Alberta College of Social Workers

FAQ

This is a list of social workers who have demonstrated competence in the practice of clinical social work at an advanced level. It is a voluntary listing. Only social workers on the registry may use the title Clinical Social Worker.

Advanced clinical practice is demonstrated through a combination of education and experience. The basic requirements for the registry are:

  • A clinical MSW or MSW with additional clinical course work
  • 450 post graduate clinical hours supervised by someone with an MSW
  • An application submitted and accepted by the Clinical Committee
  • A minimum of two-years post-MSW clinical practice, including 1600 practice hours, under an approved supervision plan reviewed by the Clinical Committee
  • Successful completion of a clinical social work examination
.

A masters degree in social work is required to apply to the registry as per Social Work Profession Regulations.

 

Supervision must be provided by either:

a)      An Approved Clinical Social Work Supervisor; or

b)      An Approved Clinical Supervisor of Record – (approved by completing form C.1 and submitting the Applicant’s application package)

*see policy

Supervision may be arranged outside of the employment setting.  Supervision plans must be approved by the  Clinical Committee in the application process before the applicant can start counting supervised practice hours.  


a) Completion of an application (Form A.1)

                b) Detailed resume

                c) Transcripts from MSW program

                d) List of continuing competency activities related to clinical practice over the last 2 years

e) Reference letters from 2 mental health professionals, at least one of whom must be a Clinical Social Worker

f) Completion of a Supervision Plan A.2

g) Letter of Agreement (Form A.3) if there is more than one supervisor providing supervision. 


The cost is $50 to apply to the Registry, and $50 per year to maintain status due at the time of renewal in addition to RSW renewal fees. The $50 fee will be added to your renewal following the successful completion of the clinical social work exam. 


Complete application packages are submitted to the ACSW by mail, attention Clinical Committee, or electronically to clinicalregistry@acsw.ab.ca

The Committee meets 4 times per year to review new applications: February, May, September and November.  Applicants are notified of the Committee’s decision within 10 days of the meeting. 

The Committee also meets by conference call once monthly during the months when there is no in-person meeting. Additional documentation may be submitted for review at these meetings, but the Committee will not review new applications at the conference call meetings. 


Only those social workers who have been approved by the Clinical Committee may take the exam.
You may appeal to have your application reviewed by three members of the Clinical Committee who were not involved in making the initial decision. If the original decision is upheld, you may appeal to ACSW Council.
After the application is approved and the required 1600 hours have been completed, the applicant may apply to take the Clinical Social work Exam.
The Exam is taken with the Association of Social Work Boards.
An applicant may take the examination up to three times (within a year), however, after a third unsuccessful attempt, an applicant must begin the application process anew, including supervised practice.
There is a fee which is paid directly to the Association of Social Work Boards, the body that administrates the examination.
This is not an American exam; it is a clinical social work exam that has been specifically reviewed and worked on by Alberta social workers. The Alberta College of Social Workers is a member of the Association of Social Work Boards and as such we have access to an examination program that has been proven to be valid and reliable as a measurement of social work knowledge, skills and abilities. Further, in 2009 - all Canadian provinces were involved in a Practice Analysis to set the blueprint for the examination.
Clinical social workers must demonstrate 50 credit hours of continuing competence activities per year, 10 of which must be in clinical consultation/supervision and 20 of which must be Category A credits.
The answer to this question depends on individual circumstances, including the duration of time away from clinical social work practice, and other practice activities going on during your absence from clinical practice. After an extended period (three to five years) you may be required to re-establish your eligibility to be on the registry.

You should always identify yourself first as a Registered Social Worker (RSW), then as a Clinical Social Worker using any of the following titles:  Clinical Social Worker, Registered Clinical Social Worker, RCSW.  The foregoing are protected titles and only members of the registry may use those titles. 


Clinical social workers are not automatically authorized to perform psychosocial interventions. If your current practice is not related to mental health and you do not have competence in the area of mental health assessment and treatment, you will not be authorized. Otherwise, there are no restrictions beyond the general restriction for all social workers to work within their areas of expertise. You should be familiar with the social work standards of practice with regard to developing new skills and practices.
Under the Health Professions Act , all regulated health professions must provide a continuing competence program for their members.
The completion of the competence program requirements are needed prior to the release of your practice permit.
Your registration will be cancelled and your employer notified. Under the Health Professions Act , it is illegal to practice social work in Alberta without a practice permit.
The So cial Workers Profession Regulation  stipulates the requirement to complete 40 hours of continuing competence each year.
The ACSW online system allows members to keep track of their competence credits.Members may login to their Member Portal page at any time to record activities completed during the year.
Yes, competence information must be complete in order to unlock the Renew Online button found in your member portal. This means referencing your requirement chart to make sure that you have completed your minimum credit requirements.

