Social Worker

Information you need to know if you wish to practice as a 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?

Internationally educated Social Workers must:

  1. Submit your academic credentials for assessment to the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). NOTE: The Alberta College of Social Workers may also accept a specialized assessment from the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), but warns that it generally does not provide sufficient information to allow the Registrar to make a determination on the individual's qualifications. In those cases, the applicant will be denied.
  2. Submit the competed credential assessment to the ACSW. If the assessment is approved, you may begin the registration process.
  3. Apply for Provisional Registration with the ACSW.
  4. Complete 1500 hours of Social Work practice under the supervision of a Registered Social Worker.This could be paid or unpaid experience.
  5. You must submit a current criminal Record Check, references, and a personal declaration to ACSW to prove your good character and reputation.
  6. Submit 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.

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. Generally, if an applicant has not been a practicing and regulated social worker in North America for a certain period of time, a standardized social work exam may be required for registration. That is explained during the registration process.

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

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 workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. Clear Communication for Business is designed to help internationally educated professional fine-tune their communication skills with colleagues, supervisors, and clients. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of the Canadian business culture. Topics include active listening, assertiveness, conflict resolution, problem solving, and teamwork.

What information resources are available for Social Workers in Alberta?

Additional Occupational Information

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit: