Clinical Registration

Welcome to the Clinical Specialist Registration Guide

Engaging in clinical social work services as a private practitioner requires additional authorization from the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers (NSCSW) Board of Examiners. This webpage is your comprehensive guide to navigating the process of applying for registration as a clinical social work specialist in Nova Scotia.

Flowchart illustrates NSCSW's application pathways for clinical specialization, as explained in detail within the clinical specialist registration guide. The most straightforward pathway is for RSW applicants who completed all academic requirements while obtaining an MSW degree and already have 1800 hours of clinical practice experience. However, applicants who have only partially completed these requirements have alternative pathways open to them.

Please note that the prior application process for private practitioners will run in parallel until the end of 2024. Any clinical social work practitioners who have been preparing to meet the old requirements will have months to complete their application process within that framework. However, that process can no longer be completed in the online member portal; if you need to complete a private practice application or check its status, please contact

Non-clinical private practice no longer needs special Board of Examiners authorization at all; RSWs and SWCs can pursue non-clinical self-employment in Nova Scotia as long as their NSCSW registration is in good standing and they possess the required competence.

Defining private practice

Section 2(j) of the Social Workers Act defines “private practice” as “the provision of social work services by a person who is self-employed as determined by the Board.” The Board of Examiners defines self-employment as the provision of the social work services set out at section 5A of the Act in which the social worker:

  • is solely responsible for the liability of their practice; and
  • bills a client or client affiliated organization for the provision of those services.

Any social worker registered with NSCSW may engage in non-clinical private practice, but must obtain Board of Examiners authorization via the process on this page before beginning self-employment as a clinical practitioner.

It is important to note that some organizations will recruit social workers as contractors rather than hire them as employees. Understand the distinction and be sure of your status.

  • If an organization hires you as a contractor and you aren’t considered an employee of the organization, you aren’t covered for liability by their insurance, and you are billing for services, then clinical specialist registration is required before you practice clinical social work in that setting.
  • If you’re an employee of an organization and they provide supervision and liability insurance coverage, and are paying you a salary or hourly wage rather than a fee for service, then clinical specialist registration is not yet required.

If you aren’t sure whether the role you’re considering would require clinical specialist registration, please contact the Registrar to discuss your circumstances.

Exploring your options

Whether you’re contemplating the transition to private practice or looking to deepen your expertise in clinical social work, understanding the requirements and processes set by the NSCSW is crucial. As you embark on this exciting path, this webpage aims to equip you with all the necessary information and resources to successfully apply for clinical specialist registration and make informed decisions about your career in social work.

For those exploring the potential of private practice, the “Is private practice for me?” section of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Private Practice Portal offers valuable insights for any social worker considering self-employment. It delves into the advantages and challenges of this career path, provides glimpses into the daily life of a private practitioner, and aids in self-assessment to determine if private practice aligns with your professional goals and lifestyle.

Additionally, for a first-hand account of transitioning into private practice in Nova Scotia, we recommend reading “Lessons learned: My journey into private practice” by Heidi Sturgeon, RSW, featured in Connection magazine. This article offers personal insights and experiences from a Nova Scotia-based private practitioner, enriching your understanding of what to expect and how to navigate your own journey into private practice.

Understanding the clinical social work specialization

Clinical social work is characterized by its:

  • comprehensive assessments in mental health, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis situations, taking into account the individual’s unique social context;
  • utilization of research-based therapeutic methods informed by bio-psycho-social-spiritual principles, ensuring cultural relevance;
  • direct engagement with individuals, couples, families, and groups to navigate complex challenges affecting personal and communal well-being;
  • foundation in the core principles of social work, including a steadfast commitment to human rights and social justice; and
  • collaborative approach to initiating and implementing tailored intervention plans to achieve client-specific goals.

Requirements for clinical social work specialization

Applicants need to fulfill specific criteria related to education, experience, and supervision. Please note, only Registered Social Workers who have successfully completed all registration requirements, including their Candidacy Mentorship Program period, are eligible.

