Social Service Worker

The Social Service Worker program at Algonquin College’s Perth Campus prepares students to empower individuals, groups, and communities who are in the process of change and growth. The program specializes in rural social service work and students work in partnership with several local agencies to gain hands-on practical experience to better prepare them for employment.

Mobile DeviceBring Your Own Device (BYOD): As a student in this on-campus program, you will require a mobile computing device that meets the specifications outlined by your program at
(Please note this was previously referred to as a Mobile Learning Program)

Related Programs:
Social Service Worker (Intensive) (Ottawa Campus)
Social Service Worker (Ottawa Campus)
Social Service Worker (Pembroke Campus)
Social Service Worker (Online Learning, Part-time, On Campus)

Ontario College Diploma
2 Year(s)

Program Code: 0432X01FPT
Academic Year: 2016/2017

Our Program

This two-year Ontario College Diploma program prepares students to empower individuals, groups, and communities who are in the process of change and growth. The curriculum includes courses in social service ethics, social welfare, addictions, mental health and crisis intervention. Others focus on children and families, seniors, people with disabilities, sustainability and global issues. Diversity is taught across the program of study.

Students participate in a series of four workshops led by a local native elder.

Academic courses, community engagement and field placements prepare Perth SSW graduates to work in urban and rural settings with any target population from a generalist perspective.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Students are expected to have and use a laptop or mobile computing device when registered in this on-campus program. Hardware and software specifications required by your program are outlined at . Mobile devices/laptops and supplies can be purchased directly from Algonquin`s New Technology Store at educational rates.

This program is well-suited for students who:
  • Are committed to addressing social issues, such as poverty, homelessness, oppression and human rights.
  • Are team oriented and enjoy working with others.
  • Deal effectively with stressful situations.
  • Understand the importance of effective communication with clients and community partners.
  • Have effective interpersonal skills.
  • Have resolved personal issues and challenges.

Your Career

Graduates may secure employed as frontline workers in provincial, municipal, non-governmental and private social service agencies including social service departments, long-term care facilities, addiction and mental health services, schools and programs for youth, community health centres, shelters and residential treatment programs.

Graduates support vulnerable people who are impacted by such issues as loss and separation, family crisis, poverty, violence, homelessness, addiction, disability, unemployment, gender identity, immigration and culture.

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:
  1. Develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work.
  2. Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups and communities to assist them in achieving their goals.
  3. Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs and services.
  4. Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service delivery.
  5. Advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  6. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and communities.
  7. Develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self-care, improved job performance, and enhanced work relationships.
  8. Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families, and communities.
  9. Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.
  10. Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.


Programs at Algonquin College are delivered using a variety of instruction modes. Courses may be offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities. Upon registration, each full-time student is provided an Algonquin email account which is used to communicate important information about program or course events.
Level: 01 Hours
ENL9212 Communications I Communication remains an essential skill sought by employers, regardless of discipline or field of study. Using a practical, vocation-oriented approach, students focus on meeting the requirements of effective communication. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and independent learning, students practise writing, speaking, reading, listening, locating and documenting information, and using technology to communicate professionally. Students develop and strengthen communication skills that contribute to success in both educational and workplace environments. 45.0
FAM9004 Social Service Work Interviewing Interviewing is a major component of the field of Social Service Work. Students will review and recognize the essential elements of a social service work interview that include, but are not restricted to, the application of open, closed and indirect questions. Students will operationalize interview theory through the utilization of role plays, digital recordings, structured and unstructured interview formats. 30.0
FAM9009 Social Service Worker Ethics Ethics is the cornerstone for providing effective Social Service Work. Students examine the principles of the Code of Ethics and Standards of practice as outlined by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers as well as scopes of practice. Students gain the necessary skills and knowledge required to practice within an ethical framework. 45.0
FAM9502 Preparation for Placement The ability to understand one's professional roles and responsibilities in the workplace is foundational to success. Students explore their beliefs, values and behaviours as they relate to the field of social service work. They identify current social issues and research social networks that support meeting the diverse needs of the community. 30.0
FAM9503 Social Welfare in Canada Social policies impact the development and delivery of services to consumer groups. Students study the historical progress of the social welfare system in Canada. In addition, the fundamentals of inequity, poverty, homelessness, violence, oppression, and discrimination are introduced in both historical and current social policies. Students examine their own values and practices to develop their knowledge and to critically analyze current social welfare policies and practices. 45.0
FAM9504 Addictions Addictions impacts individuals in many areas of social service work. Students examine explanations of how substance and process addictions develop and are introduced to current trends in prevention and treatment. 45.0
PSY9502 Developmental Psychology I Success in determining the needs of children and parents and our ability to work with them is intertwined with our knowledge of the pre-natal, infancy and childhood development stages. Students investigate key developmental concepts, such as physical, cognitive and psychosocial aspects of the life span. Students apply a variety of theories and psychological concepts to in-class activities, such as watching videos, reading, individual and group presentations, research and reflection to gain a greater appreciation of the value of developmental psychology. 45.0
Level: 02 Hours
ENL9006 Communications for the Social Service Worker Social service workers create and maintain a variety of records and documents related to their interactions with colleagues and clients. These records and documents must be coherent and objective reflections of the social service worker's observations, actions and interventions. Other methods of communication involve drafting letters and reports directed to other professional agencies and organizations. Emphasis continues to be placed on fundamental grammar and writing mechanics.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504
FAM9012 Placement Seminar I Making the linkages between theory and practice is an essential part of becoming an effective social service worker. Students learn with and from each other's direct experiences as beginning practitioners.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504

Co-requisites: FAM9018
FAM9018 Placement I Professional learning experiences support the integration of theory and professional expectations in social service agencies. Students practise observation skills, information gathering, interviewing skills, documentation and preliminary assessment skills under the guidance of an onsite supervisor.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504

Co-requisites: FAM9012
FAM9609 Crisis Intervention One's ability to function in a professional manner in crisis situations is essential in the field of social service work. Students differentiate long-term support work from crisis intervention and examine crisis related assessment techniques and intervention strategies to de-escalate and support those in crisis. Students explore the concept of professional burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma as it relates to crisis intervention work. Students practise Non-Violent Crisis Intervention techniques and qualify for an additional certification upon successful completion.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504
FAM9616 Group Work Group work is an essential part of many social service work settings. Making use of a simulated exercise students are provided the opportunity to practice skills involved in the planning and facilitation of topic based support groups. Co-operative work strategies are is emphasised.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504
FAM9617 Legislation and Advocacy Legislation and Advocacy provides invaluable exposure to governance, courts, legislation and advocacy in Canada. Students explore, through research, role plays and discussion, such topics as immigration, human rights, policing, violence, income support, housing, criminal justice, child welfare and legal aid.

Prerequisites: ENL9212 and FAM9004 and FAM9009 and FAM9502 and FAM9503 and FAM9504
PSY9600 Developmental Psychology II Consideration and application of developmental stages from adolescence to the time of our death is essential when supporting the needs of people throughout their lifespan. Students explore the key concepts associated with the study of development. Students apply and reflect on a variety of theories and developmental concepts and stages. 45.0
Level: 03 Hours
FAM9201 Placement Seminar II The integration of theory, field-related issues, and personal development is essential for students to formalize a basic understanding of how our community, clients and professionals work together to effect positive change. Students learn to identify and practise clinical, organizational and personal skills in a solution-focused manner. Self-care is emphasised.

Prerequisites: ENL9006 and FAM9012 and FAM9018 and FAM9609 and FAM9616 and FAM9617

Co-requisites: FAM9204
FAM9204 Placement II Students are given the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge, skills and practice with a more sustained and committed field placement. Students take on increasing levels of responsibility and independence and continue to increase their writing, reporting, interviewing, engaging, and assessment skills as social service professionals.

Prerequisites: ENL9006 and FAM9012 and FAM9018 and FAM9609 and FAM9616 and FAM9617

Co-requisites: FAM9201
FAM9700 Mental Health Mental health is a growing concern in Canada today and impacts all areas of social service work. Students explore a variety of mental health challenges faced by adults and the current trends in services, treatments, legislation/policies and medications. Attitudes, biases and barriers affecting persons with mental illness are examined in relation to the role of social service workers.

Prerequisites: ENL9006 and FAM9012 and FAM9018 and FAM9609 and FAM9616 and FAM9617
FAM9701 Community Development Community development is an important method for creating social change. Students explore issues, models and practice applications in community development. Working on a simulated project for change, students apply community development principles and skills including research, program planning, self-representation, promotion of collective action, organization development and acquisition of funds.

Prerequisites: ENL9006 and FAM9012 and FAM9018 and FAM9609 and FAM9616 and FAM9617
FAM9702 Applied Social Service Work Practice Theory provides the practitioner the ability to organize observations and information to help explain why clients do what they do. Understanding there is a strong association between professionalism and a credible theory-based practice, students learn how major theoretical approaches are applied to social service work.

Prerequisites: ENL9006 and FAM9012 and FAM9018 and FAM9609 and FAM9616 and FAM9617
Choose one from equivalencies: Hours
GED2432 General Education Elective Students choose one course, from a group of general education electives, which meets one of the following four theme requirements: Arts in Society, Civic Life, Social and Cultural Understanding, and Science and Technology.

Equivalencies: ARC9001 or DSN2001 or ENV0002 or FAM1218 or GED1896 or GED5002 or GED5003 or GED5004 or GED5005 or GED5006 or GED5009 or GED5300 or GED6022 or GEN1957 or GEN2000 or HIS0001 or HIS2000 or HOS2228 or LIB1982 or MGT7330 or MVM8800 or PSI0003 or RAD2001
Level: 04 Hours
FAM9205 Globalization and Social Welfare Students critically analyse issues at local and global levels through the lens of sustainability (environmental, economic and social). They will research the social welfare situation in a developing country and use the Algonquin College Sustainability Framework to design an initiative suitable for local use.

Prerequisites: FAM9201 and FAM9204 and FAM9700 and FAM9701 and FAM9702 and FAM9801
FAM9206 Placement Seminar III Professional development of social service worker students continues with the extension of the learning opportunities that integrate theory and practice. By exploring ways to adapt clinical, organizational and personal skills in a solution-focused manner, students explore intervention strategies relevant to complex client situations. Students examine and discuss ethical issues as they relate to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Social Service Workers. Work continues on self-care strategies.

Prerequisites: FAM9201 and FAM9204 and FAM9700 and FAM9701 and FAM9702 and FAM9801

Co-requisites: FAM9209
FAM9209 Placement III Students further develop their ability to integrate theory and practice. The focus is on the cumulative knowledge and professional skills for client engagement, intervention, team work and community development that reflects the students' readiness for entry level frontline social service work.

Prerequisites: FAM9201 and FAM9204 and FAM9700 and FAM9701 and FAM9702 and FAM9801

Co-requisites: FAM9206
FAM9800 Assessment, Planning and Practice in Ssw Assessment and intervention are core skills for qualified social service workers and are fundamental learning requirements for practice in the field. Strong assessment skills are required to develop an accurate understanding of clients and their needs, to identify problems, and to serve as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of helping interventions. Students develop skills related to data collection, data interpretation, problem identification and intervention. Students learn to assess common issues experienced in the field, as well as develop comprehensive and effective intervention plans.

Prerequisites: FAM9201 and FAM9204 and FAM9700 and FAM9701 and FAM9702 and FAM9801
FAM9801 Working with Families Social Service Work provides exposure to the challenges, barriers and strengths of diverse family systems in Canada. Students review the effects of poverty, mental health, behaviour challenges, crises and abuse in the family. Students' understanding of family systems is enhanced through the exploration and utilization of genograms.

Prerequisites: FAM9201 and FAM9204 and FAM9700 and FAM9701 and FAM9702

Fees & Expenses   

2016/2017 Academic Year

Total Fees for the first year of the program:

Domestic tuition/ancillary fees: $4,631.84. *

International tuition/ancillary Fees: $14,157.88. *

* Amounts include tuition fee, program specific lab and material fees, applicable eText fees, Students` Association fees and compulsory ancillary fees. Fees are subject to change. For detailed fees information please visit

Note: For further information regarding your books, please visit

Books and supplies cost approximately $1000 in the first year and $650 in the second year and can be purchased in the campus bookstore.

Admission Requirements   

2017/2018 Academic Year

College Eligibility
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.
Program Eligibility
  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent) with a grade of 65% or higher.
  • Provide a completed reference form, found on our webpage from an agency supervisor based on relevant volunteer, paid work or educational/co-op placement, working directly with clients, in a Human Service Agency within the last two years. A minimum of 60 hours is required. The agency setting could include: shelters, long-term care facilities, schools, or other front line agencies dealing with vulnerable people.
  • Applicants with International transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either:
    • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band. OR
    • TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 88, with the minimum of 22 in each component: Reading 22; Listening: 22 Speaking: 22, Writing: 22

Should the number of qualified applicants exceed the number of available places, applicants will be selected on the basis of their proficiency in English.

Health Documentation:
Students accepted into the Social Service Worker program must meet the following health requirements:
  • Provide evidence of full and complete immunizations including Hepatitis B vaccine. The Algonquin College Health Services will review the student`s record of immunization and provide authorization for entry into field placement. Some field placement agencies may require the Influenza vaccine.
  • The Social Service Worker program and the profession of Social Service Work are both physically and emotionally demanding. Skills in time management and stress management are an asset.
Police Records Check Documentation

Though not an admission requirement, applicants must note important information listed below regarding Police Record Check program requirements.

Successful completion of field placement is a requirement for graduation from the Social Service Worker program. Agencies that provide placement opportunities may require you to have a clear Police Records Check for Service with the Vulnerable Sector (PRCSVS). Acceptance for placement is at the discretion of the agency. If a student registers in the program without a clear PRCSVS and as a result is unable to participate in placement, the student will not be able to graduate.

Field Placement Eligibility:

To be eligible for placement, students must submit proof of a PRCSVS, which will be retained on file and used only for purposes related to placement. Students will be required to disclose the contents of the PRCSVS, including all notations, to the placement agencies.

It is a student`s responsibility to obtain the PRCSVS from their local Police Department prior to the deadline identified by the Department and to pay any associated costs. It may take a long time to obtain this documentation; please submit your application as early as possible. Should you require further information, contact the Program Coordinator.

Application Information

Applications to full-time day programs must be submitted with official transcripts showing completion of the academic admission requirements through:
60 Corporate Court
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 5J3

Students currently enrolled in an Ontario secondary school should notify their Guidance Office prior to their online application at
Applications for Fall Term and Winter Term admission received by February 1 will be given equal consideration. Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as places are available.

International applicants applying from out-of-country can obtain the
International Student Application Form at or by contacting the Registrar`s Office.

For further information on the admissions process, contact:

Registrar`s Office
Algonquin College Perth Campus
7 Craig Street
Perth, ON K7H 1X7
Telephone: 613-267-2859
Toll-free: 1-800-565-4723

Additional Information

The social service worker field requires mature, flexible workers who commit to personal wellness and self-care as well as the principles of social justice and anti-oppression. This demanding program places students in learning environments and in contact with emotionally challenging themes. This may be unsettling to those who are in current recovery for mental health, abuse or addiction problems. As such, we encourage prospective students to reflect upon their readiness to meet these demands.

The program is also offered at the Woodroffe and Pembroke Campuses. While the learning outcomes at the Woodroffe, Pembroke and Perth Campuses are the same, the curriculum order and subject delivery are reflective of the local circumstances, which affect program delivery.

The intake of the program in Perth is limited to 30 students. Field Placement Seminar classes are capped at 10 students to ensure individual attention and a small team approach.

Social Service Worker is a registered professional title which may only be used by members in good standing of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). This relates to the Ontario legislation called the Social Work and Social Service Work Act. The OCSWSSW recognizes the SSW Program at Algonquin College in Perth. Graduates of the Social Service Worker program are required by law to join the OCSWSSW after graduation in order to use the professional title. The OCSWSSW grants or denies membership. For more information visit .

The program of study stipulates that students must successfully complete all courses and field placements at each level before moving on to the next. They must meet and continue to meet the Program Eligibility Requirements for field placements. Students who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to participate in field placements. Those who have a criminal record for which they have not been pardoned have serious challenges securing a field placement in the Social Service Worker Perth program due to the extremely low number of agencies in the region that accept a student with a criminal record.

Students with access to transportation and a driver`s licence have a wider selection of field placement opportunities. There is no bus service in the town of Perth.

For information, please contact the Perth Campus at 613-267-2859 or .

Awards & Bursaries

Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time