To become a children’s social worker, you’ll need to gain a degree qualification which is recognised by Social Work England. There are three main ways to do this:

  • Studying an undergraduate or postgraduate course at university
  • Completing a fast track postgraduate course, like Step Up to Social Work
  • Completing a Degree Apprenticeship through a local authority

Studying social work at university

This is the most common way to gain a social work degree. You can apply to undergraduate social work courses (such as a BA in Social Work) with A-levels and GCSEs, while a postgraduate course (such as an MA in Social Work) will require you to have completed an undergraduate degree.

Entry requirements for an undergraduate social work degree course will be different depending on the university you choose to apply to, but most will require around 2 A-levels, plus 5 GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grade C or above. We’ve listed some of the courses available in Yorkshire & the Humber on our Social Work Courses page.

The Open University also runs social work programmes. You can study social work at your own pace and continue to work. However, the Open University does not find social work placements for you. Instead, you would need to find an employer to sponsor you in order to become a social worker (which can be difficult). This route may be useful if you work in the field of social care already.

Fast-track social work courses

If you already have a degree that isn’t related to social work, one of the quickest ways to become a children’s social worker is through a fast-track postgraduate course, such as Step Up to Social Work. These have some advantages over a typical social work postgraduate course, as they are fully funded and offer a bursary to students.

Fast-track places are limited, so there is a lot of competition. In order to apply to Step Up to Social Work, you’ll need to meet the academic entry requirements and also show some experience working or volunteering with children and families. You can find out more about the entry requirements and how to apply on our dedicated Step Up page.

Social Work Degree Apprenticeships

The third way to gain a social work degree is by completing an apprenticeship through your employer. This is a relatively new option, which allows you to earn a degree without having to take time out to study. Studying through an apprenticeship also means you won’t have to pay tuition fees, and you’ll be paid by your employer for the work you do.

At the moment, Degree Apprenticeships are only being offered in our region as part of a ‘grow your own’ programme. This means places are only available to people already working for a local authority, making it a useful option for people already working in social care or children’s services. For more information on social work apprenticeships and how to pursue this route into social work, check out our Apprenticeships FAQ.