Further requirements that must be met to be approved as a Clinical Social Work Specialist include:

  • Earn a Master of Social Work degree from an accredited school or demonstrate substantial equivalency through graduate-level academic coursework and practice experience.
  • Complete 12 academic credits from an accredited social work program or equivalent professional development that aligns with the course requirements identified by the Board of Examiners.
  • Fulfill 1800 hours of supervised practice experience in a clinical setting.
  • Complete 24 hours of clinical social work supervision.
  • Undergo an assessment of clinical abilities conducted by a clinical social work supervisor.

Academic credit requirements

Applicants must complete 12 academic credit hours, equivalent to four academic half-credit courses, aligned with clinical social work specialization. Of these credits, six must be completed at the Master of Social Work (MSW) level.

The coursework should focus on:

  • Understanding the conceptual, historical, political, gender, and societal factors that influence values, beliefs, and practices regarding mental health, well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis services and systems from a bio-psycho-social and spiritual perspective.
  • Assessment within persons, families, and communities dealing with mental health, well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis, with a strong emphasis on human development and social behaviour.
  • Therapy and research-based service modalities, focusing on developing the abilities required to support individuals, families, and communities affected by mental health, well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis.
  • A practicum in a clinical setting where the direct provision of the clinical scope is utilized in the service for mental health, well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis issues.

To demonstrate completion of the academic coursework, applicants must upload the course syllabuses. If a course syllabus is unavailable, you must outline the objectives of the course and sign an undertaking indicating you have completed the course.

Demonstrating equivalency to academic requirements

Applicants who have not met or partially met the academic requirements will be able to demonstrate equivalency through the NSCSW registration portal when you apply. Here, you can outline 432 hours of informal and formal training that aligns with the objectives of the required academic courses.

Provision for applicants with incomplete requirements

If you haven’t met the supervision and/or practice hour requirements, you may still receive authorization to practice clinical social work in a private practice setting. However, you will have “restrictions to complete supervision.” These restrictions will be visible on your public profile until you complete the required supervision and practice experience.

Additional information & interviews

The Board of Examiners may request an interview or additional information if your application is inadequate or inconclusive in determining your suitability for the clinical social work specialization.

Malpractice liability insurance

Before you engage in the private practice of a clinical social work specialization, you must provide evidence of suitable malpractice liability insurance coverage.

Understanding the role of clinical supervision in social work

Clinical supervision plays a key role in the professional development of social workers. It focuses on enhancing the practitioner’s skills, knowledge, abilities, and regulation to grow their clinical expertise.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who can be a clinical supervisor?

To qualify as a clinical supervisor, one must be a Registered Social Worker in good standing with NSCSW or another legislated regulatory body. They should have at least three years of experience in clinical social work and demonstrate competencies in clinical supervision.

What skills should supervisors have?

Clinical supervisors should possess knowledge and skills in various modalities aligned with the scope of practice outlined in NSCSW By-laws. Effective supervision requires a comprehensive understanding of supervision principles, the ability to address the strengths and challenges of supervisees, model ethical practice, and provide support and encouragement.

Clinical supervisors should also familiarize themselves with NSCSW’s Clinical Supervision Guidelines; this document contains guidance for both supervisors and supervisees.

The role of clinical supervisors

Active participation is crucial in developing specialized clinical skills. Supervisors play a vital role in:

  • Assessing satisfactory levels in assessments
  • Enhancing relational abilities such as engaging with clients using empathy and dialogue
  • Focusing critically on social context and oppression
  • Collaborating with other professionals
  • Advocating for access to services
  • Encouraging reflexivity including self-awareness, agency, and knowledge of human social behavior & skills
  • Promoting collective responsibility by using critical thinking for policies that advance rights and justice

Supervisor reporting procedure

If you’re an applicant who has previously practiced in a clinical setting and have accumulated 1800 hours of practice experience along with 24 hours of clinical supervision, your supervisor will be required to complete an online assessment of your clinical abilities.

However, if your supervision hours are not yet completed, you should create an online plan detailing how you intend to fulfill these hours. Once you’ve completed the 1800 hours of practice experience and 24 hours of clinical supervision, your supervisor can then finalize their assessment of your clinical abilities online.

