FAQs

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  1. What is Social Work?
  2. Who has to be a Registered Social Worker?
  3. What if I don't call myself a social worker?
  4. What if my employer says I don't have to be registered to do my job?
  5. I do a job that is in the scope of social work, but I am in a management/research/policy position and don't work directly with the public. Does this mean the legislation does not apply to me?

  1. What is Social Work?

    Under the Health Professions Act (HPA), Schedule 27, the practice of social work is defined as follows: In their practice, social workers do one or more of the following: (a) enhance or restore the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities by improving developmental, problem-solving and coping capacities of people and systems, (b) promote effective and humane systems that provide resources, opportunities and services to people and link people to those systems, (c) contribute to the development and improvement of social policy, and (d) provide restricted activities authorized by the regulations. If your practice involves any of the above, you are active in social work.

  2. Who has to be a Registered Social Worker?

    Registration is required if you qualify for registration as a social worker, you are working in a position that falls within the scope of social work as defined above, and (a) you work with the public; or (b) you supervise people who work with the public; or (c) you teach in a social work education program.

  3. What if I don't call myself a social worker?

    It does not matter what title you use: if your position fits within the scope of practice defined above you must be registered to practice. You are encouraged to use the title "Social Worker" in all professional practice, but this is not a requirement. The title "Social Worker" may only be used by qualified social workers.

  4. What if my employer says I don't have to be registered to do my job?

    An employer is free to set any job requirements for hiring. The employer cannot, however, decide that a qualified social worker does not have to be registered. This may mean that you are doing exactly the same job as another person who is not required to be a registered social worker because that other person does not qualify for registration. That person is not a social worker.

  5. I do a job that is in the scope of social work, but I am in a management/research/policy position and don't work directly with the public. Does this mean the legislation does not apply to me?

    If your position is in management, research, policy development, or any other area in which you do not work directly with the public, supervise social workers working with the public, or teach social work, you do not have to be a registered social worker. You need to be aware that if you choose not to be a registered social worker in these circumstances you may not call yourself a social worker or imply that you are a social worker. If you qualify, you may of course choose to become a registered social worker even if you are not required by law to be registered. People at all levels of practice are encouraged to take pride in being professional social workers.

Copyright 2010 Alberta College of Social Workers