Who can be a member of the College?

To be eligible for registration with the College you must be a graduate of an approved/accredited Social Service Work (SSW), Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), or Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Please click here to see a list of approved programs.

If you are a student in a social work or social service work program outside Canada or the United States, or in a program that is not social work or social service work, please click here for relevant information.

How do I apply for membership?

Before downloading the appropriate registration guide, application form and Supplemental Form, if applicable, please ensure you read Information for All Applicants

For Social Work Applicants

If you obtained a degree in social work from a social work program accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (the ‘CASWE’) you will likely meet the academic requirements for a general certificate of registration for social work. The steps to applying for registration with the OCSWSSW are to read the Registration Guide and Complete the Application form.

 

Arrange for your university to forward an official transcript with the institution’s seal and signature of the Registrar directly to the College. Please note that this must be done after you graduate/convocate, and only transcripts received directly from the university will be accepted.

Enclose the registration fee and the non-refundable application fee with your application.

Mail your completed application form, any other documents you submit yourself, and the full fees to the College. (A photocopy of the application or sending the application by fax or email will not be accepted.)

*Complete details on applying for membership if you have graduated from a CASWE accredited program are available here.


For Social Service Work Applicants

If you obtained a diploma in social service work from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology you will likely meet the academic requirements for the issuance of a general certificate of registration for social service work. The steps to applying for registration with the OCSWSSW are to read the Registration Guide and Complete the Application form.

 

Arrange for your College of Applied Arts and Technology to forward an official transcript with the institution’s seal and signature of the Registrar directly to the College (OCSWSSW). Please note that this must be done after you graduate/ convocate, and only transcripts received directly from the College of Applied Arts and Technology will be accepted.

Enclose the registration fee and the non-refundable application fee with your application.

Mail your completed application form, any other documents you submit yourself, and the full fees to the College. (A photocopy of the application or sending the application by fax or email will not be accepted.)

*Complete details on applying for membership if you have graduated from a Social Service Work Diploma Program from a College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario are available here.

Why do I have to wait until I graduate to apply for membership with the College?

Only those with specialized academic qualifications are eligible for registration with the College. This is one of the ways that the College fulfills its mandate of public protection. As a student, you are still in the process of completing those requirements. Applicants must have completed a degree or diploma from an approved Social Service Work program, or accredited Bachelor or Master of Social Work program. If you are in the process of completing your degree or diploma and would like information on how to register once you graduate, please click here for more information.

What is the cost of membership for a new graduate?

Registering new graduates is a priority for the College. To demonstrate this commitment, the College created the New Graduate Fee, which is $100 less than the regular annual fee. You are eligible for this reduced fee, provided you apply for registration no later than December 31 of the year in which you graduate. You are then eligible for the reduced fee for the two subsequent years. To submit an application as a new graduate from an approved/accredited social service work or social work program, the fees are $280 (Registration Fee of $180 plus Application Fee of $100.00 equals the total fee of $280). For additional details on application fees please refer to the Registration Fee Chart.

I won't be convocating for a while, but I have been offered a job and my future employer requires me to register. What can I do?

We understand that in some circumstances, you may need to register with the College before you have convocated. This is not the case for all new graduates. If you are graduating with a degree in social work or a diploma in social service work, and you require membership in the College prior to convocation, but after you have completed all the academic and practicum requirements of your program, the Registrar may issue a general certificate of registration provided all other registration requirements are met, and you agree to a term, condition and limitation on your certificate of registration. (This term, condition and limitation will be removed once the College receives verification from your academic institution that you have obtained a degree in social work or a diploma in social service work).

