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The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.

Occupation Details

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Social Care Worker / Practitioner

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skills, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, several years of full or part-time employment in the area may suffice.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship or training program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€24k > 44
Social Care Worker
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€24 - 44
Related Information:
Trainee: 24 - 29
Social Care Worker: 30 - 44
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Social Care workers help and support people who, perhaps because of their age, a physical or mental health problem or a severe learning difficulty, cannot cope with day-to-day tasks on their own.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:1

Naoise Pye
Social Care Worker

After completing the Leaving Cert, Naoise completed a 1 year course in Early Childhood and Education. She then went to Carlow College and completed a BA Degree in Applied Social Studies and Social Care. Now working in a residential unit in St Michael's House, she works to enhance, develop and support goals for people with an Intellectual disability.

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The Work header image

Social care workers plan and provide professional individual or group care to clients with personal and social needs. Client groups are varied and include children and adolescents in residential care; young people in detention schools; people with intellectual or physical disabilities; people who are homeless; people with alcohol/drug dependency; families in the community; or older people.

Social care workers strive to support, protect, guide and advocate on behalf of clients. Social care work is based on interpersonal relationships which require empathy, strong communication skills, self awareness and an ability to use critical reflection. Teamwork and interdisciplinary work are also important in social care practice.

The core principles underpinning social care work are similar to those of other helping professions, and they include respect for the dignity of clients; social justice; and empowerment of clients to achieve their full potential. Social care practice differs from social work practice in that it uses shared life-space opportunities to meet the physical, social and emotional needs of clients. Social care work uses strengths-based, needs-led approaches to mediate clients’ presenting problems.

Social care workers are trained, inter alia, in life span development, parenting, attachment & loss, interpersonal communication and behaviour management. Their training equips them to optimise the personal and social development of those with whom they work. In Ireland, the recognised qualification is a 3-year Level 7 degree. In Europe, social care work is usually referred to as social pedagogy and social care workers as social pedagogues.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You must have a caring nature and enjoy working with people. Patience, compassion, tact and a sense of humour are vital qualities, especially if you work with people who do not like to admit that they need help.  
You must have a caring nature and enjoy working with people. Patience, compassion, tact and a sense of humour are vital qualities, especially if you work with people who do not like to admit that they need help.  
You must understand that every resident has the right to keep as much independence as they can. You will need to treat each resident as an individual, with different physical and emotional needs.  
It demands a lot of stamina as shifts can be long working both at night and over weekends. Hours can also be flexible.  
You should be able to talk and listen to people from all backgrounds. You will need to be discreet, and able to ease people's embarrassment when you help them with personal tasks such as washing or using the toilet. You must be able to give help and support with resident's concerns or emotional problems.

Entry Routesheader image

A B.A. in Social Care is now required for entry as a Social Care Worker.

Until the mid-1990’s Social Care Workers were qualified by experience. Since then, various qualifications including Social Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Social Care degrees were accepted as meeting entry criteria. In recent years, with input from HIQA, and the impending requirement for registration with CORU, the qualification currently sought by employers is a Level 7 or Level 8 degree in Applied Social Studies in Social Care.

Undergraduate Degree Route - Several of the IoTs offer relevant programmes at Level 6, 7 and 8 including Athlone IT, Dundalk IT, Galway Mayo IT, Limerick IT, Cork IT, Tralee IT, Waterford IT, Carlow IT, St Patricks College Carlow, and Dublin IT. 

The professional qualification required is the 3 year Level 7 B.A. Many qualified practitioners go on to complete an Honours Degree (Level 8) in the field. Some may progress to postgraduate qualifications.

As undergraduates, students study a wide range of subjects, including psychology sociology and social policy legal studies principles of professional practice creative skills (art, drama, music). A key element of studying to be a professional Social Care Worker is the experience of supervised work placements, in a variety of social care settings throughout the training process.

FETAC Route - A wide range of relevant PLC courses at Level 5/6 (Social Studies; Applied Social Studies; Social Care among others) are available in the Further Education Colleges, the majority of which provide links to relevant degree level programmes.

Conversion Programmes - People currently employed in the social care sector holding any of the previously accepted qualifications, and job seekers who have more recently completed some of the associated qualifications who are interested in entering the social care sector or continuing their careers in the sector, may now find that they are restricted by the requirement to possess a specific social care qualification.

A  number of one year “conversion” programmes offering the opportunity to obtain a qualification in Applied Social Studies in Social Care are available. These are designed for jobseekers that already possess experience and/or similar qualifications in the social care field and wish to further develop their career in this chosen speciality.

CORU Registration - The requirement for registration of social care workers with CORU is expected to be in place in 2014. CORU is responsible for the registration of all healthcare professionals in Ireland and has already completed the registration of Social Workers. Registration will mean transparent identification of all social care professionals and will also determine the education, continuous professional development and accountability expectation in the social care sector.

Last Updated: December, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Residential Support Worker - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Association of Social Care Workers
Tel: 087 9708426
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Health Service Executive (HSE)
Address: Dr Steevens' Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin, 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: CORU - Regulating Health & Social Care Professionals
Address: 13 - 15 The Mall, Beacon Court, Bracken Rd., Sandyford, Dublin 18
Tel: (01) 293 3160
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Social Care Ireland
Address: Office BR105, Bradogue House, DIT, Grangegorman, Dublin, 7
Tel: (01) 402 4160
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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