Posted on: 19th Dec 2018 3057 Views

How to become a social worker in Ireland

This is a guide on how to become a social worker in Ireland and what qualifications do need to be a social worker. Here you will find a quick detailed description of the social worker such as what is social work, what does a social worker do, why one should become a social worker and what are the steps to become a social worker, what qualification needed to become a social worker in Ireland? It also includes a thorough explanation of what is the difference between the other helping professionals and a social worker.

become a social worker in Ireland

What is social work?

Social work is defined as a broad profession which is encompassed the different kinds of professionals who are working to serve the need of people. The social workers are working to improve the quality of life of the different people just like any other helping professionals including nurses and teachers.

Professional Social workers are helping people to overcome their life’s difficult problems and challenges. Now you must be thinking, if this is all a social worker does then what does a social care worker do or what is the difference between a social worker and social care worker. A social worker’s profession emphasizes social justice and the model of social work is focused on the person-in-environment.

A social worker just not helps an individual to solve their internal problem like a counsellor; they also help the individual to examine their relationships, community aspects, family issues, and other policies and systems that are affecting them and help them to address their all problems.

 What does a social worker do?

A social worker helps moderately to address individuals, families, groups, and couples’ problems. A social worker provides proper counselling to their clients; provide case management service to resolve any kind of problem including abuse, poverty, unemployment, trauma, mental illness, addiction, educational issue, and many more.

Generally, a social worker works with non-profitable organizations such as schools, government agencies, hospitals, etc. for the common good. Most social workers work with organizations, communities, and government agencies.

Social worker advocates for their client, and fight against their injustice and inequalities. They follow legislative advocacy and policy analysis to meet the client’s needs.

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How do Social workers differ from Social Care workers?

Social work is something that can be entitled as a “profession” whereas social care is a “job”. To understand customarily, practising for a profession needs a social work master’s in Ireland which is what is exactly true in the present situation. If one aspires to become a social worker, he/she needs to pursue a degree in social work from a university. In case, one already has a degree in social work, he will be required with an MA or if he has any relevant experience or an equivalent qualification, he would be able to pursue a shorter term course to convert into a qualified social worker.

On the other hand, if one aspires to become a social care worker, he doesn’t need a qualification or degree from a university for that at all. Rather he can get on-the-job training and earn the essential skills of a social care worker as well as a sort of experience that he can transfer into a social worker qualification as discussed earlier as well.

While social workers are to deal with the systems at a broader scale, on the other side social care workers emphasize personal care & social needs, working with individuals, and helping to identify the availability of new and diverse options for them while providing essential services such as shopping for food, performing the care plans made by the social workers for the people to get healthy as well as independent.

Although the social care workers can eventually convert into social workers, it is a different and vital job but equally respectful in terms of hard work and effort. In addition, the social worker in Ireland’s salary is almost similar to the social care worker’s salary in Ireland.

Why does one choose a career as a social worker?

There are numerous reasons; one should choose a social worker as their career. Some people choose it as their career because they are helping people from the past and they would like to help others in the future, some choose this as they have a huge interest in helping people with strong issues like mental illness, abuse, and addictions.

This career has great future opportunities with a high social worker salary and this is among those professions which are developing day by day.

If you have decided to choose this exciting field and want to become a social worker but you have no idea what steps you need to follow to become a social worker in Ireland then here, we are presenting some steps to become a social worker.

what qualifications do I need to be a social worker in Ireland?

There is a National Social Work Qualification Board ( NSWQB) in Ireland. This is a body that defines certain norms for the qualifications of a social worker. so if you are thinking that “How do I become a social worker without a degree?” then, in Ireland it may not be possible. Because NSWQB certification is important for becoming a social worker in Ireland.

Below are qualification details that can fulfil your desire of becoming a social worker.

  • Bachelor’s degree: The first step of getting into the social work profession is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in social work from a college and university in Ireland such as the University of Dublin, University College Cork, Dublin City College, etc.
  • The Bachelor of the social work program prepares a student to become a professional social worker and journalist in the social worker’s field by giving them relevant education. A student learns the social worker practices by practical and theoretical learning and gets real-world work setting experience. Once you will get a bachelor’s degree then you will be eligible to work as a social worker.
  • Master’s degree: Whether a student completes his bachelor’s in social work or another field, he is eligible to apply for a master’s degree course in social work. There are a huge number of colleges in Ireland that provides online and on-campus masters in social work.