Please note that this is a two step process and is not a required step to registration. To issue a certificate of registration on this basis, the following must be submitted to the College:

  • a completed application form for registration as a social worker or social service worker, as the case may be;
  • non-refundable application fee and registration fee;
  • Confirmation of Completion of Requirements for a Social Work Degree Form completed by the Dean/Director of your social work program or Confirmation of Completion of Requirements for a Social Service Work Diploma Form completed by the Coordinator of your social service work program, as the case may be, and forwarded directly to the College;
  • Student/Applicant Declaration, Consent and Undertaking Regarding a Social Work Degree Form or Student/Applicant Declaration, Consent and Undertaking Regarding a Social Service Work Diploma, as the case may be, signed by you agreeing to the Term, Condition and Limitation on your certificate of registration.

Due to the multiple steps in this process, it may take six weeks to process your application. If you will be obtaining your social work degree or social service work diploma within approximately six weeks from the date the application is received at the College, please apply to the College without initiating this process.

A detailed description of the steps to apply for registration on this basis can be found here for social work graduates and here for social service work graduates.

How long does it take to process my application for registration?

The assessment of your application form does not begin until we have received all of the required documents and payment of your registration and application fees. The application process can be delayed because the College has not received all of the required documents from you or from a third party on your behalf (i.e. academic institution, employer, etc.). The typical processing time for a general application (based on having obtained an accredited social work degree/approved social service work diploma) is approximately four to six weeks.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of the College once I graduate?

Registration demonstrates commitment to accountability, ethics and excellence in social work and social service work practice. It is also the law. Professionals who wish to use the title “social worker” or “social service worker” can only do so if they are registered with the College. Registration is also required if you represent yourself (or “hold yourself out”) as a “social worker” or “social service worker.” Registered social workers and registered social service workers have specialized education and participate in ongoing learning and professional development. They follow a code of ethics and standards of practice, and join a community of peers committed to excellence in practice.

Especially relevant for new professionals looking for employment is the credibility that comes with registration with the College. Increasingly, the public and employers are looking for regulated professionals. They also have access to a range of practice resources on the College website, and can consult with the Professional Practice Department when faced with ethical or practice dilemmas. They can attend the Annual Meeting and Education Day (AMED) in Toronto, or one of the regional forums offered free of charge to members throughout the province.

I hope to get a job in the agency where I did my placement. The job title isn't social worker/social service worker, and the agency doesn't require registration with the College. Do I still need to register?

As a new graduate from a social work/social service work program, you are no doubt committed to ensuring that the public receives services delivered by professional, ethical, qualified and accountable practitioners. Registration with the College assures consumers and the public that the professionals providing services abide by a code of ethics and standards of practice and are competent in their field. Although the College doesn’t have the legal authority to require employers to hire only registered professionals, as an individual, you must ensure that you are in compliance with the SWSSWA. This means that even if the agency doesn’t require registration, you must be registered if you use the title “social worker”, “social service worker”, “registered social worker” or “registered social service worker” (or their short forms or French equivalents) or if you represent yourself or “hold yourself out” as a social worker or social service worker. More and more employers are requiring their staff to be registered with the College. The College encourages employers to require registration of those employees who are eligible for membership and whose duties are within the scope of practice of the profession of social work or social service work. The College also makes ongoing efforts to educate employers about the benefits of hiring regulated professionals and the use of title and holding out provisions so that they can educate their staff on these legal requirements.

Are there ways for students to get involved with the College?

As a student, you have access to information on the College website, including the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Practice Guidelines, Privacy Toolkit, and Scopes of Practice. We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your studies and as a new professional. We also reserve some spaces at our regional forums for social work and social service work students. Opportunities for involvement in the College are available only to members. Once you become a member, you may choose to stand for election to the OCSWSSW Council. The Council is the 21-member board of directors that sets the direction for the College. Council also has several statutory and non-statutory committees which are involved in the governance of the College. As a College member, you will also be asked at times to provide feedback regarding new initiatives and issues that fall within the College mandate.

Does the College give presentations to students?

College staff visits social work and social service work programs throughout the year to share important information about how to become a member of the College, the benefits and value of registration, and your obligations once you become a member. Speak to your instructor, who can contact us to arrange an in-person or remote presentation.