Social Services Worker

  • Program Title: Social Services Worker
    Credential: Diploma
    Delivery: Online
    Program Length: 4 Semesters (Two years)
    Program Availability: Full time or Part time
    Offered: This program is available starting every Monday.

    *Note: Curriculum is effective starting January 2017.

    Program Description


    Our program is designed to prepare aboriginal students or those with strong ties to aboriginal communities to work with First Nations people to enhance their self-reliance both on and off reserves. Students will gain knowledge of community development methods and will learn strategies for relationship building, community outreach and community leadership. Human resources, financial management, project management, entrepreneurship in social enterprises, principles of management as well as business development and fundraising will also be addressed. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of community-based social policy and public administration, and gain perspectives on social, cultural and political issues.

    Students have one-hundred-four (104) weeks to complete their program requirements, starting from the date of their first course.

    Health Requirements:

    The physical and emotional health of each applicant to the program must be such that he or she can successfully cope with the program of instruction including the demands of field placement (e.g. stress and time management) Individuals who have concerns about their ability to meet these requirements should contact the coordinator of the program prior to submitting an application.

    Police Records Check Documentation

    Though not an admission requirement, applicants must note important information listed below regarding Police Records Check program requirements.

    Students must provide the College with a current Police Records Check for Service with the Vulnerable Sector (PRCSVS) prior to the deadline identified by the department and students are responsible for any associated costs. If this documentation is not submitted on time, students may not be placed and registration in the program will be jeopardized. If you register in the program without a clear PRCSVS and as a result are unable to participate in placement, you will not be able to graduate and will be asked to withdraw.

    Field Placement Eligibility:

    PLEASE NOTE: Students may be required to travel up to 90 minutes to reach their field placement. While every attempt is made to provide students with a field placement close to a preferred area this is not always possible. Students are not permitted to contact (community agencies) in an attempt to arrange field placement. Hours vary from agency to agency.

    To be eligible for placement, you must submit proof of Standard First Aid certification, CPR level C, PRCSVS, and complete immunizations through ParaMed. ParaMed services are the third party provider who collects all field placement documentation for the Community Studies department.

    Participating in field placements (is) integral to the program of study. Field placements may occur (after completion of the first 7 courses in level I.) It its strongly recommended that, the Police Records Check and Health Requirements be completed before the start of (level I). (see Field Placement Eligibility for further details).

    It is important to note students must successfully complete Placement Seminar and Field Placement I prior to proceeding to level 03, 04.

    Learning Outcomes


    1. Develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work.
    2. Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups, and communities to assist them in achieving their goals.
    3. Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs and services.
    4. Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service delivery.
    5. Advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups, and communities.
    6. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and community partners.
    7. Develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self-care, improved job performance, and enhanced work relationships.
    8. Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families, and communities.
    9. Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.

    Your Career


    The Social Services Worker is responsible for providing community based social services to identified groups, individuals and families within applicable legislation in order to protect and improve the social well-being and functioning of families and individuals.

  • Admission Requirements


    College Eligibility

    • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent; OR
    • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate; OR
    • General Educational Development (GED); OR
    • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program).

    Call the Admissions Office at 1 (800) 267-2577 for more details. Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

    Application Process
    Program intake – Apply to this program by visiting our Registration page. If you are entering into this program as a mature student please attach your resume when submitting your registration information online.

  • Courses


    Semester 1
    Communications I
    Preparation for Field
    Social Services Work Interviewing
    Addictions
    Social Welfare in Canada
    SSW Ethics
    Development Psychology I

    Semester 2
    Commutations for SSW
    Group Work
    Field Placement Workshop I
    Field Placement I
    Legislation and Advocacy Crisis Intervention
    Development Psychology II

    Semester 3
    Field Placement Workshop II
    Mental Health
    Field Placement II
    Community Development II
    Working with Families

    Semester 4
    Field Placement Workshop III
    Field Placement III
    Assessment, Planning and Practice in SSW
    Globalization and Social Welfare
    Introduction to Native Studies

    Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of information provided on our website. The College reserves the right to modify any course, program, curriculum, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time.

  • Course Descriptions


    Semester 1
    Communications I (45 Hours)
    Communication remains an essential skill sought by employers, regardless of discipline or field of study. Using a practical, vocation-oriented approach, students focus on meeting the requirements of effective communication. Students practice writing, speaking, reading, listening, locating and documenting information, and using technology to communicate professionally. Students develop and strengthen communication skills that contribute to success in both educational and workplace environments.

