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Students and graduates

What you should know about the standards and when to apply for registration.

Social work students and graduates

Information about what you need to do

Social worker is a protected title. That means that you cannot use the title unless you have completed the required training and you are registered with us. As the regulator for social workers in England, we have a duty to ensure public protection and dealing with title misuse is an important part of this. 

It is your responsibility to apply to join the register. Your university or employer will not be able to do this for you, but they may be able to help you with your application.

You must not practise as a social worker until your application to join the register has been approved and you have paid the registration fee. Once you are registered, your name and registration number will be listed on our public register.

You can apply to join the register when:

  • you have received official confirmation from your course provider that you have successfully completed your course, and
  • your course provider has sent us their pass list (list of people who passed the course)

We need the pass list to verify your qualification and will not be able to progress your application until we have had confirmation from your university that you have successfully passed your course. We ask course providers to tell you when they've sent their pass lists to us. This is usually about 5 working days after results have been officially confirmed.

If you qualified more than 5 years ago

You can register within 5 years of qualifying. If it has been more than 5 years since you qualified, you will need to update your skills and knowledge before applying.

The current situation with COVID-19 brings significant challenges to teaching and for students on placement. We recognise that students may not be able to receive teaching or attend placements whilst off sick or self-isolating.

Where possible, education providers should work with local partners, including placement providers to make appropriate contingency arrangements including, where appropriate, making adjustments for students to study remotely.

Where students are unable to attend placements due to self-isolation or sickness, the education provider can consider alternative adjustments that are suitable to complete during this time, including considering reflective, individual learning or extending placements.

These should consider the learning outcomes of the placement when judging the suitability of any adjustment whilst minimising disruption to the completion of the placement. Any adjustments made to the course or placements should be documented.

More COVID-19 information for students

Our professional standards set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and be able to do. Social workers must continue to meet the professional standards to maintain their registration. The standards apply to all registered social workers in all roles and in all settings.

Although we don’t regulate students, we do expect you to understand and work towards our professional standards in preparation for when you apply for registration.

You should make sure that during your course, including while you are on placement, you do not do anything that goes against the professional standards or the policies and procedures of your course or placement provider.

Social work courses should make sure that you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the professional standards by the time you complete your course.

Read more about our standards for education and training providers.

As a regulator for social workers in England, we approve qualifying social work education and training courses. If you have any questions, please contact our education and quality assurance team on [email protected].

View list of approved courses


The assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) is a programme that gives newly qualified social workers extra support during their first year of employment.

The programme aims to develop their skills, knowledge and professional confidence. ASYE is open to all newly qualified social workers employed in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You can read more about ASYE on the Skills for Care website.

If you have any questions about applying for registration, please call us on 08081962274 or email e[email protected].

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