Title usage

Social workers approved by the Board of Examiners as clinical specialists in private practice will now be entitled to use specific designations that reflect their specialized qualifications. These titles include “RSW – Clinical Specialist” or “TSR – Spécialiste clinique”

Provisional approval

For applicants who have been provisionally approved, there is a requirement to indicate their provisional status alongside their title. This means they should use “RSW – Clinical Specialist (Provisional)” or “TSR – Spécialiste clinique (provisoire)”

Application procedure

Step 1: Application tab for Registered Social Workers

Once you’re recognized as a Registered Social Worker, a new tab will appear in your member portal titled “Apply for Clinical Specialization.” This is your gateway to begin the application process.

Step 2: MSW or substantial equivalency routes

You will be asked to select an option from the drop-down menu that aligns with your educational background. Your selection here will guide the next steps of your application process:

Step 3A: Clinical course requirements

For applicants who have selected “Completed Master of Social Work” in Step 2, this step is crucial for your progression:

As part of your application for clinical specialization, you are required to demonstrate your knowledge in four key areas through relevant coursework. Below you will find detailed instructions on how to fill out the provided chart with your course requirements. Each knowledge area is critical for ensuring a comprehensive understanding and ability to practice within the clinical social work field.

Knowledge areas overview

  1. Knowledge 1: Understanding of the conceptual, historical, political, gender, and societal influences on values, beliefs, and practices concerning mental health and well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis services from a bio-psycho-social and spiritual perspective.
  2. Knowledge 2: Skills in assessment with individuals, families, and communities concerning mental health and well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis, with a significant emphasis on human development and social behavior.
  3. Knowledge 3: Proficiency in therapy and research-based modalities of service that involve working with individuals, families, and communities, focusing on developing abilities to support those affected by mental health and well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis.
  4. Knowledge 4: Completion of a practicum in a clinical setting where the clinical scope is directly utilized in providing service for issues related to mental health and well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis.

Filling out the chart

To accurately complete the application chart, please follow these steps:

  • Knowledge Areas: Select the relevant knowledge area from the dropdown menu.
  • Completed Course: Indicate whether you have completed an academic course covering the selected knowledge area by choosing ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ from the dropdown menu.
  • Degree Level: Select the level of the degree under which the course was taken from the dropdown menu.
  • Academic Institution: Choose your academic institution from an existing dropdown list of accredited institutions.
  • Course Description: Provide a brief description of the course in the provided text box. This should include key topics covered and how it relates to the selected knowledge area.
  • Upload Syllabus: While not required, uploading the course syllabus can provide additional support for your application. This option allows you to attach relevant documentation directly.

After filling in the required information for each course, click the ‘Add’ button to populate the table. You can repeat this process for each course that meets the knowledge area requirements.

Demonstrating substantial equivalency for coursework

For applicants who have not fully met the academic course requirements for clinical specialization in social work, there is an opportunity to demonstrate substantial equivalency through a combination of informal and formal professional development activities. This pathway ensures that experienced professionals with diverse educational backgrounds can still qualify for specialization based on their comprehensive training and expertise.

Addressing unmet academic requirements

If any knowledge area was marked as ‘no’ for completed coursework, a new section will appear tailored to demonstrate your substantial equivalency in these specific areas.

For those who have partially met the academic requirements, any completed coursework can be included in your equivalency demonstration. The remaining hours needed to meet the equivalency will be calculated using a ratio, where 3 course credits equate to 108 hours of informal and formal professional development.

Professional development activity & hours completed

For each knowledge area needing equivalency, detail the relevant professional development activities you have undertaken and the total hours completed. Once you have inputted 108 hours of activities for each defined knowledge base, you may proceed to the next step.

Step 3B: Demonstrating substantial equivalency to an MSW

If you are a Registered Social Worker in good standing and possess a graduate degree in a related discipline, or have substantial experience in the field of clinical social work, you may qualify for the clinical specialization through the substantial equivalency route. This alternative path recognizes the value of diverse educational backgrounds and professional experiences in contributing to the competencies required for clinical practice.

Understanding substantial equivalency

Substantial equivalency applications are evaluated to ascertain whether an applicant’s practical knowledge and experience align with the competencies typically gained through a graduate-level social work degree. The assessment focuses on the length, quality, and relevance of the applicant’s practical experience to ensure it meets the competency standards for clinical social work practice. Applicants are required to demonstrate 5200 hours of equivalent experience.

