Notice: The Board of Examiners and Council of the College have extended 2020’s temporary changes to the Professional Development Requirements policy until the end of 2021. The number of formal professional development hours required during 2021 is therefore changed, and the maximum for several other categories has been temporarily increased; please click here to learn more.

Pursuing professional development (PD) is part of how every social worker ensures they are best equipped to complete their responsibilities and help those they are called to serve. Social workers in Nova Scotia are self-regulated, and have collectively created standards for minimum PD activity that each member is accountable to their College to complete each year; members must therefore keep track of their PD activities, and submit documentation to NSCSW during their annual registration renewal.

Registered Social Workers and Social Work Candidates are encouraged to seek opportunities that combine their PD activity with contributing to the field of social work, serving the public interest, improving social conditions, and promoting social justice and quality of life for all Nova Scotians.

We are always open to member feedback on our PD standards, and ways we can appropriately and effectively support our members in their professional commitments to lifelong learning.

PD is self-directed

We recognize the broad scope of the social work profession, and there are many methods of learning new skills and developing knowledge.

The NSCSW’s Council does not limit members to pre-approved options for professional development; while topics such as social work ethics may be be mandated, each NSCSW member can assess which of the many learning opportunities available to them are most appropriate to their practice.

The suggested activities on this page are intended to support and guide members, not restrict them. The list is also a work in progress, and we will continue to add to it over time.


We offer a program of professional development events every year, including an annual conference scheduled with our AGM in May. Sessions are designed to help members meet regulatory requirements, advance the interests of the profession, and address interests/needs expressed by our membership. Check here to see what’s coming up in our event calendar.

NSCSW is also part of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). We encourage our members to visit to browse upcoming CASW events and their archive of recordings. In addition to their live and recorded webinars, CASW offers many learning resources that are free for NSCSW members, including a professional journal and a full-text journal database. Members of our College can visit the CASW website to claim their free national membership.

Selected topics of interest

Social work ethics

Ethical behaviour is at the core of social work practice. It is a part of our everyday decision making and paramount to guiding our actions.

All active social workers registered with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers must complete 5 hours of social work ethics professional development over a recurring 5 year period in addition to their annual 40 hours.

These webinars were recorded by NSCSW and/or CASW, and are free for our members:

Truth and Reconciliation

The 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission include provision of education to public servants and health care professionals, as well as those charged with child welfare, specifically on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. 

CASW webinars

Anti-racist & anti-discriminatory practice

CASW webinars

Social justice

Vicarious trauma & secondary stress

Ressources en français