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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 least 10 credits 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.
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.
- 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.