Social Worker’s Job Description: Who They Are and What They Do


Friday, 26 August 2022

There exist many professions to help people who are in need. Social work is one of them. In this article, we will show you a more specific definition of social work and a social worker's job description. 


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It would be great to start by defining what a social worker is so that we can get a more clear view of the job they perform. A social worker is a professional who works to help people in need. They help families and individuals with education or health needs, improving their quality of life and making sure they have access to basic needs such as food, education, health, and shelter. 

Some of the most common problems a social worker’s client may have are related to poverty, addictions, abuse, unemployment, mental illnesses, and traumas. They focus on those people who are vulnerable and do not have any other place to ask for help. Social workers build relationships with the clients and analyse each of their situations to determine the best way of helping them. 

You might also like: Five Benefits of Earning a Master's Degree in Social Work


Social work practice can be divided into three different levels: micro, mezzo, and macro social work. The services that each social worker provides, depend on each of these levels. 

  • Micro social work: At the micro level, social workers offer their services to families and small group members. The services might include access to housing, healthcare, and treatments for mental health. 
  • Mezzo social work: At the mezzo level, social workers operate in bigger groups and organizations such as schools, prisons, hospitals, or neighbourhoods. They may assess people on drug abuse, students struggling academically, and people who have long-term diseases. 
  • Macro social work: At the macro level, social workers work upon large-scale systematic changes. That is to say, policy-making, research, and organisation of activist groups, among others. 

Once established the different levels at which social workers can work, it is necessary to address the social worker’s job description: what they can do and how they do it. 


What Do Social Workers Do? 

Social workers’ responsibilities and roles might change depending on the environment they work in, but the aim is the same for everyone: to help people in need overcome their problems through counselling and advocacy. The British Social Association for Social Workers has expressed that “social workers aim to improve people’s lives by helping with social and interpersonal difficulties, promoting human rights and wellbeing. Social workers protect children and adults with support needs from harm.[...] social work is a varied, demanding, often emotional and very rewarding career. ”

Daily, social workers work with individuals or groups, assessing their needs and focusing on what they find necessary. The root of the problem of individuals may stem from traumas, mental health issues, or discrimination. Professionals try to solve these problems through different perspectives, helping them cope with the stress they might be under. Sometimes they focus on the individual’s bigger picture, and some others focus on their private life and situations. 

Some of the responsibilities a social worker may have are: 

  • Help people solve their daily-life problems
  • Develop a plan to help the individuals
  • Work in a variety of organisations, whether public or private
  • Observe the client’s behaviour and traumas
  • Consult with other professionals such as doctors or psychologists
  • Instruct the client’s family during the treatment

With a degree in social work, you will be able to learn the main features and functions of a social worker. Likewise, you will be able to learn how to find clients, the best way to come up with a plan, how to help individuals, and in what instances you should intervene in a situation. If you find this career interesting and you want to become a social worker in the future, you can easily do it. Find out how to achieve all of your goals by getting a master’s degree in social work. In South Africa, there is one place where you can get the best education possible and get a Master’s degree in Social Work: Stellenbosch University. 

Get more information about this and more degrees by filling in the form on this site. 






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