Thompson Rivers University

Open Learning

Arts Programs

Social Service Worker Certificate

Program Availability

This program is available to applicants residing in Canada.

Program Description

This certificate program is designed for individuals seeking 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.

What can you do with this credential?

Employment opportunities for social service workers exist in child and youth care settings, schools, transition houses, group homes, peer counselling programs and other social service agencies. Information on employment trends and opportunities is provided at

Completing courses in the Social Service Worker Certificate program will provide you with transfer credits toward a Human Service Diploma or Social Services Worker Diploma. The Social Service Worker Certificate courses will transfer directly into the TRU Human Service Diploma program a two-year program available through Thompson Rivers University at its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses. Refer to BC Admissions and Transfer Experiences ( ) for information about transferring to other diploma programs. Please contact the College or University in your area for more details

Bachelor of Social Work

Two of the courses in the Social Services Worker Certificate Program ( SOCW 2061, An Introduction to Social Work Practice and SOCW 2121, Social Welfare in Canada) meet the requirements for many Bachelor of Social Work degree programs throughout Canada including Thompson Rivers University. Completing courses in the Social Service Worker Certificate program is a way to acquire many other transfer credits toward entry requirements in the TRU Bachelor of Social Work degree program. Refer to BC Admissions and Transfer Experiences for information about transfer credits for other BSW programs in BC. Please contact the University in your area for more details.

Heather Carrell was able to use the Social Service Worker Certificate she gained through Open Learning to help her gain access into a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care program.

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements

The English entrance requirement may be fulfilled in several ways. Choose one of the following:

  1. ENGL 0661, Written Communication (3) or equivalent with a grade of 73% or higher.
  2. Grade 12 English, completed within the last five years, with a grade of 73% or higher on the combined English 12 and Government Exam.
  3. Completion of either the voluntary English Language and Writing Assessment (PDF, 157 KB), the Language Proficiency Index or the English Assessment with First Nations Content (PDF, 597 KB). Students obtaining a writing level score of 5 or 6 are exempt from ENGL 0661.
  • Sixty documented hours of people-oriented volunteer or paid work experience in public or private social service agencies in the last five years.
  • Social Service Worker Certificate Application Form (PDF, 488 KB)
  • Phone interview with the program coordinator.

Students who plan to complete a credential through TRU-OL must complete and submit a Program Admission form.

Additional Requirements

Consent to a Criminal Record Check Form (PDF, 437 KB)

Residency Requirements

Minimum of 6 TRU credits (distance or on-campus).

Certificate Requirements

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)
HUMS 1671, Social Welfare Field Practicum (6) (final course)*

*Social Welfare Field Practicum
The Consent to a Criminal Record Check form must be completed in full and submitted to the Program Assistant prior to registering for HUMS 1671. A satisfactory criminal record check is required in order for the student to secure a field placement.
Students must also participate the 210-hour practicum in a social service setting. The Field Practicum in HUMS 1671 is offered in a choice of one of two delivery timeframes. Students may choose a part-time option in which they are placed in a community agency three days a week for a total of 10 weeks or they may elect to arrange a practicum for a six week full-time, placement (210 hours in total). The minimum course completion time is 15 weeks.
The Program Coordinator will assist the student in obtaining a suitable practicum placement in communities close to a student's residence, both within and outside of BC and will give final approval to the arrangements. Please contact the Program Coordinator at to begin the process of obtaining a practicum. The field placement is based on availability and resources in the community the student selects.

Students are expected to earn at least a C average in each course that is applied to the Social Service Worker Certificate.


Completion of a Grade 12 program or the Adult Graduation Diploma is recommended for admission into this program.

Applicants residing outside BC who want to complete the program may participate on the condition that appropriate practicum arrangements at a social service agency can be made. Students who do not intend to complete the program may register in all SOCW and HUMS courses; excluding the practicum course HUMS 1671.

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

Students are responsible for consulting with their TRU-OL program advisor to ensure courses selected are appropriate for their program of study or to meet future educational goals. Students who proceed without approval may find that a course does not meet requirements and may be subject to transfer credit assessment fees.


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