A Social Worker helps people of all ages to cope with the problems caused by poverty, unemployment, illness, antisocial behaviour and other social inadequacies.

Typical Job Activities

  • The social worker practices in the fields of:
  • child and family welfare
  • marriage and divorce counselling
  • care of the elderly
  • medical social work
  • psychiatric social work
  • social work with the mentally or physically disabled
  • social work with alcoholics and drug dependents
  • social work with criminal offenders
  • social work in the workplace or school
  • The social worker uses various working methods, often in combination:
  • Case work: The case worker sets up a one-to-one relationship with individuals, visiting them to give personal assistance and encouragement.
  • Group work: A group worker organises group activities for people sharing similar problems, interests and needs e.g. the organisation of recreational activities for the elderly.
  • Community work: This social worker identifies needs in the community and helps to plan and develop health, housing, rehabilitation and other welfare services.

Related Occupations

  • Family planning community worker
  • Sociologist
  • Social auxiliary worker
  • Nursing auxiliary

Educational Requirements

  • Senior Certificate with matric exemption
  • Any Appropriate degrees or Diploma.


  • The practicing social worker must register with the South African Interim Council for Social Work.

What natural skills and/or aptitudes do I need for this occupation?

  • Enjoys working with different kinds of people
  • Have a desire to serve others and help them to live fuller lives
  • Be sympathetic but objective
  • Be reliable and resourceful
  • Be even-tempered, tolerant and mature
  • Inspires confidence in others
  • Have a good understanding of human nature
  • Have above average intelligence and verbal abilities
  • Have good health and physical stamina

Possible Employers

  • Government departments and provincial and local administrators
  • National Council for the Care of Physically Disabled Persons in SA
  • National Council for the Care of Physically Disabled Persons in SA
  • South African Family and Marriage Society (FAMSA)
  • Provincial hospitals
  • South African National Council regarding Alcoholism and Drug Dependency
  • South African National Council for Child and Family Welfare
  • Medium or small companies