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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Social Service Worker Certificate

Are you looking to enrich more than your resumé? The Social Service Worker Certificate prepares you to enter the human services field. Through a combination of online theory courses and a practicum, you learn about and experience the various situations you may encounter throughout your career. Program highlights include social work theory and practice, counselling skills, lifespan development and a field practicum.

Credit from this program's courses can be laddered into Bachelor of Social Work degree programs at participating Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Live outside of BC? If you want to complete this program, you may participate on the condition that you can make appropriate practicum arrangements at a social service agency.

Not a program student? You can register in all SOCW and HUMS courses, other than the field practicum course.


As a social service worker, you will work with vulnerable populations, assisting them in a variety of areas, including:

  • Aboriginal outreach
  • Addiction services
  • Child and youth support
  • Community outreach
  • Crisis intervention
  • Family service and support
  • Group and transition homes
  • Hospitals and public health
  • Women's shelters
 Calendar Description

The Social Service Worker Certificate program is designed for you if you want to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the field of social services or to upgrade a current position. This program offers courses in social work theory and practice, counselling skills, lifespan development, social services and social science.

Residents of Canada may apply to this program. However, if you live outside BC, you may apply on the condition that appropriate practicum arrangements at a social service agency can be made. If you prefer not to complete the program, you are welcome to register in all Social Work (SOCW) and Human Services (HUMS) courses, other than the Social Work practicum course, HUMS 1671.

 Program Requirements

If you plan to complete a credential through Open Learning, please fill out a Program Admission Form and email, fax or mail it to OL Admissions, along with your program application.

Admission Requirements

All of the following:

  • ENGL 0661, Written Communication (3) or equivalent, with a grade of 73% or higher or
    Grade 12 English, completed within the last five years, with a grade of 73% or higher on the combined English 12 and government exam
  • 60 documented hours of people-oriented volunteer or paid work experience in public or private social service agencies in the last five years
  • A completed Social Service Worker Certificate Application (SSWCA) form (PDF, 488 KB)
  • A phone interview with the Program Coordinator
Admission Recommendations
  • Completion of a Grade 12 program or the BC Adult Graduation Diploma
Additional Requirements
Residency Requirements
  • A minimum of 6 TRU credits (distance or on-campus)

Certificate Requirements

33 credits total, with a GPA of 2.00 for each course required for completion of this credential, as follows:

Core Knowledge Requirements (27 credits)

A university-level English course, such as ENGL 1101, Composition (3)

SOCI 1111, Introduction to Sociology I (3)

SOCW 2061, Introduction to Social Work Practice (3)

HUMS 1541, Interpersonal Communications and Helping Relationships (3)

HUMS 1581, Professional Human Service Practice (3)

HUMS 1611, Interviewing Skills for Human Service Practice (3)

HUMS 1771, Intro to First Nations Studies and Human Service Practice (3

SOCW 2121, Social Welfare in Canada (3)

SOCW 3551, Human Development (3)

Practicum Requirement (6 credits)

HUMS 1671, Social Welfare Field Practicum (6) 

Course completion time is 15 weeks minimum.

The practicum is 210 hours (15 weeks) minimum. It is offered in your choice of one of two delivery timeframes: (1) part-time, three days a week in a 10-week placement; or, (2) full-time, in a six-week placement.

To begin the process of obtaining a practicum, please contact the Program Coordinator The Program Coordinator assists you to obtain a suitable placement in communities close to your residence and has final approval regarding the practicum placement, based on availability and resources in the community you select.


Open Learning may accept transfer credit for similar courses offered at other recognized Canadian post-secondary educational institutions.

Student Responsibility

Please consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select are appropriate for your program of study and educational goals. Otherwise, you may find that a course does not meet the program requirements and you may need to pay further transcript assessment fees.


Please see Tuition and Fees for details.


Email Student Services to learn more about the Social Service Worker Certificate program.