Additional fee for substantial equivalency applicants

Please note, there is an additional application fee of $350 required to process the substantial equivalency evaluation. This fee covers the comprehensive assessment of your qualifications and experiences against the standard MSW curriculum benchmarks.

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation of your application will be based on the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) curriculum learning objectives. Your formal graduate-level post-secondary educational qualifications and professional experiences will be assessed to determine their equivalence to a Master of Social Work degree.

For each of the CASWE learning objectives, you will be required to provide detailed information about your relevant activities, including:

  • Number of Activities: List the total number of professional development activities, projects, or work experiences that align with each learning objective.
  • Hours of Activities: For each activity listed, provide the total hours spent. This should reflect the depth of your engagement and learning in each area.

By submitting detailed information about your professional development and experiences, you enable the review committee to accurately assess your qualifications against the MSW equivalency criteria. This step is crucial in recognizing the full scope of your expertise and ensuring that those entering the clinical specialization possess the necessary competencies to provide high-quality social work services.

Step 4: Assessment of work experience

Demonstrating your clinical practice experience

As part of the application process for clinical specialization, it is essential for applicants to showcase a significant level of practice experience within the clinical specialization scope. This step ensures that all candidates possess the depth of knowledge and practical skills necessary to deliver high-quality social work services.

Experience requirements

Applicants must have at least 1800 hours of practice experience. This experience should encompass:

  • A comprehensive understanding and application of relevant research-based approaches.
  • The integration of bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspectives that are culturally attuned to the individual’s social context.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess and address issues related to mental health and well-being, addiction, trauma, grief/loss/illness, and crisis within diverse family, political, economic, and cultural contexts.

For applicants with less than 1800 hours

If you do not meet the 1800-hour requirement yet, you may still be eligible for provisional clinical specialization. However, you will be required to complete additional supervised training hours to achieve the necessary competency levels for this specialization.

Confirming your practice experience

You will be asked on the application form if you have completed 1800 hours of clinical practice experience. If you have, please upload the job description(s) for your clinical practice positions. This documentation is vital for the assessment of your relevant experience.

Review process

The NSCSW may conduct interviews with employers or other relevant professionals as part of the review process. Additionally, applicants may be asked to provide further information or documentation to support their application.

Step 5: Application fees

The fees to apply to the Board of Examiners for clinical specialization are as follows:

  • $50 application fee – This fee covers the initial processing and review of your application.
  • $350 additional fee for substantial equivalency assessment – For applicants pursuing the substantial equivalency route, this additional fee is required for the assessment of qualifications and experiences against the MSW curriculum benchmarks.

Step 6: Mail original documents

After submitting your online application, mail the following original documents to the College:

  • A Criminal Record Check completed within the last six months. Obtain this from your local police department or through net/nscsw.
  • A Child Abuse Registry Check from the Department of Community Services.
  • If the College does not already have your MSW, PhD, or other postgraduate transcript on file: An original transcript sent directly from your university registrar’s office to the College.

Step 7A: Assessment of clinical abilities (for applicants who have completed practice hours)

The role of professional clinical supervision

Professional clinical supervision is a cornerstone in the development of the clinical social work specialization. A supervising clinical social worker evaluates and confirms that their applicant performs at a satisfactory level across various competencies. As part of this process, you are required to identify your clinical supervisor.

Identifying your clinical supervisor

Please choose your clinical supervisor from the list provided in the member portal. The list of potential supervisors is not exhaustive; if you cannot locate your supervisor on this list, please contact the College for assistance at

The College will review your submission. Once we confirm that they are eligible, an automated email will be dispatched to you and your chosen clinical supervisor, confirming that your selection is approved by the College. The clinical supervisor will receive instructions for how to access the assessment forms.

Clinical ability assessment

As part of this evaluation process, clinical supervisors are asked to complete a clinical ability assessment. This assessment is vital in confirming the supervisee’s readiness and suitability for the role of a clinical specialist.

