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Social work in today's fast moving and challenging world has established itself as a significant full fledged profession at par with any other profession. As the world is in the process of becoming increasingly materialistic, devoid of human sentiments and emotions, with people growing more and more being self-centered, there is yet another global trend which is becoming distinctly evident. There is lot of urge for the younger lot who want to do something for the welfare of the society. Also with work there is also great satisfaction in doing something for others, which cannot be equaled or compensated by any normal remunerative job. Even those working in full-time jobs are today interested to do some social work in their spare time.

It might be said that indeed it is a noble gesture to indulge in working for others or lend a helping hand to those who may not be as privileged as we might be. The scope of social work is very much wider these days. There is a direct need for people who could provide help to the disadvantaged members of the society. Today there are more centres for rehabilitation for drug addicts, orphaned children and people with disabilities. Counseling, both educational and psychological, is being required these days by a large section of the population. There are even enomourous opportunities in health care, community policing, adoption, environmental protection, culture, and so on. The social sector mainly consists of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and institutions which are providing services to different sections of society. Many are generally being engaged in research and publishing while others are active in solving problems at the grass root level.

An idealistic and inspiring youngster who is interested to do productive work for the country is usually attracted to the social sector. Fortunately, it is today more than an occupation of the idle and is getting highly professionalized. Several institutes are being opened up which offer degrees and diplomas in social work, after which there are permanent positions which can be obtained in organizations. Salaries are very much soaring, with generous infusion of funds from the government and foreign agencies. Social work doesn't matter necessarily which mean voluntary or low-paying work. It can be very much financially-rewarding career choice and offers employment across the public and private sector. It is common to find students waiting anxiously to get admission among the top management colleges of India or into any of the top engineering colleges in India. These days we rarely come across students passionate about taking-up Social Work as a career choice.

Basic Classification of Social Work

Social Workers are being often classified as Macro, Mesco and Micro workers. These divisions usually indicate different profile of work done at different levels. Macro Social Workers usally work on national or global projects and they are also involved in core processes such as policy-making or raising sponsorships for welfare programmes. Mesco Social Workers are usually who work with smaller organizations while Micro Social Workers are the one who work at the smallest scale, i.e. families or individuals.

Social Work Eligibility Criteria

Although there are no basic qualifications to enter into the social sector, a Master in Social Welfare (MSW) degree, rural management or any masters' degree in social sciences would very much help. Degrees in environment and forestry management are also being offered by various institutes. Apart from this, diplomas can be obtained in specific areas which are like those for the hearing impaired, physically handicapped and old age. Some organizations train volunteers themselves.

The Various courses which are offered in social work, their duration and qualifications required are:

B.S.W / B.A (SW), Duration: 3years; Eligibility for it is candidates - those who have passed the XIIth standard can apply for this course.

M.S.W / M.A (SW), Duration: 2 years; Eligibility for this course is candidates who have completed graduation in any subject can apply but graduates having sociology or social sciences as their subjects are preferred. M.Phil, Eligibility - usually the candidates who have completed M.S.W can apply for this course Ph.D, Eligibility for this is that the candidates with a M.S.W or M.Phil degree can pursue a doctorate in social work.

Graduation in Social Work: Popular options pursued in the niche Social Work include a B.S.W or B.A. in Social Work as a three-year graduate programme. Candidates who have completed their XII standard examination are eligible for this course. The Institute of Social Sciences in Delhi is one of the most prestigious institutes offering such graduation courses.

Post-graduation Degree in Social Work: candidates who have completed their graduation in Sociology or Social Sciences are preferred for admission into a two-year post-graduate M.A. in Social Work which is essentially a 2-year programme. However, graduation in other streams is also admissible in many colleges offering such post-graduate programmes.

More Post-graduation Degree Options in Social Work: students who have completed their post-graduation or M.A. in Social Work can further undertake an M.Phil. Similarly, students who have completed their M.Phil. in Social Work can further pursue a Ph.D. in Social Work. Students with an M.Phil. in Social Work can seek to complete a Doctorate in Social Work. Candidates with credible qualifications in social work from reputed Institute of Social Sciences, India have the opportunity to seek recruitment in human resource management as they have enviable skills and experience in handling material and human resources. The fact that Social Workers are also recruited by international organizations like UNESCO, WHO and UNICEF underlines the fact that their skills sets are equally applicable in the global marketplace.

Candidates passing from leading institutes of Social Sciences in India are often employed in various areas like the public health institutes, psychiatric centres, counselling forums, reform centres and even anthropological or research-based organizations. Social workers can pursue counselling in specialized niches in the following manners
  • Community Welfare

  • Adoption & Child Welfare

  • Family Services

  • Mental Health Services

  • Community Services

  • Environmental Conservation

Social Work profiles are often explored by other specialists such as individuals with specialization in Criminology. Such candidates can mostly explore Social Work profiles in correctional facilities. Similarly, Labour Welfare Specialists often seek employment as labor welfare officials in government and international organizations. Social Work Graduates can seek employment as Community Welfare Officers in NGOs aimed at upliftment of the rural sector in India. After gaining exposure in such fields, Social Work graduates can seek employment as consultants in organizations involved in development programs. Social Workers are among the most dexterous of professionals, involved across various verticals some of which might not be intended as a part of the standard curriculum. Social Workers can further specialize in activities such as aiding the rural population in management of water or involved in the caring of the aged in old age homes.

Social Work in today's world

Social Work is no longer limited to the conventional definition of being involved in charity or welfare-oriented organizations though many institutions employing personnel with social work qualifications are involved in such activities. The work of a Social Worker can include various dynamics such as providing managing assistance, helping in educational or healthcare programmes or providing assistance in welfare activities such as the protection of children and women. Today the society is becoming more and more complex in its working. The prime slogan of today's world is - survival of the fittest.

This has increased the number of helpless, deprived and disadvantaged. Here the role of social work comes into play. Social work utilizes resources to short out the problems of such people and try to ameliorate and alleviate their pain and suffering. Social workers try to prevent social problems caused by poverty, unemployment, inadequate health and education facility, alcoholism, drugs abuse. They also try to improve the life of certain disadvantaged like disabled, old aged, orphan and women. The days are gone when social work was done for philanthropic purpose. But now it become a professional courses offered by institutes like TISS, IRMA and Delhi School of Social Work keeping in eyes the proliferation of NGOs in every nooks and corner of the country. Many and many students now prefer social work courses and get wide varieties of opportunities.

Social Work Institutes/Universities:

Social Work

Punjabi University, Patiala

Shivaji University, Vidyanagar, Kolhapur

Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri

Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi

Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Nagarjuna University, Nagarjuna Nagar

Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati

University of Madras, Chennai

The Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM)

Management House College Square West, Kolkata-700 073

Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai

Institute of Social Sciences, Agra;

University of Delhi, Delhi; Rajasthan University,

M.S. University of Baroda, Bombay University,

Aurangabad University,

Mangalore University,

Loyola College of Social Sciences, Trivandrum and

Madras School of Social Work, Chennai.


Remuneration of qualified professional in the field of social worker varies according to their job profile, qualification and experience. Those who are employed in government's community developmental projects have good earnings of Rs 8000 to Rs 10000. Those who are working for NGOs also have similar pay structures. One can expect higher salary in corporate houses and industries. Salaries and perks are even higher in International NGOs. The Social Workers who are running their own NGOs also have handsome earnings.