Social Worker

If you are empathetic and passionate about helping people, a career as a Social Worker could be for you.

In this profile:

Career Overview

Social Workers are responsible for helping and improving the lives of the individuals, families and communities they serve through counseling, psychotherapy and mediation.

Required School Subjects

You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:

  • English Home Language or First Additional Language
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy

Recommended subjects:

  • Life Orientation

Recommended Institutions and APS

The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in Social Work:

Calculate your own APS Below

Required Qualification/s

To practice as a Social Worker in South Africa, individuals must complete a Social Work Degree (in Social Work) and successfully register with the South African Association of Social Service Professionals (SACSSP).

Required Skills

You will need to show:

  • active listening and communication skills
  • empathy and social awareness
  • emotional intelligence
  • inner strength
  • critical thinking and effective problem-solving skills

Where can you work

You can work in one of the following sectors:

  • Private practice
  • Welfare organisations
  • Government/non-governmental organisations
  • Governmental institutions, such as prisons and hospitals

Working Hours

In most jobs, you will work in normal office hours (8/9am – 5pm); however, some may expect you to work out of these working hours on rotation or on call.


Salary can range, depending on your experience and what sector you choose to work in but according to PayScale, the average pay for a Social Worker is between R92 000 and R268 000 per year.

What to Expect

Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Social Worker:

  • Working with vulnerable groups of people. For example, the elderly, children and the poverty-stricken.
  • Working out of the office and visiting people in their homes, at school or in hospital.
  • Managing and creating care plans for your patients.
  • Assessing individuals’ situations and needs and intervening appropriately, even if the intervention may feel difficult or uncomfortable.
  • Crisis management, which will involve you having to think on your feet and respond quickly.

Related Articles

Bachelor of Social Work: The full Experience

Bachelor of Applied Social Science

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