Eligibility

If you are currently functioning in a social work role but do not have a university degree in social work from an accredited or MCSW-approved social work program, you may be eligible for registration via the “Substantial Equivalency” route of entry.

Becoming registered via the Substantial Equivalency (SE) route of entry is a multi-step process based on relevant sections of The Social Work Profession Act and its Regulation.  The legislation requires that an applicant in this category has a combination of education or training, or both, and work or volunteer experience that, in the opinion of the Registrar, qualifies the person for registration.

Evaluation of Substantial Equivalency applications consider the extent to which the applicant is able to demonstrate his or her practical experience in the core functions of social work.   The length, quality and nature of the applicant’s practical experience must be sufficient to determine competency to practice social work.  The Registrar will have regard to:

  • the applicant’s prior practice of social work in Manitoba or elsewhere;
  • the applicant’s theoretical knowledge of social work as a basis for his or her practice, including sociology, psychology and human development, social work theories and types of social work practice, and knowledge of any specialist areas of social work;
  • the applicant’s educational qualifications relevant to social work;
  • the extent to which the applicant has participated in regular training and professional development relevant to social work;
  • the extent to which the applicant is able to demonstrate his or her familiarity with culturally relevant knowledge for practicing social work with respect to Indigenous Peoples or other cultural groups,
    • which may include knowledge of historical events and trends of social, economic and political change involving ethnic or cultural groups in Manitoba,
    • cultural and social characteristics of individuals, families and communities, including matters related to cultural identity and helping,
    • preparations that are necessary for working with individuals, families and groups of a different ethnic or cultural background, and
    • the unique work carried out by ethnic and cultural organizations within their own communities.

An assessment of applicants’ current and past employment, formal education and theoretical knowledge of social work will be completed to determine whether the registration criteria have been met.

Evaluation of Substantial Equivalency applicants will include the following elements, as required by The Social Work Profession Act, its Regulation and the policies of the Manitoba College of Social Workers.

Social Work Practice Experience

A review of an applicant’s current and former employment/volunteer work will assess the following:

  • applicant is currently functioning in the role of a Social Worker
  • total verified hours of employment/volunteer work meets the minimum requirement of 5600 social work practice hours within 5 years immediately prior to application date
  • applicant has demonstrated that the length, quality and nature of his/her practical experience is sufficient to determine competency to practice social work
  • applicant has demonstrated his/her familiarity with culturally relevant knowledge with regard to social work with indigenous people and other cultural groups and,
  • applicant has practiced social work safely, competently and ethically

If you are a grandparented member in good standing with the College and wish to apply for a general Certificate of Practice through the Substantial Equivalency route of entry, please contact the College directly.  If you remain in the same position previously approved by the College, submission of employer confirmation of 5600 practice hours in that position in the last five years is the only requirement for this phase of the application.

Formal Social Work Related Education

A review of applicants’ formal post-secondary educational qualifications and the extent to which they are social work-related will be completed using the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) Curriculum Learning Objectives and the content categories as follows:

  1. Requirements
    1. An applicant must possess a minimum of a university-level Bachelor degree based on a norm of a four year degree program (or three years in Quebec) with a minimum of 40% course credits in the liberal arts, humanities and social sciences.
    2. Included in the degree, or in some combination of acceptable education and training obtained outside of the degree, there must be specific social work content assessed to be minimally equivalent to 60 credit hours of undergraduate university-level courses.  Courses are assessed based on five social work content areas and twelve sub-areas established on the basis of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) Standards for Accreditation, 2014.  Each course submitted for evaluation is eligible to fulfil the requirements of only one sub-area.
    3. Diploma/certificate programs may be submitted for consideration to meet the requirement of one sub-area provided that the diploma/certificate programs cover essential theoretical and practical social work content and are assessed to be comparable to a university-level education.
    4. In the event that courses are submitted from a program for which a degree was not conferred, each course must meet the minimum pass grade established by the program in which it was completed in order for the course to be considered.
  2. Content Areas 
  1. Social Work Theory
    • Social work, social welfare history and social policy (6 credit hours)
    • The origins and dimensions of social problems in Canadian society (6 credit hours)
    • Social work’s origins, purposes and practices (6 credit hours)
  2. The Social Work Profession
    • Application of social work values and ethics in professional situations (6 credit hours)
    • Practice methods and professional skills required for generalist practice at a beginning level of competence (6 credit hours)
    • Awareness of self in terms of values, beliefs and experiences as these impact upon social work knowledge and practice (3 credit hours)
    • Understanding of other related professions to facilitate inter-professional collaboration (3 credit hours)
  3. Social Justice, Human Rights and Awareness of Oppression
    • Practicing sensitively in a range of geographical regions and with diverse ethnic, cultural and racial populations (3 credit hours)
    • Practicing with oppressed/marginalized groups (3 credit hours)
  4. Critical Thinking and Analysis
    • Human development and behaviour in the social environment (6 credit hours)
    • Multiple theoretical and conceptual bases of social work knowledge and practice (6 credit hours)
  5. Research/Inquiry
    • Research and critical evaluation related to social work knowledge and practice (6 credit hours)

Theoretical Social Work Knowledge

Applicants assessed to have met the Practice Experience and Education criteria will be approved to write the Association of Social Work Boards Associate Exam, to be written at their own expense.  Successful completion of the exam will satisfy the legislative requirement that the applicant demonstrates adequate theoretical social work knowledge to function as a Social Worker in the province of Manitoba.

