What they do
Social workers assess the social needs of individuals, families and groups and assist them to develop skills and resources needed to resolve problems. Social workers also provide support services, such as counselling, facilitation of support groups and administering education programs, to clients experiencing a diverse range of difficulties. Social workers also help their clients and clients' families with practical issues, such as accessing income support, travel and accommodation subsidies and finding emergency accommodation. They may offer support to clients with a disability or chronic illness, victims of violent and/or sexual crimes, people who have attempted suicide or self-harm, homeless people, drug addicts and many others experiencing a personal crisis.
Social workers work in a variety of environments including schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, government agencies, courts and in private practice. They may also conduct home visits or run group support sessions in halls, churches or other community facilities. The majority of social workers in Western Australia are based in the Perth metropolitan region, however, there are employment opportunities for social workers throughout the state.
Tools and technologies
Social workers use standard office equipment, including computers, faxes and photocopiers. Depending on their area of specialisation they may also use counselling aides, such as children's toys, psychological tests and art supplies. Many social workers also need a drivers licence so that they are able to visit clients at home.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a social worker, you usually need to study a degree in social work. You may need to complete postgraduate studies to specialise in social work.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a social worker in Western Australia, you may need to obtain a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.
You may also require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.