Clinical Registry


The Clinical Social Work Registry is a means by which social workers who have reached an advanced practice standing may be recognized. It is a voluntary registry. Only social workers on the registry may use the title ‘Clinical Social Worker’ but this does not limit who may practice clinical social work. Admission to the registry requires a detailed application, two years of supervised practice, and passing a clinical social work exam.

The application process begins upon at least two years prior to the time the applicant will be approved to the registry. Applicants must have a supervisor approved for the purposes of joining the registry and must have an approved supervision plan. Please see the application and procedures for details.

Clinical Social Work is defined as follows:

Clinical Social Work is a mental health profession based on the application of knowledge and theory of “psychosocial development, behavior, psychopathology, unconscious motivation, interpersonal relationships and environmental stress”*.  It utilizes social work methods to assess diagnose and provide psychotherapeutic interventions across the lifespan with individual’s, couples, families, and groups.  Clinical social workers demonstrate a commitment to continuing competence, ethical practice, and respect for diversity.


Clinical social workers who have received the appropriate training are qualified to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM), the International Classifications of Diseases (ICD), Person in Environment (PIE), and other diagnostic classification system in assessment, diagnostic, treatment, and other activities.


*Handbook of Clinical Social Work Supervision (3rd edition) Carleton E. Munson, PhD p. 9. 


Criteria for admission to the Clinical Registry:

Education Required

MSW with a specialization in clinical social work (or equivalent*)

Supervised Experience

1600 hours post-master’s direct client contact in an agency or organized setting, documented by the supervisor

Registration Status

Must be a registered social worker in Alberta


Passing score on written exam required



*Equivalence is based on specific knowledge criteria, which is normally attained through an MSW with a specialization in clinical social work. Each application is reviewed on an individual basis to determine whether the combination of education and experience is substantially equivalent to a clinical MSW plus two years supervised post-master’s experience.

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Copyright 2010 Alberta College of Social Workers