How to Become a Social Worker in Ontario-10 Best Steps

Are you searching for steps on how to become a social worker in Ontario? Are you an empathetic and considerate person who loves helping and attending to the needs of others? Or do you love helping humanity, and your passion is driven to make your community and the world a better place? Then social work is just the right career for you.

Although, there are a lot more than just these traits to becoming a social worker in Ontario. There are certain processes that you need to know about and carry out to become a Social Worker in Ontario.

This article gives an extensive study on what social work is all about and how to become a social worker in Ontario and practice your profession as one.

What Is Social Work?

According to the approved definition of social work by the  International Federation Of Social Workers ( IFSW ) and the International Association Of Schools Of Social Work ( IASSW ), social work is a practice-based career and an academic discipline that encourages social change and development, social cohesion and the empowerment and liberation of people.

Just as the name implies, “social work” is a profession that promotes the needs of society, through selfless work and effort.

Who Is A Social Worker?

Social workers are professionals who aim to improve the lives and well-being of individuals, families, groups, communities, and society as a whole.

They also address barriers and injustice by helping people cope with social and interpersonal needs.

Social work practices 

Social work practices can be carried out by registered social group services and programs and also by organizations. Before we show you how to become a social worker in Ontario, let’s look at some social work practices.

Some social work practices include:

1. The delivery of clinical services:

This may include consultation,  assessment, diagnosis, counseling, therapy, treatment, and even more for the improvement of health and well-being.

Clinical social workers will:

  • Observe client behavior, assess needs, and create treatment strategies

  • Diagnose psychological, behavioral, and emotional disorders

  • Develop and put treatment plans in place

  • Consult with doctors, therapists, and medical professionals

  • Administer clinical social services

  • Instruct clients’ families during treatment

2. Advocacy activities:

Social workers aid in upholding human rights and social values, they help handle inequities and issues  that exist in organizations and society, 

This also includes the advancement, evaluation, and enactment, of social policies that are aimed at improving social conditions, thereby promoting equality and equity for individuals, families, groups, and communities.

They Identify and offer help to both the young and old in all life stages and conditions, to enable them to cope with and solve their everyday problems

3. Community Services:

Social workers aid also in the delivery of services that support community development and help individuals, families, and the collective well-being of society.

They offer community services in:

  • A variety of local, regional, and municipal administrations in public and private organizations

  • Working with individuals, families, or groups and inquire and refer them to community aids

  • Acknowledging and responding to clients in certain crises

  • The desires and challenges of people, families, organizations, and communities to create change and build resiliency 

In addition, Social workers also work together with other professionals and organizations to provide services that aid in improving situations, and creating opportunities for growth and personal development.

Traits of A Social Worker 

Before checking out the steps on how to become a social worker in Ontario, are you aware of some traits of a social worker?

Social work is a selfless function because a social worker tends to put the needs of others even before themselves.

Aside from basic societal ethics and good education, there are several traits that a social worker must inculcate for professional services. 

Some of the traits, values, and principles for all social workers across Ontario and Canada as a whole are:

  • Individuality: A social worker must relate to each patient as a person. This means each patient should be treated as a person with his or her differences.

  • Controlled Emotionally: A social worker must understand how to relate to different kinds of people and control themselves emotionally. Social workers should be able to understand the verbal and non-verbal emotional cues of individuals.

  • Acceptance:

    This is the ability of a social worker to accept a client with his / her good and bad qualities, strength, and weaknesses.

  • Confidentiality:

    A social worker should understand and maintain privacy with his clients’ issues. You should understand the importance of not disclosing information shared by the clients without the client’s permission.

  • Good communication skills:

    A good social worker should have excellent skills of communication. This is the ability to receive, understand and convey information easily. A decent communication skill is a requirement for the purposeful expression of a social worker’s feelings. 

  • Critical Thinking:

    Critical thinking is the ability to identify and analyze information properly and formulate the best ways to help clients.

  • Commitment:

    A social worker must have a professional commitment to his or her career. This is a very necessary trait for fulfilling social work goals.

  • Empathy:

    A social worker should have the ability to step into a client’s shoes and understand their needs based on their unique experiences to efficiently provide help.

In Ontario, Social workers work according to the code of ethics set aside by the Canadian Association Of Social workers (CASW).

Please click here to read the current CASW Code of Ethics

Please click here to read the CASW Guidelines for Ethical Practice

The List of Steps On How To Become A Social Worker in Ontario

Here are some steps on how to become a social worker in Ontario :

1. Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

This is one of the most formal requirements for entry-level social work positions. A social worker must attain a bachelor’s degree in social work or any related field such as psychology or sociology. 

