Pay for social workers depends on their experience, the type of work they do and their employer.
Child, Youth and Family (CYF) and district health boards (DHBs) employ over half of all social workers.
Pay for social workers at CYF varies.
Qualified social workers start on $44,381 a year, and can progress to $65,200 a year.
Those with extra responsibilities can earn between $59,200 and $74800 a year.
Practice leaders can earn between $73,600 and $99, 600 a year.
Pay for social workers at district health boards also varies.
Social workers employed by DHBs start on $48,000 a year and progress to $66,000 a year.
Senior social workers at DHBs with extra responsibilities can earn between $69,000 and $100,000 a year.
Sources : Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, 2016; District Health Board / Public Sector Association, 'Allied, Public Health & Technical Multi-
Employer Collective Agreement, 2015 to 2017', 2015; and Ministry of Social Development, 'Child, Youth and Family Collective Agreement, 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2015', 2012.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Social workers may do some or all of the following :
support people in crisis, talk with them about their problems, and help them make decisions
help people with support such as benefits and accommodation
advise people on their rights and opportunities
write reports and case notes
give advice on social problems
work with communities to help build on their strengths
use the law to ensure that people are held accountable for their offences.
Skills and knowledge
Social workers need to have :
knowledge of social work practice and theories
an understanding of social and cultural issues and problems
knowledge of human behaviour, development, relationships and social systems
counselling and negotiating skills
knowledge of social policy and how it is developed
an understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi.
For those who specialise in working with Māori communities, knowledge of Māori language and culture is essential.
Social workers :
may work full or part time. They may work long hours, and are sometimes required to be on call or do shift work
work in schools, hospitals, homes, marae, government agencies and in the community. They may also work in residential centres and courts
may work in stressful conditions, dealing with challenging and highly distressed clients
may travel locally to visit people in their homes.
To become a registered social worker, you need to meet the Social Workers Registration Board requirements. This includes demonstrating that you are a "fit and proper person" to be a social worker and that you hold a recognised qualification such as :
Bachelor of Social Work or Applied Social Work
Ngā Poutoko Whakarara Oranga - Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work
Poutuārongo Toiora Whānau
an approved two year Master's degree.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training.
Social workers need to be :
excellent communicators who can relate to people of all ages and cultures
good decision-makers, with excellent problem-solving skills
understanding, empathetic, patient and honest
reliable, adaptable and able to cope with stressful situations
able to keep information private and work within a code of ethics
well organised, with good planning skills.
Useful experience for social workers includes :
welfare agency work
youth or community work
work with families, children or people with disabilities
counselling and support work, or other work that involves helping people
work within an iwi / Māori social service
work with people from various cultures.
To become a registered social worker, you need to meet the Social Workers Registration Board requirements.