Suppose you are someone who loves helping people with special needs or loves the company of kids who need assistance in their studies or their daily lives. In that case, you should consider becoming a social worker.
Social workers focus on the overall development of the people around them, especially those disadvantaged because of their age, health, gender, and financial status. They help these people live their lives regularly. Social workers help make the world a better place for everyone.
For the disadvantaged, social workers help them get on their feet without expecting anything in return. If you enjoy helping people regardless of their status in life and are not afraid of going to depressed areas to reach out to these people, this job is for you.
If you are interested, here’s what you must know about becoming a social worker in Canada.
Those aspiring to become social workers in Canada must have a bachelor’s degree in social services, known as the Bachelor of Social Work. This is the minimum educational requirement for those who want to become social workers in Canada. You can also pursue a master’s degree or a doctoral degree, but it is not required. You can be eligible to become a social worker once you have a bachelor’s degree.
You should also try planning your social worker career by learning more about subjects relevant to the job. These subjects include economics, sociology, social policy, psychology, and philosophy, while you are in high school.
Provinces and territories in Canada differ on their requirements for primary education for social workers. In Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nunavut, New Brunswick, and the Northwest Territories, a bachelor’s degree in social work is enough.
However, in Alberta, a diploma in social work can replace a bachelor’s degree in social work, but it is also a requirement.
Licensing and Other Professional Requirements
Social workers are classified as regulated professions in Canada. They must be registered with the respective regulatory authority in their province or territory before practising. It is a requirement across all provinces. This allows you to use the titles “Social Worker” and “Registered Social Worker”.
Registration with a provincial governing body is required before you can practice as a social worker in places such as Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. You can find a list of regulatory bodies here.
Skills, Knowledge, and Other Requirements
Social workers in Canada should also have the required skill set, knowledge, and other requirements to effectively practise as social workers.
As social workers, some of the required skills you must have to perform well include interviewing clients to assess their situation and determine which services they need and are qualified to receive.
You must also provide counsel and therapy to help your clients solve their social and personal problems. In cases where child abuse might have happened, you must also investigate and take protective action whenever needed.
Other skill sets you must have include administering tests, applying for social program funding, and conducting social research. Writing research papers and other literature for social workers and their clients and lobbying for solutions to your clients’ problems are some of the different skill sets social workers should have in Canada. Importantly, you should also have above-average communication skills.
As social workers, you must be knowledgeable in public safety and security, therapy and counselling, sociology, anthropology, and psychology.
Salary, Wages, and Demands for Social Workers in Canada
Typically, social workers in Canada do not earn that much compared to other professions. The average hourly wage for social workers working in Canada is $33.65 an hour. It can go up to $45 depending on the skills and years of experience as a social worker in your jurisdiction.
Alberta social workers earn the highest possible hourly wage for social workers in Canada. They have the potential to earn up to $48.52 an hour, depending on their experience, knowledge, and skillsets.
Manitoba has the lowest starting hourly wage for social workers in Canada, with the average rate starting at $18 an hour. However, they can earn up to $44 an hour if they are highly qualified and skilled enough.
Given that there are significant needs in the social services sector, it is expected that job creation would happen to cater to the conditions in the said sector. Also, the public has greater awareness of topics revolving around social services such as mental health, violence, and population aging.
As of 2021, the number of job openings is expected to total 67,700 due to several factors such as the retirement of older social workers, expansion demands, and other replacement demands. The expected number of people to fill in that gap was around 64,200. Therefore, it is safe to say that there is a demand for social workers in Canada.