What Does a Social Worker Do?
If you have an enquiring mind and are interested in people, then you may be keen to pursue a social science career. Social science covers a wide range of fields, so there is sure to be something that piques your interest. Social science qualifications will provide you with skills that can be transferred across a number of careers.
What is Social Science?
In a nutshell, social science is the study of human society and social relationships. Embracing a number of different fields, it is an excellent career choice.
Social science covers many topics including:
- Education —how people learn and develop
- Economics —the development and distribution of wealth
- Geography — particularly related to people, including their cultures and communities
- Psychology — studying the human mind and how people experience the world through different mental states
- Social policy — policy relating to social and economic needs
- Law — the criminal justice system.
As you can see, study areas are broad and you will have the opportunity to gain qualifications for a wide range of jobs. You will also learn skills that employers want, including oral and written communication skills, analytical and critical thinking skills, problems solving skills, how to work as part of a team, and organisational skills.
What Qualifications do I Need?
Because the area of Social Science covers a wide range of disciplines, there are many courses which can steer you onto the path of a career in the industry. However, here are a few ideas:
If you are interested in the area of counselling and wish to work with young people, the Certificate IV in Youth Work will provide you with a great overview of the needs of this demographic. You will gain an understanding of the needs of young people as well as learn how to help them navigate difficult issues they face. Another great course if you are interested in helping people is the dual qualification of Certificate IV in Alcohol and other Drugs and Certificate IV in Mental Health. You will learn how to support clients of all ages, through their rehabilitation and addiction treatment plans. You will also be equipped to work in community service areas including alcohol and other drugs, mental health and youth.
For those interested in criminology, a Certificate IV in Forensic Investigation will train you to work effectively in the area of crime scene investigation. You will gain a broad range analytical, technical and communication skills which you can apply in any work setting. If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of the more vulnerable, then a Diploma of Community Services may be what you’re looking for. You will gain many skills to equip you to work in the community services sector in a variety of settings, including family welfare, disability services, child protection or community health services.
If studying an undergraduate degree is up your alley, the following humanities degrees, available to be taken online, will hold you in good stead, and will lead to higher paid jobs with more responsibility, including managerial type roles. The Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) provides professional training in counselling so that you can provide effective counselling services to those in need. You will cover areas including community counselling, women’s health, coping with anxiety and dealing with depression.
The Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Community Services) is an accredited higher education qualification designed to teach you how to best serve the community. Areas you could be working in include immigration, alcohol and other drug abuse, homelessness, aged care, and child and family services. This ‘approved course’ of the Australian Community Workers Association ensures you are well-equipped to enter the workforce. The Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology) examines human behaviour and relationships and will provide you with the skills to put this knowledge into practice. This course is the first-step to becoming a professional psychologist, with the option of specialising in areas such as counselling, health, clinical, organisational, and sports psychology.
The Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a broad-based social science degree. It covers crime, the criminal justice system, and related social issues. With a professional qualification in the field of Criminology and Criminal Justice, you will have all the specialised knowledge and skills needed to work in the criminal justice system.
To take your career further, postgraduate studies in criminology and criminal justice are available. The Master of Criminology and Criminal Justice will provide you with a more in-depth look at the criminal justice system. You will learn the social and psychological explanations for crime, and study contemporary debates in criminological theory. You can also choose to study electives that include criminal justice, research practice, policing, corrections and crime prevention. If social policy is more to your liking the Master of Policy and Applied Social Research will enable you to improve your knowledge of policy and develop new areas of expertise. Your skills in applied social research and analysis of policy in a social context will also be developed. In this course, you will focus on designing and conducting applied research, the evaluation process, and understanding and analysing policy.
Where will it take me?
Qualifications in the social science field will lead to many different jobs in social services in a variety of settings. For example, if you were interested in counselling, you could find yourself working as a social worker, counsellor or case manager. The average salary for a qualified social worker is $58,987, while a case manager can earn around $59,470 per year.
If you pursued training in criminology you could gain employment as a police officer, crime analyst, detective or even counter-terrorist officer. Police officers can earn an average of $69,339 while a criminologist earns an average of $59,869 per year.
Employers are always looking for those with a psychology degree for jobs in the community and mental health, human resource management, policy development, research, welfare, journalism, marketing and advertising. A Human Resource Manager earns an average salary of $88,240 while a Marketing Manager earns around $76,931.
And if you choose to focus on policy as your field of study, you could be employed in a wide range of senior positions including:
- Policy roles in local, state and federal public sectors
- Non-government agencies in policy and advocacy roles
- Trade unions
- Social research and marketing companies
- Research positions within academic and other research bodies.
As you can see, the career paths for someone with professional social science qualifications is wide and varied, meaning your degree will be a valuable asset to you. So if you want a career that’s both interesting and challenging, take a closer look at social science.