If one student has completed BSW before applying for graduate school then he may eligible for an advanced one-year’s social work graduate course rather than they have to complete a 2-year course.

The curriculum of the graduate social worker course is combined classroom learning with field learning. One can choose a clinical focus or macro concentration as per their interest. By learning these courses in social work, students will get knowledge of a wide range: Psychology, Legal Studies, Creative skills (Music, Drama, Art), Sociology and Social Policy, Principles of professional practice, etc.

In Ireland, if you want to practice as a social worker then the minimum required qualification is 3-year, level-7course. If one gets a level-8 qualification then it can lead them to a management level course.

  • Get your license in your state: Once you have completed your degree courses, you are required for the social work licensing to ensure safe professional practice. There are several licenses available such as an initial license, licensure for a clinical social worker, and license for a social worker with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
  • Initial License: One bachelor’s in social work requires becoming a licensed social worker as per the state and is referred to as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW). To get an initial license, one has to work under the administration of a clinical social worker.

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  • Master License: One who wants to apply for a master’s or graduates social work license must have an initial license and a degree in social work can apply for a master’s or graduate social work license, which is referred to as Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW). One has to complete field experience and an examination to get this license.
  • Clinical License: One who wants to apply for the clinical license must have a degree in social work and a current license to become a clinical licensed social worker, who is referred to as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To get this license, one should have years of experience working and successful completion of the examination.
  • License renewal: All licensed social worker in Ireland has to pay fees annually which are required by the state. Several states require social workers to complete a continuing education course for license renewal.
  • Endorsement: There is no such procedure to transfer one state’s social work license to another state. States require submitting certain information and transcript to apply for the license of that particular state.
  • A social worker in Ireland can apply for extra accreditation and certification through the NationalAssociation of Social Workers.
  • Obtain employment: A social worker plays a very important role, which planning and providing care to the clients and fulfilling their social needs.

There are many different areas to work as a social after getting a BA (Hons) Level-8 degree including work in detention schools for young people; helping homeless people, alcohol and drug-addicted people; adoption and fostering agencies; women’s refuges; care of people with physical or intellectual disabilities; probation and welfare agencies and travel centres; children and adolescents in residential care; school completion programme.

The students who pursue a master’s in social work programme have more opportunities such as therapeutic childcare, child protection, young and youth studies, addiction studies, guidance counselling, social work, child, family, and community studies, play therapy, and occupational therapy, counselling, and psychotherapy.

Which type of courses do Ireland colleges offer in Social Work?

Some different colleges and universities can help you in acquiring different degrees in the field of Social Work. We are enlisting some of them, that might be helpful for you:

 1. University College Cork offers:

  • Bachelor of Social work
  • Masters of Social work
  • Postgraduation diploma in Social work-study

2. University College in Dublin

  • Professional Master of Social Work
  • Masters in Science (Social Work)
  • Postgraduate Doctoral Degree in Social Work

  3. National University of Ireland Galway

Masters in Social Work, National University of Ireland Galway

4. Trinity College Dublin

  • Bachelor in Social Studies
  • Masters in Social Work
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

5. Institute of Technology Sligo

  • Master of Arts in Social Work, Institute of Technology Sligo

Benefits of choosing social work as a career:

  • You will never get bored: Every day comes with a new challenge in the social worker’s field. Though you have meticulously planned for your next day, you will find unexpected challenges, which will never let you bore.
  • Diverse career opportunities: Social work has great career opportunities, when you get training as a social worker then you will get knowledge of many areas and aspects of the profession so you choose any career.
  • You’ll discover new things about yourself: Social work is a field which will make you learn many new things. When dealing with a new situation, you will discover many new things within you. You will get to know your strengths and weakness.
  • You will get a chance to change someone’s life: While working for someone who is homeless or one who is addicted to drugs or one who is sexually harassed then you are the one who will be fighting for these people’s lives and will be responsible for these people’s life improvement.

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FAQs –

Q1.Is becoming a social worker hard?

Ans-No Too begins with, this question might sound intimidating. The truth is that though the path of becoming a social worker seems difficult, yet, the results are prolific. Of course, the person practising this profession has to undergo a lot of trials and tribulations. Be it mental, social, emotional, or any. But, what gets you through is your willpower and the target of introducing peace and betterment in society.

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