  • Social Scientist:  A social scientist is responsible for creating a relationship between society and human behaviour.

  • Medical Social Worker: A medical social worker provides the necessary psychosocial support to help patients deal with terminal illnesses or conditions.

  • Community Development Officer: The role of a community development officer is linked to urban planning, housing needs and evaluation of revival projects within a city or community.

  • Probation Officer: The role of a probation officer is to arrange rehabilitation services, supervise the criminals and arrange job training.

  • Rural Development Officer: The rural development officer is responsible for promoting integrated rural development and social upliftment with the aim of improving the standard of living of agricultural workers.

Employment Sector/Industry for Social Worker

A social worker can find employment opportunities in both government and private/corporate sectors. Following are some of the fields that social workers can explore.

Medical and Healthcare Sector: In this field, a social worker works with patients and ensure that proper care is provided to them. and also take care of health and hygiene measures for efficient work.

Education and Research: A social worker can get into the education sector and teach students about the value of Social Work.

NGOs: A social worker can work with domestic and international NGOs such as Amnesty International, UNICEF, Green Peace, Oxfam, etc. He/she can also work with rural as well as urban populations and can contribute to relevant issues such as inadequate health, lack of sanitation, poverty, unemployment, etc.

Corporate Sector: A social worker can also work in private or corporate sector such as HR departments of various companies and MNCs, etc. In this field, he/she can work on the social needs of employees, and hire social work graduates.

Government Sector: A social worker can work in government organisations as a development officer or a welfare office such as state homes for women, adolescent house, child, and women development projects and HIV test centers in hospitals, etc.

Top Recruiting Companies/NGOs for Social Workers

Some prominent NGOs where an experienced and qualified social worker can find employment opportunities are as follows:

  • Smile Foundation   

  • Amnesty International

  • UNICEF

  • Green Peace

  • Oxfam

  • Helpage India

  • CARE India

  • Circle of Animal Lovers

  • Human Rights Agencies

  • Disaster Management Departments

  • Old Age Homes

Pay Scale/Salary of Social Worker

The salary of a social worker can vary according to his/her educational qualification and experience. It usually increases with knowledge, experience and time. Here are some relative salary figures for different types of social workers:

Job Profile

Starting Salary per annum (in INR)

Mid Level Salary per annum (in INR)

Senior Level Salary per annum (INR)

Social Worker

120,159

244,245

609,967

Development Officer

178,547

384,932

722,404

Probation Officer

191,446

383,279

699,364

Medical Social Worker

121,356

234,220

510,000

Note: The above-mentioned figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.

Books & Study Material to Become Social Worker

Below is a list of books that will help applicants to take entrance test at the Master's level

  • Sanjay Bhattacharya, K.Singh for Social work

  • Vidyabhushan & Sachdev for Sociology

  • Asthana for Counselling & Guidance

  • Murli Desai for Integrated Social Work

  • H.B. Trecker for Group Work

  • Elizabeth for Child Development

  • Ram Ahuja for Research Methodology

Pros of becoming a Social Worker

  • Social workers can choose to work in any field such as education, healthcare, military, etc.

  • Social work offers a sense of fulfillment as it involves helping others. 

  • The job market for social workers is expected to grow by more than 10%.

Cons of becoming a Social Worker

  • There are chances that you may get emotionally involved in some situations but have to keep it professional.

  • Social work may not be a very lucrative career. In fact, it could take years for a person to establish his/her name in thus field.

Career path for Social Worker

People from any educational background can get into the field of social work. However, for a professional start, you will first have to complete your bachelor's degree in social work, followed by a master's degree. You may also pursue a B.S.W / B.A (SW) programme in social work. 

At the undergraduate level, there is no entrance test in the field of social work. However, if you want to do master’s in social work, there are some universities who conduct entrance exams for admission into their courses in social work.

Paths for Being Social Worker