You will be unable to renew your membership on your member portal page until your competence submission is complete. Please make sure you input all the activities you have completed during the year and if your credit requirement has not been met you will need to contact the ACSW office.

The Competence Committee and the ACSW strives to be understanding during difficult times for our members. As such, when a social worker experiences a personal crisis (for example, decline in health) or natural disaster (fire or flood) the ACSW will review on a case by case basis and will work with the social worker to develop a plan for his/her portfolio. If you have experienced a personal crisis or a natural disaster, please contact the ACSW to discuss your options before your portfolio is due.

Please input all of the activities that you have completed during the renewal year before contacting the ACSW office for review. We may then assess your annual credit submission based on your current membership status and open up your member status change request form on your member portal.

There are many organizations that accredit continuing education programs.ACSW will recognize those approved for social work or related disciplines by an independent assessor (for example, another professional regulatory board, an academic institution, etc.). Organizations that provide continuing education for social workers are encouraged to apply for Approved Continuing Education status with the Association of Social Work Boards. ACSW does not approve continuing education on an individual basis.

Before registering for a program,it is recommended to check with the provider to see if their program has been assessed for continuing education credits.Note also that a registered social workers may claim Category A credit if the program aligns with their learning plan goals and the social worker completes a Category A credit form. (This is now completed online when reporting competency activities).

ACSW does not provide a comprehensive list of all of the continuing education providers as this would be an impossible task. However ACSW does provide a reference list through the online registration system for members to use at the time that they are reporting continuing competence activities. A good resource for finding approved providers is available through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) website where social workers can view providers approved though the ASWB ACE program. https://www.datapathdesign.com/ASWB/ACEdswb/Prod/cgi-bin/ACESearchDSWBDLL.dll/acesShowProviders

If the information you are seeking is not noted, contact the provider. ACSW is not responsible for the information on the site and cannot answer questions about programs delivered by other organizations.

The ACSW is a member of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and participates in the approval mechanism provided through the ASWB Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. An approval process for continuing education activities is not simply a matter of looking at a brochure and deciding whether or not the content is relevant. An approval mechanism needs first to establish a set of standards for content, process, and presenter. The process for becoming an approved Category A provider is robust and ensures quality continuing education to the field of social work.
You may count this activity providing your mentoring or supervising fit within the scope of social work practice. Supervision of social work students, provisional social workers, or clinical supervision of people applying to be on the clinical registry can be counted as Category A activities. Other types of supervision or supervision of students in other fields is counted as Category B.
This may be counted because your professional development may include activities beyond paid social work employment or your specific field of practice. If you wish to focus your learning on activities that are personally meaningful, you may do so.
There is no requirement that training takes place in Alberta or be approved by an Alberta organization.
Self-care activities or programs are counted as Category C credits. This may include, but is not limited to, nutrition, diet, exercise and spiritual self-care activities.
A social worker who is absent from practice for five or more years may be required to take a refresher course, pass an exam and work under the supervision of a registered social worker for a period of time as determined by the Competence Committee. Individual circumstances will be taken into consideration.
Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Competence Committee. The field of practice, length of practice, length of absence, and activities while absent from practice would all be considered in making a decision.
Members are not expected to submit all of their competency documents every year. On a yearly basis all that is required is a list of activities completed during the year making sure members maintain their minimum credit requirements.Every five years a portfolio submission may be requested for audit.The portfolio must contain learning plans, self-assessments, credited activities, and supporting documentation for all Category A activities recorded for the number of years being requested.These documents do not have to be submitted annually, but it is the member’s responsibility to keep copies of these documents in an updated portfolio.
The ACSW staff checks to see that member’s submissions meet the reporting requirements for professional development activities and practice hours.The submission will be forwarded to the Competence Committee for review if there appears to be a content related question or gap in the member’s competence reporting.
ACSW staff who compile the material and members of the Competence Committee are the only persons who have access to the material. By law, the information gathered for the Continuing Competence Program may only be used within the program.
There are three circumstances under which a referral must be made to discipline: 1. If the Competence Committee or Registrar believes that a member has provided false or misleading information; 2. If a practice visit results in the opinion that a member displays a lack of competence, the member may be incapacitated, or the conduct of the member constitutes unprofessional conduct that cannot be remedied through the continuing competence program. 3. If the member has not complied with the Competence Program requirements.
The competence program has now been in place for a number of years and during this time the majority of social workers in Alberta have demonstrated that they are meeting or exceeding the program requirements each year. Therefore, rather than requiring all social workers to submit a full portfolio every five years, social workers are now randomly selected to submit a portfolio with 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years of information, or just their Professional Development Credits.

