Social Worker



Who is the registering body responsible for designating Social Workers in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) to use the protected titles Social Worker or Registered Social Worker.

What are the registration requirements for internationally educated Social Workers?

The following process is for Social Workers who trained outside of Canada: 

Academic Credentials 

 Before you apply for registration, you must have your credentials assessed. You must have a degree or diploma that is specifically in Social Work and acceptable to the ACSW. 

To have your credentials evaluated, apply for an assessment from the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). For the assessment you will be required to provide official documentation indicating courses taken and number of hours of credits or hours of study. 

The CASW assessment is strongly preferred. The Alberta College of Social Workers may also accept an assessment from the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), provided sufficient specific social work credentials are noted. 

If your assessment proves your education is substantially equivalent to Canadian standards, you can submit it to ACSW. 

Work Experience 

If your credentials are acceptable, you may be provisionally registered with the ACSW until you complete at least 1,500 hours of Social Work practice under the supervision of a Registered Social Worker. This is a legislated requirement that all social workers in Alberta must meet. Practice hours must be completed once you get to Canada, and would require that you find either a paid or unpaid position in a related field. 

Good Character and Reputation 

You must submit the following to ACSW to prove your good character and reputation: 

• A current criminal record check, completed within six (6) months from the date of your Application 

• A reference to prove your good character and reputation. A Character Reference form is provided in the Application for Registration package. This does not have to be completed by a Registered Social Worker. 

Other Requirements 

Along with your Academic Credentials and Application, you must submit the following to ACSW: 

• A résumé outlining your work history over the past five (5) years 

• Fees 

• Evidence of having professional liability insurance (insurance provided through your employer is acceptable). If you are not currently working, you must forward evidence of your insurance to ACSW when you begin working. 

English Language 

You must be able to communicate in English, but English language testing is not required. 


Section 6(2) of the Social Workers Professional Regulations states that the Registrar may require the applicant to undergo any examination, testing or other assessment activities to assist with a determination of competence. 

Please visit the ACSW for complete registration information.

What are the educational requirements for Social Workers in Alberta?

Note: Regulatory bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards. 

Social workers must have a diploma, bachelor's degree or master's degree in social work. Some employers require a minimum of a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Other requirements may include a criminal record check, child welfare intervention record check, a valid driver's license and the use of a vehicle. 

In Alberta, the following institutions offer two year diploma programs in social work: 

Keyano College in Fort McMurray 

MacEwan University in Edmonton 

Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat 

Mount Royal University in Calgary 

NorQuest College in Edmonton 

Northern Lakes College in Grouard, High Level, Peace River, Slave Lake, Valleyview and Wabasca 

Portage College in Lac La Biche 

Red Deer College in Red Deer 

The University of Calgary offers a BSW degree program in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge, and through blended and online learning.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

There are no formal English requirements for Social Workers; however, Social Workers must have a high level of English in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in order to be successful in the profession. To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

What resources and supports are available for internationally educated Social Workers?

Directions for Immigrants offers Clear Communications for Business to help you integrate into the Canadian work force.  Topics include Active Listening, Assertiveness, Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving and Teamwork.  Visit the Study Groups page for more information on this service and eligibility criteria.

What information resources are available for Social Workers in Alberta?

Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) 

Additional Occupational Information 

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit