Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Social Service Worker Certificate

Are you looking to enrich more than your resumé?

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 your current position in the social work field. This program offers courses in social work theory and practice, counselling skills, lifespan development, social services and social science. Through a combination of online theory courses and a practicum, you learn about and experience the various situations you may encounter throughout your career.

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

What Can You Do With This Credential?

Use this program to get you started in your career in social services.

You can transfer credits from this program into Bachelor of Social Work degree programs at participating Canadian post-secondary institutions.

 Professional Development Option

Not a program student? You can register in all SOCW and HUMS courses, excluding HUMS 1671, the field practicum.


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
 Program Requirements

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

Admission Requirements

All of the following:

  • A completed and signed Social Service Worker Certificate Application (SSWCA) form
  • 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 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, An 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, Introduction to Human Service Practice with Indigenous Communities (3)
SOCW 2121, Social Welfare in Canada (3)
SOCW 3551, Human Development (3)

Practicum Requirement (6 credits)

HUMS 1671, Social Welfare Field Practicum (6) 

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.

Student Responsibility

Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select can be applied toward the program requirements of your chosen credential.

Also, before you register in a course not listed on the OL website, you must apply for a Letter of Permission (LOP).

If you proceed otherwise, you may find either that course credits cannot be applied to your program or you must pay a transcript reassessment fee.


Please see Tuition and Fees for details.


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