1. How long does it take for my application to be processed?

The application process is completed when the applicant has successfully submitted all of the documents required and has paid the application fee of $100. The application will then go before the Board of Examiners for approval.

2. What if an employer says I don’t have to be registered to do my job?

An employer is free to set any job requirements for hiring; they can choose which qualifications they consider necessary, or preferred. However, the employer cannot decide that a qualified social worker whose work falls within the scope of practice does not have to be registered.

If you have social work credentials and are practicing in Nova Scotia within the scope of practice, you must be registered with the College. This is required by provincial legislation (i.e. the Social Workers Act).

3. Is there a difference between a Child Abuse Registry Check and a Vulnerable Sector Check?

The Vulnerable Sector Check is different from a Child Abuse Registry Check.

  • The Vulnerable Sector Check is requested via local police service. It combines a police information check plus a national check for records of sexual offences (including pardons). These checks are generally intended to protect members of the public who may be vulnerable due to age, disability, or other circumstances.
  • The Child Abuse Register in Nova Scotia specifically records those who have harmed children in the province. These checks must be requested via the Department of Community Services. NSCSW requires that all applicants do a Child Abuse Registry Check or equivalent, whether they will be working with children or not.

If you reside elsewhere in Canada, forms may be made available through your province’s child welfare agency or government department.

If you have never lived in Nova Scotia, and your province or country of origin does not offer a Child Abuse Registry Check or equivalent, please note this clearly in your application and provide a Vulnerable Sector Check (or equivalent) instead.

4. If I am an international social worker trying to get registered in Nova Scotia as a social worker; what must I have before I can be registered?

A person coming from another country must have their credentials assessed. The Canadian Association of Social Workers offers for a fee the evaluation of international social work degrees in addition to other programs that fall within the same category.  The application and additional information can be found here.

Once your credentials have been approved along with your application, the NSCSW will require a document confirming the assessment was approved.

5. What is Temporary or Courtesy registration?

Temporary registration is provided to an applicant who, because of an employment opportunity, requires immediate registration in Nova Scotia. For up to 30 days a temporary registration can be provided to an applicant already registered and living in another province.

The applicant must provide all the required documents and pay all required fees before a temporary registration can be issued. Temporary registration is only provided when an applicant requires registration and can’t wait until the next meeting of the Board of Examiners.

6. What are the fees for registration or license renewal?

It depends! See our registration fees page for our current fee schedule.

Registrants may have their fees reduced during their first year of registration if they are a recent graduate, or if they joined the College after the first quarter of the year.

Inactive/associate registrants pay 50% of the regular registration fee. Registrants may apply for associate registration status if:

  • They are eligible for active status.
  • They are not in default of any obligations to the College.
  • They are not practicing social work in Nova Scotia on January 1 of the renewal year.
    • reasons may include but are not limited to: maternity, paternity or parental leave; long-term disability; long term leave of absence; return to school; inability to secure social work employment; residing out of province; retirement from a social work position.

If an associate intends to resume practicing they need to contact the College first to update their status to active and pay the remainder of the fee for that year. Visit the registration fees page to see the tables with our current fees.

7. How often does the Board of Examiners meet?

The Board of Examiners meets eleven times a year — about once per month, with one month off (usually July or August). These meetings are usually on the third Wednesday of the month.

8. What payment methods are available to me?

You can pay online at the time when applying for registration, or you can call us with a credit card and we will pay the fee manually for you. You can also send us a check or money order.

9. By what means can I send my documents?

Your transcript(s) must be received by NSCSW directly from the University in a sealed envelope.

We also require original copies of your criminal record check and child abuse registry search. These can be mailed or dropped off at the office. We are able to witness your originals and return these to you if needed.

Your resume, job description, and references need to be uploaded to your online profile directly.

10. What is the NSCSW policy on returning original documents?

The NSCSW can witness and return your criminal record check and child abuse registry search. Transcripts received from universities become property of the NSCSW.

11. What is a Social Worker Candidate?

A Social Worker Candidate is a status of registration where the registrant has to undertake a period of structured mentorship with an experienced social worker. Candidates are supported as they develop a professional identity, explore ethical issues and professional concerns related to their practice experience, integrate theory and practice, develop self-awareness, and refine a unique practice framework. Candidates gain valuable support through regular, structured, and documented meetings with their mentor, while completing at least 2500 hours of experience in social work practice.

Detailed information for current and prospective candidates and mentors can be found on our candidacy website. You will also find the NSCSW By-Laws, the NSCSW Regulations, the NSCSW Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.