    Preparation for Field (30 Hours)
    The ability to understand one’s professional roles and responsibilities in the workplace is foundational to success. Students explore their own beliefs and values as they relate to professional relationships and ethical principles in social service work practice. Students identify current social issues, and research social networks that support meeting the diverse needs of the community.

    Social Services Work Interviewing (30 Hours)
    Interviewing is complex, due in part, to the fact that it involves working across differences of class, race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, culture and health. Gathering information to assist people with their personal and social problems, while creating a safe, supportive environment, is foundational to social services. Students learn basic intervention skills through active listening, awareness of body language, utilization of open and closed questions and employing empathy to build trust. Students practise with role-play scenarios to develop and fine tune these skills in preparation for work with clients.

    Addictions (45 Hours)
    The clients of social service workers frequently experience challenges in the area of addictions. Students gain basic knowledge regarding substance abuse and addiction recovery. Students explore their values and attitudes about the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Students gain insight, awareness and the understanding necessary to interact positively with addicted clients and their families.

    Social Welfare in Canada (45 Hours)
    Social policies impact the development and delivery of services to consumer groups. Students study the historical progress of the social welfare system in Canada. In addition, the fundamentals of inequity, poverty, homelessness, violence, oppression, and discrimination are introduced in both historical and current social policies. Students examine their own values and practices to develop their knowledge and to critically analyze current social welfare policies and practices.

    SSW Ethics (45 Hours)
    Establishing effective client service in the community for social service workers is essential when facing a bewildering array of ethical and practical challenges. Students examine key codes of ethics, ethical issues, dilemmas and decision-making processes when confronted with conflicting duties and choices within the context of professional social service work. Students gain necessary skills and knowledge required to practise within an ethical framework.

    Development Psychology I (45 Hours)
    Success in ascertaining the needs of children and parents and our ability to work with them is intertwined with our knowledge of the pre-natal to adolescence development stages. Students investigate key developmental concepts, such as physical, cognitive and psychosocial aspects of the lifespan Students apply a variety of theories and psychological concepts to in-class activities, such as watching videos, reading, individual and group presentations, research and reflection to gain a greater appreciation of the value of developmental psychology

    Semester 2
    Commutations for SSW (45 Hours)
    Social service workers create and maintain a variety of records and documents related to their interactions with colleagues and clients. These records and documents must be coherent and objective assessments of the social service worker’s observations, actions and interventions. Other methods of communication involve drafting letters and reports directed to other professional agencies and organizations. Documentation created by the social service worker may be required for and used in legal proceedings. Emphasis continues to be placed on fundamental grammar and writing mechanics. Students demonstrate critical-thinking skills and other communication attributes that are necessary in any professional workplace setting.

    Group Work (30 Hours)
    Human beings spend much of their lives living and working in the context of groups. Group facilitation is an art and is an essential part of community support and intervention. Students are introduced to the practice of support group facilitation through planning, establishing the purpose of a support group and the facilitation of a specific topic to peers. Special emphasis is placed upon students acquiring the use of check in, leadership, co-leader harmony and evaluation.

    Field Placement Workshop I (30 Hours)
    Making the linkages between theory and practice is an essential part of becoming an effective social service worker. Students develop intervention strategies for implementation in their field placements. Students learn with and from each other’s direct experiences as burgeoning professionals.
    *Prerequisites: Completion of the above-cited Courses

    Field Placement I (185 Hours)
    Professional learning experiences support the integration of theory and professional expectations in social service agencies. Students practice observation skills, information gathering, interviewing skills, documentation and preliminary assessment skills under the guidance of an onsite supervisor. Students identify the impact of social problems upon their clients and develop a network of community resources for referral purposes. Students work within a team environment and form trusting relationships with clients demonstrating warmth, sensitivity, empathy and appropriate boundaries.

    Legislation and Advocacy Crisis Intervention (45 Hours)
    Social service work is, by nature, political. Most of the work done by social service workers is deeply influenced by the ideological, political and economic forces that comprise the welfare state. Students build critical awareness of these forces and of various political ideologies and critiques as they relate to social welfare and to the role of social service workers as agents of change.

    Crisis Intervention (45 Hours)

    One’s ability to function in a professional manner in crisis situations is essential in the field of social service work. Students differentiate long-term counselling from crisis intervention and examine crisis related assessment techniques and intervention strategies to de-escalate and support those in crisis. Students explore the concept of professional burnout as it relates to crisis. Students practise Non-Violent Crisis Intervention techniques and qualify for an additional certification upon successful completion.

