If you enjoy helping other people and improving society as a whole, Social Work might be the right career for you. However, just having a kind heart and the passion for helping people is not enough to become a Social Worker. There are certain requirements that you need to know about in order to become a Social Worker in Ontario.
What is Social Work?
According to the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), Social Work is a profession that aims to help individuals, families, groups and communities to improve their individual and collective well-being. Social Workers provide help to people’s personal issues as well as dealing with broader social concerns such as poverty, unemployment and domestic violence.
What Do Social Workers Do?
Social Workers work in a variety of settings and their duties vary accordingly. They may work in family services agencies, children’s aid agencies, general and psychiatric hospitals, school boards, correctional institutions, health and community services centres, or federal and provincial departments.
Social Workers in health and community services centres, for example, may offer counselling for individuals or families, help seniors with day-to-day tasks, or assist with parent-child relationships. Social Workers can also provide support for individuals that are feeling stressed or overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a primary caregiver for a loved one.
Requirements to Become a Social Worker in Ontario
In order to become a Social Worker in Ontario, you need to obtain a Bachelor of Social Work, which means four years of post-secondary education. Some companies also require having a Master of Social Work, which will take either one or two years of additional post-graduate education. A lot of universities in Ontario provide Social Work programs, all of which have been accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).
After getting a degree, you’ll need to join a provincial regulatory body in order to become a regulated Social Worker; in this case, it’s the Ontario Colleges of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). You can only refer to yourself as a “Social Worker” or a “Registered Social Worker” and legally practice Social Work in Ontario after becoming a member of the OCSWSSW.
Social Worker Salaries
According to Job Bank Canada, Social Workers in Ontario typically get paid $20.63 to $47.00 per hour, with $34.86 being the median. Annually, this would be a range of about $42k to $97k, with a median of $72k.
The salary of a Social Worker varies depending on the organization/business and where in Ontario they are working. For instance, the demand for Social Workers in Toronto may differ from that in Oakville or Thunder Bay, hence the differences in salary rates. Some Social Workers also work part time – for example, visiting clients in their homes – and companies may offer payment on a per-visit basis.
Where to Find Social Worker Jobs
When it comes to finding Social Worker jobs, a good source is the Ontario Association of Social Workers, which only lists jobs for Social Workers. You could also look for Social Work jobs on popular career websites like Indeed, Monster, or LinkedIn, or use CharityVillage to find Social Worker jobs and volunteer positions. One tip while searching for opportunities on CharityVillage is to use their Advanced Search function, where you can choose Social Work as your only job category.
Another way to find Social Worker jobs is by researching companies directly. For example, if you want to work in children aid’s agencies, you can start researching agencies in you region and see if they are hiring Social Workers. You can either look at their careers page, or contact their Human Resources department directly. Job fairs can also be a good place to look for jobs and build connections with agencies and other Social Workers in your community.
At Closing the Gap Healthcare, we’re frequently hiring Social Workers in community-based settings throughout Ontario. To see if there are any open positions near you, visit our Careers page.