Social work's main training body is to toughen up knowledge and performance criteria on professional courses.
A final draft of proposals for a more rigorous social work diploma has been endorsed by the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work.
The revised DipSW will require students to demonstrate competence in six core areas.
These include effective communication with people and organisations; working with people to enable them to use their strengths; assessing people's circumstances and planning responses to needs and risk; intervening to provide appropriate support, protection and control; teamwork; and developing their own professional skills.
For the first time, courses will have to ensure all students have a thorough understanding of the major legislation that governs social work, and assess them for their competence in using laws relevant to their practice experience.
The new diploma programme will involve at least a year's practical experience in contrasting areas of work, with a minimum of 50 days assessed practice.
And CCETSW is to begin consultation over whether to scrap entitlement to a second opinion in the case of marginal or failing students on placement.
Rachel Pierce, CCETSW assistant director, said the review aimed to ensure students were prepared for the challenges of social work, and that there was consistency in training.
"We hope to create a qualification which will meet new service needs and which clearly spells out for students and institutions what is required of them," she said.
The council drew up the draft requirements with the umbrella group for social care, the Care Sector Consortium.