    Development Psychology II (45 Hours)
    Consideration and application of developmental stages from adolescence to the time of our death is essential when supporting the needs of people throughout their lifespan. Students explore the key concepts associated with the study of development. Students apply and reflect on a variety of theories and developmental concepts and stages.

    Semester 3
    Field Placement Workshop II (30 Hours)
    The integration of theory, field-related issues, and personal development is essential for students to formalize a basic understanding of how our community, clients and professionals work together to effect positive change. Students learn to identify and practice clinical, organizational and personal skills in a solution-focused manner.

    Mental Health (30 Hours)
    Mental health includes both the inner experience and interpersonal group experience. Focus is on the well-being of individual clients and their families. Students are introduced to the complexities of psychopathology and various models of mental illness, along with classification systems and their limitations. The main objectives are to demystify mental illness and to provide strategies for working with this population. Exposure to current trends in service delivery, research and practice within a context of client empowerment and recovery are also explored. Societal attitudes, biases and barriers affecting the mentally ill are examined in relation to the role of social service workers.

    Field Placement II (252 Hours)
    Students are given the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge, skills and practice with a more sustained and committed field placement. Students take on increasing levels of responsibility and independence and continue to hone their writing, reporting, interviewing, engaging, and assessment skills as social service professionals.

    Community Development II (45 Hours)
    Community development emphasizes the worth of self-help, mutual support, the building up of community integration by developing the capacity for problem-solving, self-representation and promotion of collective action to bring a community’s preferences to the attention of political decision-makers. The theory and practice of community work are related to contemporary social action movements or local and national organizations. Students develop a basic understanding of community organization while undertaking a fundraising project.

    Applied SSW Practice (30 Hours)
    Social service work practice is the foundation for meeting human needs in our society. Students apply core values, ethics and helping skills critical to social service work, combining philosophical bases for practice with experiential learning to develop helping skills. Students explore strength-based practice and principles of empowerment to establish relationships with clients including individuals, families, groups and communities. Students refine their skills and knowledge through interactive lectures and role-playing.

    Working with Families (30 Hours)
    Understanding family systems is essential to providing optimum support to families. Students are grounded in family systems theory and explore patterns of interaction in terms of the wide range of problems that families and partners bring to social agencies. Emphasis is placed on how the family has changed over the generations and various intervention options. Students utilize genograms, timelines and eco maps to assess family functioning.

    Semester 4
    Field Placement Workshop III (30 Hours)
    Professional development of social service worker students continues with the extension of the learning opportunities that integrate theory and practice. Students build on their ability to identify and practice skills. By exploring ways to adapt clinical, organizational and personal skills in a solution-focused manner, students develop intervention strategies relevant to complex client situations. Students explore and solve ethical issues as they relate to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Social Service Workers.

    Field Placement III (275 Hours)
    Students hone their skills by fully integrating theory and practice. Students also identify, practice, adapt and incorporate theory at a level that provides optimum client service. The focus is on the cumulative knowledge and professional skills for client engagement, intervention, team work and community development that reflects the students’ readiness for front line social service work.

    Assessment, Planning and Practice in SSW (30 Hours)
    Assessment and intervention are core skills for qualified social service workers and are fundamental learning requirements for practice in the field. Strong assessment skills are required to develop an accurate understanding of clients and their needs, to identify problems and to serve as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of helping interventions. Students develop skills related to data collection, data interpretation, problem identification and intervention. Students learn to assess common issues experienced in the field, as well as develop comprehensive and effective intervention plans.

    Globalization and Social Welfare (45 Hours)
    Globalization has radically altered the economic, social and environmental landscape in which human needs are met. Students examine global commodities such as food, water, oil and mining extraction as they influence global poverty and health conditions. Environmental, economic and social sustainability are guiding principles as students develop critical thinking skills through group discussions, research projects, interactive lectures and other activities.

    Introduction to Native Studies (30 Hours)
    This introductory course surveys the traditions, cultures, histories and contemporary issues facing Canada’s First Nations. The course covers such themes as European intrusion, colonial administration and policies, residential schooling, the Indian Act, key historical treaties, and self-determination. Additionally, the course covers Native arts and literature, and the contemporary quest for social justice and equality in modern Canadian society.

    Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of information provided on our website. The College reserves the right to modify any course, program, curriculum, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time.

  • Fees & Expenses


    Tuition fees listed are in effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

    • Application Fee: $100.00
    • Textbooks: $975.00
    • Postal Fee: $49.00
    • Tuition Fee: $3,825.00

    Total Tuition & Fees: $4,949.00