Alberta College of Social Workers


1. What is “student membership”? View.

Student membership in the Alberta College of Social Workers provides an opportunity for those who are not yet in the profession to participate in professional activities. It is not the same as Registration. Student members may identify themselves as student social workers, but may not use “RSW” or “Registered Social Worker”. Hide

2. What are the benefits of student membership? View.

Student members • receive The Advocate, the provincial for social workers; • are entitled to attend and participate in ACSW General Meetings; • are eligible to vote in Council elections, at General Meetings, and in any referenda; • are entitled to review all records and information of the affairs of the College that do not violate the privacy of an individual; • get a reduced fee for attendance at the annual conference and other ACSW events; • receive notice of all local events organized by the ACSW or its committees; • have the opportunity to connect with social workers in the field and get socialized into the profession. Hide

3. Who can be a student member? View.

Any person who is a student in an approved social work education program (diploma or degree), or a program in candidacy status, may apply for student membership. Students in related programs who have a previous degree/diploma in social work but who are not yet practicing may also apply for student membership. Hide

4. What is the cost of student membership? View.

At the present time, student membership costs $75 per year. Hide

5. How do I apply for student membership? View.

The application form can be found at the ACSW web site . Download the form, complete it, get it signed by a faculty member or staff from your education program, and mail it in with your payment. Hide

6. Are their any financial benefits for being a student member? View.

Yes. In addition to reduced fees for conferences, workshops, etc., social workers who were student members receive a $100 fee reduction in their first full year of registration. Hide

7. Are there ways for students to get involved with ACSW? View.

Yes. There are several member interest groups working on an ongoing basis and students are welcome and encouraged to get involved. Examples include conference planning committees (a new one each year), children’s issues, and social workers in health. A full list can be found on the ACSW web site. Hide

8. What happens with my membership when I graduate? View.

Upon completion of your program, if you intend to stay in Alberta and work within the scope of social work, you must apply for registration. The registration application form, with instructions, can be found on the same page as the student membership application form noted above. Hide

9. How long does it take to get registered? View.

Applications are normally processed within two to three weeks of documents being received. You must submit the completed application, supporting documentation, and your fees, before you can become registered. Once these are in, you will receive a Provisional RSW number. Hide

10. What fees do I have to pay when I apply for registration? View.

If you are a current student member when you apply for registration, your fees for registration will be pro-rated for the rest of your membership year. Contact the office to see how much you need to pay when you are applying. If you are not a student member, you’re thefee is currently set at $350. All applicants for registration, including those who have been student members of the ACSW, must pay the $80 registration application fee. Hide

11. What does “Provisional” mean? View.

“Provisional” is a status on the registration. All first time registrants must complete 1500 hours of practice under the supervision of a Registered Social Worker in order to become fully registered. No single diploma or degree program provides 1500 hours of practice through practicum placements. Provisional status allows a new graduate to legally work and complete the practice hour requirement. Hide

12. What counts as “practice hours”? Can I count summer employment while I was a student or practicum placements? View.

Practice hours must be in a social work position, i.e. work within the scope of social work practice following registration, or in an official student placement. Summer jobs prior to your qualification as a social worker cannot be counted toward provisional hours. Practice hours (practicum, volunteer or paid) must be supervised by a Registered Social Worker to be counted. Hide

13. I did/am contemplating doing a non-traditional practicum and there was/is no social worker on site. Does this mean that those hours can’t count? View.

Arrangements for practice supervision through the educational institution or another social worker in the community can be made in these circumstances. If, however, there was no practice supervision by an RSW, the hours cannot be counted. Hide

14. Shouldn’t I just wait till I have the 1500 supervised hours to apply for registration? View.

No, you shouldn’t wait. You cannot legally practice within the scope of social work if you qualify and you are not registered. Any hours worked when you are not registered will not be credited towards the 1500 hour requirement. Hide

15. I’ve heard that graduates of diploma programs are no longer eligible for registration. Is that true? View.

No. A referendum was held in 2003 to provide direction to ACSW Council for future planning. The majority who voted indicated that they would like the entry level to become a Registered Social Worker be at the BSW level. Making this change could take several years and in any case will not have an impact on any current diploma students or graduates. Hide

16. Are all social work diploma programs approved for registration? View.

No. At present, only social work diploma programs in Alberta are approved by the ACSW. Hide

17. Are all social work degree programs approved for registration? View.

No. Only programs that have been accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work or the Council on Social Work Education are approved by the ACSW. Hide

18. Where can I find more information about ACSW and its activities? View.

The ACSW web site,, has information on all aspects of the organization, including how it is structured, the activities taking place, social action initiatives, details about the regulation of social work practice, links to social work organizations throughout North America, a job board, and various other things. Some parts of the web site are only available to members, but most is accessible to anyone who is interested. If you don’t find what you are looking for on the web site, call or e-mail the office directly: Alberta College of Social Workers (780)421-1167 or toll free 1-800-661-3089 Hide