Qualifications needed – includes contact details and links

What qualifications do I need to be a social

The Diploma in Social Work (DipSW) is a professional
qualification for all social workers and education welfare officers
in England. You can study for a DipSW course at a wide range of
levels at 80 universities and colleges of higher education
throughout England. Click
for a full list. The course takes a minimum of two years.
DipSW courses are available on full-time, part-time, open and
distance learning routes and involve a combination of academic
learning and practical learning in social care settings. Click
for more information on the DipSW course.

New degree in social work
This year, a new degree has been introduced which over the
next two years will gradually replace the DipSW. The last intake
onto a DipSW programme will be 2004. However, anyone holding a
DipSW qualification will be recognised as a qualified social
worker. The new degree will be a three-year course with
opportunities for postgraduates to complete it in two years. The
new degree will make social work a graduate-level profession for
the first time and will ensure that social work training reflects
the very latest developments in the social care world. Click
for more information on the new degree course. A list of
universities offering the new degree is available here.

NVQ in social care
An NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) is a nationally
recognised qualification that shows you are able to work to a set
national standard. NVQs are based on National Occupancy Standards
written by the particular employment-led body which represents your
work area. In social care in England this is Topss England. NVQs
are gained in the workplace, whether you are employed or on a
placement there. But many NVQs require that you have a certain
level of background knowledge about your area of work. NVQs in
social care are: care levels 2,3,4, promoting independence level 3,
caring for children and young people level 3 (nb minor variations
of units for Scotland), diagnostic and therapeutic support level 3,
registered managers (adult services) level 4 and registered
managers (child care) level 4 (in development). The General Social
Care Council will soon be inviting people with NVQs to apply to the
social care register.

Length and type of training
Social workers normally spend a minimum of two years in
full-time training.

Undergraduate DipSW courses are typically three years in length,
and postgraduate courses are two years. These include full-time,
employment-based, part-time and open or distance learning routes.
Approximately half the time is spent in the university or college
and during the course you will spend a minimum of 80 hours working
alongside experienced social workers. You will be encouraged to
experience different types of placements – in different
sectors, and with different groups of service users. Your work will
be assessed by a practice teacher – a social worker who has
experience and training in helping students through practice
placements. Social care agencies and service users are actively
involved in DipSW programmes, helping to design and deliver the

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