Application Process

To start the application process, please follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Expiry periods for Substantial Equivalency applications are as follows:

Step 1: Complete within 6 months of submission of initial application date
Step 2: Complete within 3 months of approval of social work practice hours
Step 3: Complete within 3 months of approval of social work related education

STEP 1: APPLICATION & REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

To begin your application click below:
Applicant Portal

The final page of the Online Application Form is the non-refundable application fee payment of $100.  You must pay online by Visa, MasterCard or Visa/Debit.

Additional costs related to your Substantial Equivalency application include ASWB examination fees as follows: exam fee – $230 USD (required), practice test – $85 USD (optional), exam guide – $15-20 USD (optional).

The Online Application Form and all required documentation must be submitted to complete your application package and begin the evaluation process. If additional information is required, you will be contacted by the College Office.

The College encourages applicants to use the Applicant Portal to review the progress of document submission. Once all documents have been received, the application evaluation process takes 4 to 6 weeks.

Notification of Step approvals will be sent by email to the applicant.  Payment of the registration fee is required within 30 days of the approval date.  Please CLICK HERE for fee information.

Step 1 incomplete applications will expire 6 months from the date the Online Application Form was submitted.

*Professional Liability Insurance is required for members in the Practicing category.  If you do not hold professional liability insurance, you will have 14 days to obtain it after your application is approved.  For more information CLICK HERE.

Submit the following documentation to the College Office. Please note documents may be submitted together or as they become available.

Please note that the logging of submitted documents into the applicant portal can take up to 10 business days.

  • Copy of Government-issued photo ID – driver’s license or passport (or other photo ID which includes birthdate – email to admin@mcsw.ca)
    • Please submit a copy of proof of name change (if applicable) to admin@mcsw.ca
  • Original Record Checks – must be mailed to the College or dropped off in person.  If you would like the originals returned, please include a note.  (If original Self-Checks conducted within the last 6 months are on file with your employer, please contact MCSW at 204-888-9477)
    • Criminal Record Check including Vulnerable Sector Search (completed within previous 6 months of application). Criminal record checks from the RCMP or local Police Stations outside of Winnipeg are also accepted if they include the Vulnerable Sector Search. Note: Records Checks from myBackCheck.com are NOT accepted.  Applicants who currently reside or have resided outside of Canada within the last twelve months must also provide a criminal record check based on a nationwide search from the appropriate law enforcement agency in that country
    • Manitoba Child Abuse Registry Self-Check (completed within previous 6 months of application)
    • Manitoba Adult Abuse Registry Self-Check (completed within previous 6 months of application)
  • Verification of Registration and Licensure for Social Work Regulators (for applicants currently or previously registered in another province)
  • Verification of Registration and Licensure for Other Regulators (for applicants currently or previously registered in another profession)
  • Verification of Legal Entitlement to Work in Canada is required if not a Canadian citizen
    • Permanent Resident card, Work Permit – send scan to admin@mcsw.ca

SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE HOURS & VERIFICATION OF PRACTICE HOURS

Complete the Substantial Equivalency Application Part II – Employment Information form. Submit by fax, email or regular mail to the College office.

    • Applicant’s must arrange submission of Employer Verification Form(s) by their employer(s) please click here for more information. Submission must include formal job description valid at the time the applicant was functioning in the position.  The employer verification form will be sent to the employer from the College, but it is the applicant’s responsibility to check in with their reference to confirm the employer verification document has been completed and returned to the College within the 6 month application timeframe.

AWAIT APPROVAL FROM MCSW PRIOR TO MOVING TO STEP 3

You will receive written communication from the College that your Part II – Employment Information has been reviewed.  If your employment meets the approval criteria, you will be invited to move to Step 2.

Step 2 – EDUCATION

Complete the Substantial Equivalency Application Part III – Formal Education form. Submit by fax, email or regular mail to the College office.

  • Official sealed transcript(s) verifying social work-related education required  (must be sent directly from institution to the College Office)
  • Course syllabi required.  Dates on syllabi and/or course descriptions must be consistent with the term during which the course was completed
  • Official course descriptions may be substituted for courses completed more than 10 years ago only in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the registrar (i.e. international academic institution no longer operating)

Incomplete applications cannot be evaluated.  

AWAIT APPROVAL FROM MCSW PRIOR TO MOVING TO STEP 3

You will receive written communication from the College that your Part III – Formal Education documentation has been reviewed.  If your formal social work-related education meets the approval criteria, you will be invited to move to Step 4.

Step 3 – EXAMINATION

Complete the Substantial Equivalency Application Part IV – ASWB Exam.

Download the MCSW Exam Use Policy

FINAL EVALUATION

The College will complete the final evaluation of your application following receipt of your ASWB examination results.  Notification of an approved application for registration will be sent by email to the applicant.  If approved for registration, payment of the registration fee is required within 30 days of the approval date.  Please CLICK HERE for fee information.