Social Worker Candidates (SWC) are registered through the College to practice social work within the scope of practice as defined by the Social Workers Act. These members:

  • have obtained a degree in social work from an an accredited school of social work;
  • have met the requirements of the Act and have been approved by the Board of Examiners for registration as a candidate; and
  • are required to complete 2500 hours of practice experience with the support of a mentor before using the protected title of Registered Social Worker.

A candidacy mentor must be an experienced RSW who has been approved by NSCSW.

Mentorship, support, and structure

The Candidacy Mentorship Program (CMP) ensures that new graduates have the skills, competence, and good character to practice social work in Nova Scotia.

The mentorship process is designed to decrease professional stress and provide the candidate with nurturing conditions that complement their success and encourage self-efficacy. Mentorship is underscored by a climate of safety and trust, where candidates can develop their sense of professional identity. The process is distinct from administrative supervision that social workers commonly receive from their employer.

Candidates receive clear support and structure through regular meetings with their mentors. All candidacy reports are digital and attached to the candidate’s member profile with the College. The program includes a framework for monitoring and evaluation, and constructive feedback on the learning agreement and reports is provided.

  • Candidates must complete 2500 hours of social work practice experience
    • up to 500 hours from volunteer experience within the scope of practice can be included
  • Candidates must normally complete their candidacy hours within a five-year period.
  • Candidates must start the candidacy process within six months after registering with the College.
  • Candidates must complete at least 32 hours of meetings with their mentor.
    • Candidates working full-time hours are expected to meet with their mentor for two hours per month.
    • For part-time employment, the expectation is a one-hour meeting each month.
    • No more than two meeting hours each month can count towards the total for this mentorship requirement.
  • Candidates must complete three reports – a learning agreement, a midterm report, and a final report.

This program was revamped in 2019 and a CMP website was launched as a resource designed to support candidates and mentors throughout the program:

The CMP website includes activities, resources and learning objective examples. The website also offers an optional online course for mentors, to support them in developing their mentorship skills.


If you have questions about candidacy, contact the College’s Regulatory & Candidacy Consultant, Valerie Heard, at

You may also find detailed information about every stage of the CMP and candidacy at

Candidates who were enrolled in the old candidacy model (before September 10, 2018) should contact Val directly to request forms or to discuss transitioning to the current Candidacy Mentorship Program.