What Is Social Work?
— Social work is a profession that focuses on helping individuals, groups, and communities to improve their wellbeing through access to certain facilities, care, and assistance.
— To be a successful social worker one requires a degree in social work as well as a variety of interpersonal skills and attributes.
— Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where To Study Social Work In South Africa?
The following universities offer bachelor, master or doctorate of social worker in South Africa;
The University of Pretoria offers a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) program and various postgraduate programs in Social Work and in Criminology.
The fields of social work and criminology deal with the impact of social problems that emerge from people’s interaction with their environment.
At Wits University, Social Work thus BA Social Work is a four-year professional degree program. During the four-year degree, you will learn about professional ethics and processes in social work, as well as different intervention models, the legislative framework, research methodologies, and concepts and theories underpinning the profession.
Stellenbosch University offers a four-year Bachelors-degree, which is accredited by the South African Council for Higher Education, as well as a Master’s (minimum one-year registration) and PhD (minimum two-year registration) programmes entailing research projects.
This is a four-year qualification offered full-time at the Auckland Park Campus.
Students are required to register for specific courses within the Faculty of Humanities with majors in Social Work (at 4th year level) and Psychology and Sociology (one up to 3rd year level).
BSW2605 includes a maximum of 140 hours’ work-integrated learning in a practical setting at an approved organization and under the supervision of a registered social worker. Full-time students in the BSW may register for up to 144 credits per annum to account for the practical work.
The University of Zululand is one of the top public universities in South Africa offering social work courses. The courses include; Bachelor of Social Work Code, Master of Social Work, and Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work.
Students must take all four social work modules and have a choice of doing either four modules of Psychology and two of Social Sciences, or vice versa, depending on their choice of principle subject.
This program is made up of compulsory fundamental and core modules, as well as a choice of elective modules which can be selected according to the student’s interests. Practical work is an integral part of the degree from the second year level. Graduates qualify for registration as social workers with the Council for Social Service Professions.
The Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, offers a BSW degree and Masters in Social Work MSW
North-West University offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) which is a four year program.
Successful completion of the program grants admission to a Master degree in Social Work. Admission is subject to a selection process and available capacity in the subject group.
What is a Bachelor of Social Work?
A bachelor’s of social work degree provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare for a professional career as a social worker. Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Bachelor of Art in Social Work (BASW) programs generally offer students a broad foundation for generalist social work practice.
What are the admission requirements to study Social work in South Africa?
Like most Bachelor degrees a National Senior Certificate is required preferably with English as a first language, as well as a second South African language and mathematics (at least standard grade). Keep in mind that a degree can only teach you the skills, your natural aptitudes and passion will make up for the rest. To be a successful social worker it is vital that you tick the following boxes:
You enjoy working with different kinds of people from various cultures and walks of life
You have both a good IQ and a good EQ
You have a desire to serve others and help them to live their best lives
You are sympathetic, but also objective
You are reliable and resourceful
You inspire confidence in others
You have good communication skills
You’re tolerant and even tempered
You have a good understanding of human nature
You experience empathy easily
How Do Social Workers Go About Their Work?
Social workers often interact with the most vulnerable members of society, working hard to improve their lives and ultimately their futures. Depending on a person’s area of interest and experience the role of a social worker and the field in which they focus can vary greatly from one position to another.
Areas Where Social Workers Are Needed
Generally, however, social workers practice in one of the following areas:
- Child and family welfare
- Marriage and divorce counseling
- 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
What do social workers do in school?
Overall School Social Workers help parents, students, and school staff identify needs that interfere with learning and work with students to get the services they need. Social Workers work with general and special education students and their families to resolve social, emotional and behavioral problems.
How long does it take to become a school social worker?
Answer: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs generally take four years to complete. If you attend a full-time Master of Social Work (MSW) program, it should take two years. Part-time programs are available for undergrads and graduate students. Expect these programs to take longer
How do you become a social worker In South Africa?
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.