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Social Service Worker (SSW)


The SSW program is for students who wish to become skilled social services practitioners, helping and supporting people with different needs. The programs integrate university credit courses with social service career courses, and combine classroom theory with the practical skills necessary for employment in a broad range of social services occupations. Practicum opportunities available in Northwest communities allow students to practice what they learn in workplace settings and gain valuable practical experience. SSW Certificate graduates are prepared to work at the para-professional level or to continue their education to diploma and degree levels of education. SSW Diploma program graduates can either work at the para-professional level or continue their education to a degree level.


Program Outline 

The Social Service Worker (SSW) program is offered on a full- and part-time basis. Students must maintain an average GPA of 2.0 to receive their credential.

Social Service Worker Certificate

The one-year Social Service Worker Certificate includes two semesters plus practicum. 

LPAT 100-1 Student Success
ENGL 101-3 Introduction to Composition 
CPSC 111-3 Introduction to Computer Science 
SSW 112-3 Interpersonal Communication
SSW 191-3 Introduction to Social Service Agencies
PSYC 101-3 Introductory Psychology I
SOCI 101-3 Introductory Sociology I

ANTH 112-3 First Nations of BC
SSW 113-3 Helping Skills
SSW 192-3 Introduction to Social Service Practice
PSYC 102-3 Introductory Psychology II
SOCI 102-3 Introductory Sociology II

SSW 197-3 Social Service Worker Practicum I


Social Service Worker Diploma

The Social Service Worker diploma requires successful completion of the Certificate and two (Diploma) semesters plus practicum.

ENGL 151-3 Technical Writing I
SSW 295-3 Introduction to Social Work
SSW 213-3 Group Work
PSYC 201-3 Developmental Psychology I
SOCI 205-3 Sociology of the Family
Plus any 1 University Credit and/or SSW Elective

SSW 296-3 Social Policies
SSW 290-3 Community Development
PSYC 202-3 Developmental Psychology II
SOCI 206-3 The Family in Cross Cultural Perspective
Plus any 2 University Credits and/or SSW Electives

SSW 298-3 Social Service Worker Practicum II

Career Opportunities 

Opportunities for graduates from this program include child and youth workers, financial assistance workers, teacher assistants, support workers, family resource workers, and more. Students who complete the diploma level may wish to continue their education in order to go on into professional careers in human and social services such as: social worker, family counsellor, probation officer, corrections officer, college counsellor or any other professional position in the human service field. All successfully completed university credit courses in the program are transferable.

Under the collaborative agreement between UNBC and Northwest Community College, students who have completed the Social Service Worker Diploma program are eligible to receive credit as determined under the agreement. UNBC's Bachelor of Social Work Degree can be obtained at UNBC's Terrace Campus. The University of Victoria awards, on an individual basis, additional transfer credits for a SSW diploma or certificate. 

Admission Requirements 

Certificate Program

Admission to this program is on a course-by-course basis. Applicants to this program must meet the prerequisites for the individual courses in which they wish to enrol.

Grade 12 is recommended. Applicants with English 12 or First People’s English 12 , ENGL 050, ENGL 055 or satisfactory placement on the CAT 3 test will meet the prerequisites for SSW 112. 

All students admitted to the SSW Certificate program will be required to take the CAT 3 English Assessment test.

For SSW 191, in addition to this English prerequisite, applicants must also supply:

  • Two reference forms from an employer, volunteer supervisor, teacher or human service professional, attesting to the applicant's personal suitability for work in human services; a work/volunteer experience resumé and a written statement describing career goals, special interests and reasons for seeking entrance to the program; Download the SSW reference form here
  • Documentation of a minimum of 45 hours of satisfactory work or volunteer experience in a human service agency related to the training program within the last three years; Download Example forms here Hazelton example, Smithers example, Terrace example
  • Students should be aware that a Criminal Record Search is required before they can obtain a practicum placement and that the presence of certain crimes on the record would make practicum placement, graduation and subsequent employment impossible. (CRS may take up to eight weeks.) For more information regarding the Criminal Record Check, please visit:
  • Completed criminal record check as per the Criminal Record Review Act.

Applicants planning to apply to a School of Social Work (e.g. UNBC or UVic) or Child and Youth Care should consult with that university in order to take the appropriate university credit electives.

Diploma Program

  • Successful completion of a certificate in a social service worker program or related certificate with the completion of SSW 112 and SSW 113.
  • Diploma students must complete a criminal record search as per the Provincial Criminal Record Review Act.

Applicants planning to apply to a School of Social Work (e.g. UNBC or UVic) or Child and Youth Care should consult with that university in order to take the appropriate university credit electives.

Dates and Locations 

The SSW program is offered at the Terrace campus. The start date for the Fall 2016 Semester is September 6, 2016. 

**Select courses will be offered face to face at the Hazelton Campus starting in November 2016. Courses may be held on Saturdays. 

Contact an Educational Advisor or Marja Burrows, the Program Coordinator for more information.

Program Fees 
FEES Full Time (37 Credits)
Tuition: $3312.24
*Student Association Fee: $95.22
*Canadian Federation of Students Fee: $26.46
Technology Fee: $141.34
Registration Fee: $71.04
Infrastructure Fee: $21.09
Graduation Fee:  $19.98
**Books: $1,660.00
**Supplies/Clothing: $250.00
**Fieldwork/Practicum: $250.00
Total: $5,847.37

For a PDF of the 2016/2017 International Tuition and Fees, please click here

Fees are effective as of August 2, 2016
*These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.
**Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending on courses taken and location of practicum.