All social workers are still required to complete the full portfolio, including a self-assessment and learning plan for each year, which may be requested at a future date if any concerns arise. In this case, a member would receive a letter approximately six months prior to renewal in the relevant year detailing what to submit.

Each member is required to complete a minimum of 10 Category A credits each year. There is no carry-over in Categories B and C. If you have exceeded 40 credits and have more than 10 Category A credits, up to 20 additional credits in Category A activities may be carried over to the next year. Carry-over is automatically calculated and will be applied to the proceeding year's credit requirements.These credits must be used in the subsequent year. They cannot be carried over for multiple years.
Some members have found that simply having a file folder containing all their documentation is easiest. Other members maintained a binder with different sections. An electronic filing system may prove to be a good option as well. Consider the uses you might have for the material, such as updating your resume or preparing for your annual reviewand think about what method of organization will be most helpful to your own needs.
In general, all social workers who are working full time must meet the minimum requirements. However, there are different requirements for social workers who are full time, part time or who are on the Clinical Specialty Registry.All the details for the specific competence requirements based on your status can be found on our credit requirement chart:
https://acsw.in1touch.org/document/1788/Credit_Requirement_Chart.pdf
All registered social workers, including students, must complete competency requirements. If you are in an accredited education program that relates to your learning plan, taking a minimum of two courses per year will fulfill your competence requirements. If your studies are in an unrelated field, you must still complete 40 hours of activity toward your competency as a social worker.
The response to this question depends on a number of factors. Retired members who do not wish to return to practice do not need to submit competence requirements.

A member who is taking an extended leave to pursue other interests but who eventually plans to return to social work has two options: One is to complete the program requirements for inactive members. This requires at least10credits be completed annually, but does not require any Category A activities. The member must still complete the Self-Assessment and Learning Plan to show how they are maintaining their competence in social work. The other option is to cancel their registration until such time as they plan to return to practice, and deal with any competence requirements that may be necessary for re-entry to practice.

Inactive social workers who have five years with no recommended competence completed must complete an exam to become active. If an RSW is cancelled they are required to write an exam after three years.

The ACSW recognizes the diversity of its members. A member’s learning activities does not need to be restricted to traditional social work offerings. Participate in the learning activities related to your social work practice. If these activities are not accredited, complete a Category A Summary for submission with your portfolio.
No, you are able to count unaccredited activities as category A credits if they fit in your Learning Plan. When you are entering a provider from outside the drop-down menu provided in the online system, please select the option of “Other”. This will require that you also fill in a brief summary of the activity and how it has helped you to accomplish your learning plan goals.
We are very interested in receiving feedback (whether concerns or kudos) from members on their experience with the program. If you have comments we would appreciate receiving them in writing. You can send your comments “Attention: Competence Program” to acsw@acsw.ab.ca
Providers should reference the Continuing Competence Program Member Handbook for information on providing category A credits. Accreditation in terms of continuing education means that the provider has been through a quality check process with a professional continuing education organization. ACSW is not able to provide accreditation in house, but the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides this service.For more information on becoming an accredited provider under the ACE (Accredited Continuing Education) program, go to: https://www.aswb.org/ace/details-about-the-ace-program/

We recommend the ASWB, but there are many other reputable professional continuing education organizations.For a list of some of these organizations, please reference the Competence Handbook . ACSW also accepts credits that have been approved from any of the health profession colleges and universities.

The programs allows for flexibility during maternity/parental leave. If you are absent from work for a full year, it will mean that you are “inactive” for one registration year. You are still recommended to submit competence while inactive, the only exception is that the credit requirement is reduced to 10 credits per year.While away, there is no mandatory Category A requirement, the credits can be completed in whichever category or combination of categories that best meets your learning goals. You may wish to focus on self-care activities such as exercise and nutrition. You may wish to review literature on child development.

