The article deals with different approaches to training social workers in higher education: functional, role, competence. It is emphasized the orientation of educational process on the formation and development of general and professional competencies. General competence are universal, which the student acquires in the course of a particular educational program, professional competence depending on the subject area and determine the profile of the educational program and graduate qualifications. Analysis of the native and foreign research allowed scientists to identify five major functional roles of social pedagogy associated with professional features: lawyer (social teacher acts as a full and competent representative of the client on whose behalf he is involved in the struggle for change in existing regulations or existing practices, intermediary, broker, mediator (acting as coordinator of the efforts of the client and of the various professionals or organizations, sources of information on existing social resources, teacher, mentor (provides certain knowledge and skills needed for a particular life situation, “the person who opens new possibilities” (“enabler”) (providing emotional and intellectual support, encourage discussion and study of the problem, reflection and self-client); therapist, consultant, coach (acts as a psychologist and helps the person to solve the problem through changing some elements of his behavior, development and change of attitudes, correction perception of reality: ourselves, other people, situations. Modern scientists view competence approach as the basis for a new paradigm of education and the creation of a single European Indicator of space. In Ukraine, normative basis of the introduction of competence approach laid down in the National Doctrine of Education, Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine “On Approval of the Plan of Action for the quality of higher education in Ukraine and integration into the European and also global education community” and other programs and directives . Competence approach caused the international community transition to an information society, where the priority is not considered a mere accumulation of future specialist knowledge and skills, and ownership information search skills, ability to self for training and professional activities; the need to be competitive, requiring higher schools providing future professionals to integrate basic features in different societies, to act, to cultivate. This approach to professional training of social reorientation means the outcome of the process of education in terms of activity.