Social workers come into social work through an approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Degrees are currently approved by the General Social Care Council (GSCC), and from August 2012 the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) will start to approve courses.

The generic degree combines professional and academic training with 200 days of assessed practice in a range of settings and qualifies the holder to work in both children services and adult services. There is more information about degree courses and institutions offering them on the UCAS website.

The social work degree is available as a three year undergraduate Honours degree or a two year postgraduate Masters degree. For some people, qualifying while continuing to work may be an option. Currently there are bursaries available, although the bursary scheme is under review.

There is also an employer led route, Step Up to Social Work which is mainly for career changers.

The information in these pages will help you work out which route into social work best suits your personal situation and experience.