While inactive both self-assessments and learning plans are still required to be completed for this period as part of your return to work plan and kept in your updated portfolio.The ACSW forms may be difficult to complete when inactive.The narrative formats of the self-assessment and learning plan are recommended in this situation.Additional information is available on the ACSW website.

The registration year rarely coincides with the period of maternity leave. It is important to plan ahead and perhaps consider a two year period which encompasses the leave. There may be some overlap between a period of being “inactive” and part time. If you require further assistance, please feel free to contact the ACSW office.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You qualify to apply for registration if: (a) you have a degree in social work from any university in North America that is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) or the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); or (b) you have graduated from an approved social work diploma program in Alberta; or (c) you have, within the last five years, been a registered, certified or licensed social worker in another province or with a member of the Association of Social Work Boards.
If you are a graduate of an advanced education program in social work that does not fit these criteria, you may apply to have your credentials assessed for equivalence. This is not done directly by the Alberta College of Social Workers. You will need to complete an application for assessment with the Canadian Association of Social Workers (preferred) or the International Qualifications Assessment Service (Government of Alberta). An assessment by a Canadian university with an accredited social work program is also acceptable. The original assessment must be submitted to the ACSW office.
The Health Professions Act does not grant any profession an exclusive scope of practice. There are restricted activities that may only be performed by regulated professionals, but many activities may be performed by others who have gained the skills and knowledge through other routes. An employer may hire any person who meets the needs of the organization for any position. If that position is specifically a social work position, the person must be a registered social worker. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on hiring.
Complete the survey questions in the following link to determine qualifications for registration. Please review the instruction to ensure that all the required documentation is provided. Contact newapplications@acsw.ab.ca  if you have any questions. Click here  for the survey!
Not necessarily. All first time registrants are required to demonstrate that they have completed 1500 hours of social work practice under the supervision of a qualified social worker prior to becoming fully registered. During the qualifying period, if you have completed your social work education, you must apply for provisional registration. Once you have completed the 1500 practice hours (which may include practicum hours), a qualified social worker who supervised at least 350 out of your last 500 hours of practice is required to complete a supervision reference form on your behalf in order for you to become fully registered. Please note: ACSW does require verification for the full 1500 practice hours.
A qualified social worker is registered, licensed, or certified in the jurisdiction in which she/he practices. The social worker will be considered qualified if she/he is registered when the supervised reference form is submitted, or was registered during the period of supervision (e.g. RSW then and now retired). A qualified social worker does not have provisional status.
You can still get registered as a provisional registered social worker. Over the next year, you would need to make arrangements with a social worker to discuss your practice and let her or him get to know you and your work. Your employer may be able to help you make these arrangements through a partnering organization or elsewhere within your own organization.
There is provision in the legislation for assessing each applicant's character and reputation. This is done through a combination of things, including a Criminal Record Check, references, and a personal declaration. If the information on any of these documents suggests that there may be questions with regard to your suitability for the profession, you will be asked to provide additional details. The Registrar or Registration Committee will determine whether to proceed with the registration process.
The ACSW will accept a copy, certified by your human resources manager to be true, if it was produced within the last past 6 months. If it is older than that you must get a new one.
For the purpose of issuing a Provisional Practice Permit, the ACSW requires something that shows you have completed a degree or diploma from an approved social work program. We will accept a photocopy of your degree/diploma, an unofficial copy of your transcripts, or a letter issued by the university or college that states that you have completed your social work education program. However, official transcripts must be submitted before you will qualify for full registration.
Yes. You will receive a provisional practice permit and are entitled to use the titles and abbreviations associated with registration: Registered Social Worker, Social Worker, RSW, SW, Soc. Wkr. Only social workers who are approved for membership on the Clinical Specialty Registry may use the title "Clinical Social Worker".
Yes. If any person asks whether you are a registered social worker you must provide them with the information. You are encouraged to use your RSW designation and indicate your educational qualifications on all professional documents.
The basic purpose of professional regulation is protection of the public we serve. Part of ensuring the public is protected is through liability insurance. If your employer provides coverage that covers staff, documentation of that coverage will be accepted. However, all social workers are strongly encouraged to carry their own insurance. Details regarding the group plan are available from the ACSW office or through HDF directly. Click here .