Instructions for clinical supervisor

The online assessment form will appear in the clinical supervisor’s member portal once they are approved by the College. The supervisor is responsible for assessing that the applicant can perform at a satisfactory level in the following areas (tap each heading to expand criteria):

  • Recognize human struggle and suffering throughout the stages of life and its impact on mental health, substance use and trauma.
  • Locate various theories of human behaviour shaped by family, social, economic, cultural, spiritual, and political structures.
  • Construct a person in environment assessment to apply and critique mental health assessments in solidarity with clients.
  • Gather and organize appropriate information to create a multidimensional bio-psycho-social assessment in a written format.
  • Formulate an understanding of the client including precipitants to the presenting problem, interpersonal dynamics, historically relevant events, and cultural influences.

  • Recognize that all individuals live in a social and relational context.
  • Demonstrate and clarify the client’s request for support, readiness for change and presenting challenges.
  • Recognize that social and relational context is always affected by, and in turn affects, the social relationships and social context in which their lives are embedded.
  • Demonstrate the importance of human relationships, which are the basis of all social work practice.
  • Effectively engage with clients collaboratively using empathy, observation, dialogue, listeningself-reflection and other interpersonal skills.
  • Develop relationships with clients that are professional, purposeful, and differential – characterized by clear boundaries.

  • Demonstrate a distinct professional ethical commitment to human rights.
  • Recognize the profound ways in which structural and cultural inequities contribute to a broad range of human troubles rooted in social oppression and marginalization.
  • Examine how poverty, sexism, racism, colonization, homophobia and ableism influence psychological and social functioning throughout the lifespan, producing anxiety, depression, substance use problems, post-traumatic stress, and use of violence.
  • Use social justice principles to focus on the social context of people’s lives – including experiences of oppression, marginalization and violence and the effect of power and powerlessness – to promote human rights in clinical goals and interventions
  • Identify how diversity and difference shape therapeutic relationships, assessment, goals and intervention in clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate anti-racism in clinical practice, integrating cultural self-awareness with knowledge of and openness to learning from clients about their own culture to guide interventions.
  • Demonstrate skills to advocate for increased access to clinical and other social services to insure protection of human rights.
  • Critique their personal experiences and affective reactions and mitigate risks that may influence their clinical practice with clients.

  • Implement effective collaborative practice where both the practitioner and the client bring knowledge to therapeutic conversations and share responsibility for the intervention to address mental health, emotional, and other behavioural issues.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to collaborate with the client to define goals within the context of the social work services.
  • Demonstrate the ability to initiate and implement intervention plans with the client to meet goals, based on appropriate clinical and human behaviour theory, research, and/or Indigenous, Afrocentric and other cultural ways of knowing.
  • Utilize clinical concepts such as transference/countertransference and differential use of self in clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other professionals as appropriate to achieve beneficial outcomes.
  • Use effective transitions and endings that promote mutually agreed-upon goals.
  • Identify the importance of inter-professional collaboration and communication, recognizing that beneficial outcomes may require interdisciplinary and inter-organizational participation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to document as in accordance with NSCSW guidelines and standards on documentation.

  • Implement a shared responsibility with clients, colleagues, organizations, and community for creating a strong, connected, and supportive society that enhances the well-being of persons in their environment, inclusive of principles of social justice and human rights.
  • Weigh how social policies influence the delivery of, and client access to, social services.
  • Use critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policy changes that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

  • Demonstrate ‘reflexivity’ through the development of self-awareness and agency to take an active role in the knowledge-making process.
  • Examine how theory and practice are used to make sense of ambiguous and complex situations in practice.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of human social behaviour and knowledge and skills related to mental health, substance use and trauma for effective clinical interventions with individuals, families, couples, and groups.
  • Use a process based on research in and that is culturally relevant to identify and apply effective clinical interventions for populations, problems and settings.
  • Implement practice experience in the development of new knowledge through participation in research.
  • Use research methodology from multi-disciplinary sources to evaluate clinical practice effectiveness and/or outcomes.
  • Demonstrate self-reflection and self-regulation in clinical practice.
  • Actively engage in supervision, collaboratively setting an agenda and demonstrating openness to feedback regarding professional strengths and challenges.
  • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make ethical decisions in clinical practice using NSCSW Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and other relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, and consultation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and professionally in a timely manner, in both writing and speech.
  • Select and use appropriate methods to monitor and evaluate outcomes.
  • Use evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness.
  • Demonstrate ability to document client progress in agency records as required by agency.

