Alberta College of Social Workers

Internationally Educated Applicants

Alberta welcomes social workers from all over the world. In Alberta, all individuals with a social work credential, practicing in the scope of social work are required to be registered as a social worker. Only social workers registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) are permitted to use the protected titles of Social Worker, Registered Social Worker and RSW. If you have completed a Bachelor or Master level credential in social work at a program not accredited ( CASWE, CSWE, ACSW, NIAB), here is what you need to know to become a registered social worker in Alberta.

Before Completing an Application
  • the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) will require an assessment of your qualifications for registration. The results of the assessment will determine if your social work credential is equivalent to credentials that are recognized. Contact the Canadian Association of Social Workers directly for details on their assessment of international credentials, documentation they require, and fees for this service. Have the results of the assessment and the Evaluation Report forwarded directly to the ACSW. While ACSW will review an IQAS specialized assessment, it typically does not give information that allows us to conclude that there is an equivalence to a Canadian BSW/MSW. CASW website link: https://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-we-do/assessment-international-credentials
Once you have received a Copy of the Assessment
  • contact the ACSW through email registration@acsw.ab.ca. If the findings indicate equivalency to a Canadian BSW or MSW degree, you have the qualifying credential for registration. Upon receipt of your email and evaluation report, ACSW will email the link to access the application for registration.
Please Note: You will be able to upload the following documentation onto your ACSW member portal. Please ensure that all supporting documentation is provided in English.
  • Education Qualifications
    • ACSW will accept copies of the applicant’s translated credentials which would have been submitted to the CASW for the Assessment of the International Credentials. The ACSW will receive a copy of the Evaluation Report of Social Work Credentials Obtained Outside Canada if you have provided the Waiver Form to the CASW.
  • Current Resume
    • An up-to-date resume that reflects education, work experience, social work related activities, with locations and time frames will satisfy this requirement
  • Character Reference
    • The ACSW Character Reference must be submitted by an individual that knows the applicant (does not have to be an RSW) who is not a family member or partner
    • The completed ACSW Character Reference Form may be sent directly to ACSW or uploaded by the applicant
    • Alternatively, ACSW will also accept a reference in letter format that is directed to the Alberta College of Social Workers and specifically supports the applicant in the role as a regulated social worker
    • Note: The future Supervisor Reference cannot come from the same individual who completed the Character Reference
  • Current Criminal Record Check
    • The Criminal Record Check should be issued no more than three (3) months from the date of registration
    • We do not require the vulnerable sector check
    • ACSW will accept Criminal Record Checks from local law enforcement agencies or from an online provider
    • Inconclusive results may require a fingerprint check
    • The applicant is responsible for the cost of the criminal record check
    • Criminal Record Checks submitted in a language other than English or French needs to be accompanied by an official translation
  • Continuing Competency Requirements
    • As an introduction to the ACSW Continuing Competence Program, applicants will complete a Self-Assessment and Learning Plan for the coming year
  • Mandatory Training

Other Professions/Jurisdictions
  • Applicants that are or have been registered/licensed/certified in social work or another profession must have the verification form completed for each respective profession
  • Complete the top portion of the form and forward it to the appropriate regulatory bod(ies)
  • The applicant is responsible for any cost for verifications

Professional Dues
  • Once the complete application is reviewed and approved, payment of professional dues will be required.
  • Upon receipt of payment, registration on the Provisional Registry will be granted and an RSW number will be assigned
  • The practice permit is available for download and printing for those who are actively registered

Enter to Practice Exam
  • Within your first year of registration, you will be required to successfully pass an entry-to-practice examination.
  • The examination is provided through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • The level of the exam is determined by the results of your assessment
  • Additional information can be found on the ASWB website for ASWB Exam Candidates

1500 Hours of Supervised Practice
  • is required to progress from the Provisional Registry to the General Registry. Acceptable practice hours are: 
  • Regulated practice hours ( you must be a registered social worker before you can accumulate hours)
  • Supervised by an RSW on the General Registry
  • Verified through a Supervisor Reference Form that attests to your safe and competent social work practice
Professional Liability Insurance
  • is required when you are working within the scope of social work practice
  • Professional liability insurance is practice insurance, effective if/when a complaint is made regarding your social work practice
  • Your employer may provide this insurance and that does satisfy your legal requirements
  • ACSW does recommend that you purchase your own insurance (as employer insurance is there to protect the employer)
  • A private policy is about $125 per year
  • For more information please see our webpage on Insurance

Timelines

The time required to approve registration is dependent on several factors:
  • How long it takes for you to get the required documentation to ACSW
  • Applications are typically processed within 2 weeks of receipt of the complete application with supplemental documentation and payment of application fee
  • Volume of applications in process impacts registration timelines. Please note that from April through June, our volume is very high due to increased new graduate applications  
ACSW does not begin the final review for approval until all supporting documents have been received. If you are uncertain if your application is complete please contact the Registration Department by email registration@acsw.ab.ca or phone 780-421-1167. Please note that it is unlikely that walk-ins can be seen without a prior appointment. 

The application must be completed within six months of the date started.
  • Documentation is generally reviewed within one week of receipt if uploaded by the applicant, 8 to 10 days if ACSW is required to complete the upload
  • Once all documentation is received and reviewed, an email request for payment of professional dues is usually sent within one week of approval for registration
  • The applicant has 10 days to provide payment. If additional time is required, please contact the ACSW office to make arrangements for extension
  • Once payment is received, registration on the Provisional Registry is usually granted within one week
  • Registration Inquiries can be directed to registration@acsw.ab.ca
  • Registration is renewed annually
  • Annual continuing competence requirements must be met Continued Competence Program
  • Social work practice that involves the treatment of substantial mental health disorders may require additional authorization to perform restricted activity of psychosocial intervention Information on the Application for Authorization for Restricted Activities
  • Registration as a Clinical Social Worker is an option available to experienced RSWs with advanced preparations Information on the Clinical Registry
  • RSWs are required to keep their profile up-to-date with contact and practice information
  • Practicing registered social workers are trusted health professionals and are accountable to the ACSW Standards of Practice and CASW Code of Ethics
  • RSWs are eligible to serve on the ACSW governance council and legislative committees on registration, continuing competence, clinical registry, and professional social work education Information on the Legislative Committees and Council

Additional Resources

Social Worker Fact Sheet rev Feb 2016  
The ACSW Website has the most current information on registration requirements and should be considered as the authority in this area.
 
Social Work Occupation - Alberta alis