Yes. All practicing RSW’s must show evidence of having liability coverage. Most voluntary agencies have insurance coverage for volunteers. If your position is not covered, you must carry your own liability insurance.
There are two options available to people taking a leave from practice. You may retain your registration status as "inactive" for half the full cost of registration, which keeps your name on the mail list and your file current. You may also cancel your registration while you are inactive and reinstate your registration when you resume practice in the future.
No. Your file will be retained for ten years following cancellation so things like transcripts will not have to be replaced. You will need to provide details of your continuing competence activities during your leave (if any). Depending on the purpose of your leave, you may be asked to provide additional information. If the leave was three years or longer, you may be required to work for a period of time under the supervision of a social worker. You will be required to take an entry-to-practice exam based on your highest level of social work education.
If you qualify for registration, the bottom line is that you are not eligible to practice within the scope of social work without being registered and a fine may be imposed if the regulations are not adhered to. As well, the Health Professions Act states that an employer may not knowingly employ a person within the scope of practice who is required to be registered if that person does not apply for registration.
The Health Professions Act requires that the ACSW notify your employer if your registration gets cancelled.
No. Most Registered Social Workers pay their own fees. The full cost of registration can be claimed on your Income Tax as Professional Dues if you pay it yourself.
Yes. Go to the ACSW web site, www.acsw.ab.ca , for additional information about ongoing registration requirements.
The definition is contained in the Government Organization Act (RSA 2000), Schedule 7.1, as follows: The following, carried out in relation to or as part of providing a health service, are restricted activities: to perform a psychosocial intervention with an expectation of treating a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life; Despite subsection(1), the following are not restricted activities: activities of daily living, whether performed by the individual or by a surrogate on the individual's behalf, giving information and providing advice with the intent of enhancing personal development, providing emotional support or promoting spiritual growth of individuals, couples, families and groups.
All social workers may perform psychosocial interventions that are not restricted. Only those social workers who have demonstrated that they have the requisite skill, knowledge and abilities receive authorization to perform the restricted activity of psychosocial intervention.
The restricted activity of psychosocial intervention relates to the intention to treat persons with a substantial mental health disorder. Social workers must be educated regarding mental health assessment and treatment methods, and practice ethics relevant to mental health. Understanding of human behavior and social environment systems with specific focus on mental health must be demonstrated. Full description of the requirements is in the Social Workers professional Regulation , Section 11 .
A new graduate with a BSW or MSW must provide evidence of having taken relevant course work, as well as completing a senior practicum in a mental health setting. A reference from the practicum supervisor indicating the knowledge, skills and abilities have been demonstrated must accompany the application.A social worker who has not taken the necessary course work in a social work degree program must provide evidence of a combination of education (which may include a variety of activities other than course work) and supervised practice covering the same content areas. A reference from the supervisor indicating that the knowledge, skills and abilities have been demonstrated, along with a summary of relevant education and practice history, must accompany the request for authorization.
If you have the requisite knowledge, skills and ability, additional supervised practice is not necessary. Anyone who has been actively engaged in the provision of psychosocial interventions must provide documentation of the relevant education and experience, along with a summary of current practice that fits the definition. Once the necessary information is on file, authorization will be granted.
Any social worker who is authorized to perform psychosocial interventions is also authorized to supervise students and other practitioners who are developing their skills in this area. Practitioners in other mental health disciplines may also be authorized to supervise social workers in this practice: their regulation will indicate whether or not they are authorized.
Supervision must include clinical consultation for a minimum of one hour per week for students and one hour every two weeks for other practitioners. It must include discussion of specific cases and specific interventions, direct or indirect observation of practice, and reviews of documentation prepared by the supervisee.
If you are authorized to perform psychosocial interventions and you work in a multidisciplinary setting, you are authorized by the Social Workers Profession Regulation   to supervise any individual whom you believe is competent to perform it. Please be aware that you may be held accountable for the practice of the person you are supervising should any problems arise
Yes you will be able to print a new practice permit from their member portal.
Student membership in the Alberta College of Social Workers provides an opportunity for those who are not yet in the profession to participate in professional activities. It is not the same as Registration. Student members may identify themselves as student social workers, but may not use “RSW” or “Registered Social Worker”.
Student members
  • receive The Advocate, the provincial magazine for social workers;
  • are entitled to attend and participate in ACSW General Meetings;
  • are eligible to vote in Council elections, at General Meetings, and in any referenda;
