Social education worker with a child
© Robert Kneschke / Fotolia 

Social education workers and social workers

Occupational profile and tasks

Social education workers and social workers deal with the prevention, processing and resolution of social problems. They advise and support individual persons, families or groups of persons in difficult situations. Their places of work include young people’s homes, children’s homes, old people’s homes, youth welfare offices, family and addiction advice centres and self-help groups.

How is training structured? What qualifications are there?

A professional qualification at the level of a higher education degree is required. This higher education qualification may be a Bachelor or Masters in Social Work or Social Studies and can be completed at Universities of Applied Sciences or Universities of Cooperative Education. Universities also sometimes offer relevant courses. Students are required to undertake professional placements as part of their programme of study. A Master’s degree is often required for those wishing to progress to a management position. Following successful completion of a Bachelor degree, application for state recognition must be made to the competent body of the respective federal state. In order to obtain state recognition, it may be necessary to demonstrate one year of professional experience. Those who have acquired state recognition are entitled to use the titles of “state-recognised social education worker” or “state-recognised social worker”.

Difference between “social education worker” and “social worker”

Difference between “social education worker” and “social worker”

In general terms, social work is somewhat broader than social education work. Social education work focuses on working with children, young people and families. Social work also extends to cover areas such as migration, social reintegration and vocational reintegration. In the past, it was possible to complete a joint degree in both social work and social education work. There is now generally one separate degree for each in Germany.

Working without recognition

Sometimes it will be possible for you to work in the social education sector without formal recognition. This decision is usually taken by the employers. In such circumstances, however, you will not be permitted to use the professional titles of “state-recognised social education worker” or “state-recognised social worker”.