Method of Assessment: Choose the most appropriate method(s) to assess the professional competence of the supervisee. Options include:

  • Direct observation of real-world performance.
  • Simulations that replicate professional scenarios.
  • Dialogue between supervisor and supervisee to discuss core abilities.
  • Other (please specify).
  • Have not assessed.

Applicant’s Demonstrated Ability: Indicate the level of ability demonstrated by the applicant:

  • Demonstrated ability.
  • Partially demonstrated ability.
  • Has not demonstrated ability.

Supervisor Comments: Provide additional comments or observations regarding the supervisee’s strengths and weaknesses.

Once the assessment form is completed and the declaration confirmed, please click “Submit Assessment” to have it reviewed by the College.

Step 7B: Learning plan (for applicants who have not yet completed practice hours)

If you have not completed 1800 hours of practice experience at the time of your application review, do not worry. Your application will go to the Board of Examiners for review. Once this is completed you will receive a notification informing you that you are authorized to practice as a clinical specialist provisionally. This provisional status allows you to continue gaining valuable practice experience while working towards meeting the full requirements for clinical specialization.

Identifying your clinical supervisor

Active participation in professional clinical supervision is core to the development of a clinical social work specialist’s skills, values and knowledge. Your supervisor will be responsible for assessing that you can perform the requisite skills at a satisfactory level.

Please choose your clinical supervisor from the list provided in the member portal. The list of potential supervisors is not exhaustive; if you cannot locate your supervisor on this list, please contact the College for assistance at

The College will review your submission. Once we confirm that they are eligible, an automated email will be dispatched to you and your chosen clinical supervisor, confirming that your selection is approved by the College.

Developing a learning plan

Once you approved provisionally you are required to complete a learning plan for the next 1800 hours of your practice. A tab titled “Clinical Specialization Learning Plan” will appear in your online member portal.

An email notification will be sent to your clinical supervisor, inviting them to review and contribute to your learning goals.

Once your learning plan receives approval from NSCSW staff, the process transitions to the clinical assessment protocol.

Step 8: Assessment & decision process

When your clinical ability assessment is complete, the Executive Director/Registrar will undertake a thorough review of your application. Based on this evaluation, one of three actions will be recommended to the Board of Examiners:

  1. Approval recommendation: The applicant meets all the requirements and is recommended for approval for the clinical social work specialization.
  2. Approval with restrictions: The applicant is recommended for approval with specific restrictions to complete additional practice experience and supervision requirements.
  3. Full Board assessment: The application requires a more detailed assessment by the full Board of Examiners.


After considering the Executive Director/Registrar’s assessment, the Board of Examiners has the following options:

  • Approve the application: Grant the applicant clinical social work specialization.
  • Approve with conditions or restrictions: Approve the application subject to certain conditions or restrictions.
  • Request more information: The Board of Examiners holds the authority to delve deeper into an application if necessary. This may involve:
    • conducting an interview with the applicant, or
    • requesting further information or clarification on elements of the application that are unclear, inadequate, or inconclusive in determining the applicant’s suitability for clinical social work specialization.
  • Deny the application: Refuse the application for private practice registration.


Applicants will receive a written notification detailing the Board’s decision. This notice will include reasons for any denial or imposition of conditions/restrictions. Additionally, applicants will be informed about their right to seek a review of the decision by the Registration Appeal Committee.

Right to review

Should an applicant wish to contest the Board’s decision, they have 30 days from the receipt of the decision to request a review by the Registration Appeal Committee. Applicants must outline the grounds for their review request and pay any applicable fees associated with this process.

Authorization to practice

Only Registered Social Workers who have been authorized by the NSCSW Board of Examiners can independently provide clinical services as private practitioners within the realm of clinical social work specializations in Nova Scotia. This rigorous assessment and decision process ensures that those entering the field of clinical social work meet the highest standards of professionalism, knowledge, and skill, safeguarding the well-being of those they serve.


Application for clinical specialization is a new process for NSCSW as of spring 2024. If you have difficulty applying, or have questions about the status of your application, please let our registrar know:


Telephone: (902) 429-7799 x 224