  • are entitled to review all records and information of the affairs of the College that do not violate the privacy of an individual;
  • get a reduced fee for attendance at the annual conference and other ACSW events;
  • receive notice of all local events organized by the ACSW or its committees;
  • have the opportunity to connect with social workers in the field and get socialized into the profession.
Any person who is a student in an approved social work education program (diploma or degree), or a program in candidacy status, may apply for student membership. Students in related programs who have a previous degree/diploma in social work but who are not yet practicing may also apply for student membership.
At the present time, a student membership is $85 per year.
The application for a student membership is available on-line, please click here to complete the survey questions  to determine qualifications for registration. Please review the instruction to ensure that all the requirements have been provided. Contact newapplications@acsw.ab.ca if you have any questions.
In addition to reduced fees for conferences, workshops, etc., social workers who were student members receive a reduction on their dues for the first year of registration.
There are several member interest groups working on an ongoing basis and students are welcome and encouraged to get involved. Examples include conference planning committees (a new one each year), children’s issues, and social workers in health. A full list can be found on the ACSW web site.
Upon completion of your program, if you intend to stay in Alberta and work within the scope of social work, you must apply for registration. Please click here to complete the survey questions  to determine qualifications for registration. Please review the instruction to ensure that all the requirements have been provided. Contact newapplications@acsw.ab.ca  if you have any questions.
You must submit the on-line application, supporting documentation and application fee. Once these are in, your professional dues will be assessed and an invoice will be forwarded. Upon payment of your professional dues you will receive an RSW number.
If you are a current student member when you apply for registration, the professional dues for first year grads are currently set at $265. If you are not a student member, the professional dues are currently set at $400. All applicants for registration, including those who have been student members of the ACSW, must pay the $80 application fee.
“Provisional” is a status on the registration. All first time registrants must complete 1500 hours of practice under the supervision of a Registered Social Worker in order to become fully registered. No single diploma or degree program provides 1500 hours of practice through practicum placements. Provisional status allows a new graduate to legally work and complete the practice hour requirement.
Practice hours must be in a social work position, i.e. work within the scope of social work practice following registration, or in an official student placement. Summer jobs prior to your qualification as a social worker cannot be counted toward provisional hours. Practice hours (practicum, volunteer or paid) must be supervised by a Registered Social Worker to be counted.
Arrangements for practice supervision through the educational institution or another social worker in the community can be made in these circumstances. If, however, there was no practice supervision by an RSW, the hours cannot be counted.
You cannot legally practice within the scope of social work if you qualify for registration and you are not registered. Any hours worked in the scope of social work prior to registration do not count toward the 1500 supervised practice hour required.
A referendum was held in 2003 to provide direction to ACSW Council for future planning. The majority who voted indicated that they would like the entry level to become a Registered Social Worker be at the BSW level. Making this change could take several years and in any case will not have an impact on any current diploma students or graduates.
At present, only Alberta social work diploma programs from Blue Quills First Nations College, Grant MacEwan University, Maskwacis Cultural College, Medicine Hat College, Mount Royal University, Norquest College, Northern Lakes College, Portage College and Red Deer College.  
Only programs that have been accredited by the the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) or the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)  are approved by the ACSW.
The ACSW web site, www.acsw.ab.ca , has information on all aspects of the organization, including how it is structured, the activities taking place, social action initiatives, details about the regulation of social work practice, links to social work organizations throughout North America, a job board, and various other things. Some parts of the web site are only available to members, but most is accessible to anyone who is interested. If you don’t find what you are looking for on the web site, call or e-mail the office directly: Alberta College of Social Workers (780)421-1167 or toll free 1-800-661-3089 acsw@acsw.ab.ca
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.
Registration is required if the individual qualifies for registration as a social worker, and is working in a position that falls within the scope of social work as defined above; (a) works with the public; or (b) supervises people who work with the public; or (c) teaches in a social work education program.
It does not matter what job title is used: if the position fits within the scope of practice defined in question 1, “What is Social Work?”, the employee must be registered to practice.
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 a qualified social worker and another person who does not qualify for registration are doing work that falls within the social work scope of practice. The qualified social worker must be registered.
If the position is in management, research, policy development, or any other area in which the employee does not work directly with the public, supervise social workers working with the public, or teach social work, the employee does not have to be a registered social worker.