2. Master’s Degree In Social Work

All social workers, especially those who want to work in the clinical aspect, must attain a master’s degree in social work even if their first degree was not in this field. This will take at most  2 years to attain.

3. Get Experience 

This is also known as an internship. Here students are made to apply what they have learned in their courses to work for communities under strict supervision.

It is a time to learn and observe other social workers who are currently in the field. Students are advised to optimize their knowledge here and build new skill sets.

To become a licensed clinical social worker, you must have at least 3,000 hours of presided clinical experience after graduating with your master’s. 

4. Canadian Association Of Social Workers {CASW } Assessment.

The CASW assessment is used as one of the requirements for registration with social work regulatory bodies in Canada.

5. Become A Member Of the Ontario College Of Social Workers  & Social Service Workers ( OCSWSSW )

The OCSWSSW is the regulatory body for social workers and social services workers in Ontario. They protect the public and society from unqualified and unfit social work practitioners.

So far they regulate about 25,000 social workers and social service workers in Ontario.

In Canada, regulation of social work is based on provincial organization and is thus the responsibility of the social work regulatory bodies in a particular province or region:

6. Obtain Your License

You can’t talk about how to become a social worker in Ontario without talking about obtaining your license.

In Ontario, only members of this regulatory body can use the professional title “social workers”, ” social service workers”, “regulatory social workers”, “regulatory service social workers ” and more. 

You can only become a licensed social worker in Ontario after registering with the OCSWSSW 

7. Choose A Social Work Specialty 

There is a wide range of specialties in social work, and some of these include Medical social work: individuals who are interested in this specialty generally work in a medical environment (i.e., a clinic, hospital, or community health center).

School social work: social workers in this field get to work with not just the school and the students, but also with their families.Advocacy Social Work: This specialty of social workers helps in advocacy services.

8. Continued Learning 

Individual potential is improved through education, training, and continuous learning from experience. To become a better social worker you need to practice and improve your skills.

Acquiring a license in social work is one additional way to advance your learning, maintain your skills, and verify your credibility in the field. Though not all social work roles require a license, some positions that require you to work directly with individuals will most often do.

9. A valid Ontario driver’s license and the use of a reliable vehicle and assets.

This applies to community social workers, and also those who specialize in special care services. As their specialty requires the frequent use of vehicles and several assets for carrying out services.

10. Practice Your Dream Career 

Finally, on how to become a social worker in Ontario, you must practice. After completing all of the above, now it’s time to practice your passion as a social worker and help people around you and society as well.

List Of Some  Colleges In Ontario Offering Social Work Programs and Degrees

Without thinking of how to obtain a degree, your search for how to become a social worker in Ontario wont be complete.

What You Should Know About CASW assessment 

Having known how to become a social worker in Ontario, this section is also very important.

1. It is advisable to contact the regulatory body in the province where you wish to practice before proceeding with the CASW assessment. This is because the regulation of social workers in Canada is based on provincial legislation.

2. You must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work before applying for the CASW assessment. The CASW does not assess degrees in disciplines other than social work 

3. All assessment MSW (Masters In Social Work ) or BSW (Bachelors In Social Work) must include all the factors included in the CASW Standards of Accreditation ( )

What Do Social Workers Earn in Ontario?

Social workers usually earn between $21.98/hour and $49.41/hour in Ontario with $34.86 being the median.

Though the Salaries of Social Workers differ depending on the business /organization and the location in Ontario where they are working. 

Where Do Social Workers Work?

Social Workers work in a variety of settings and their duties may vary accordingly.

Some areas they work in include:

  • Family services agencies, that assist with parent-child may offer to counsel individuals or relationships

  • Children’s aid agencies

  • General and psychiatric hospitals

  • School boards

  • Correctional institutions 

  • Health and community services centers, and 

  • Federal and provincial departments.

Do Social Workers Work Part-Time?

Yes, some Social Workers work part-time – for example, offering home services by visiting clients in their homes – and most corporations may give earnings based on each -visit basis.

Where to Find Social Worker Jobs

The Ontario Association of Social Workers is a very good source when it comes to finding social worker jobs. You could also look for Social Work jobs on popular career websites for placements and volunteer positions. 

Another way to find Social Worker jobs is by contacting companies around you directly. For example, if you want to work in agencies that handle child aid, you can start researching agencies in your region and see if they are hiring Social Workers.

You can either look at their employment page or contact their Human Resources department directly. 

You could apply and find jobs in community-based settings throughout Ontario.


Social workers in Ontario deliver the most counseling and psychotherapy services, and social work services and research are done in collaboration with other professionals.

Licensing and certification guidelines for Social Workers vary by state so be sure to check the guidelines for the region in which you plan to study. What are your thoughts about these steps on how to become a social worker in Ontario? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section.

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