Education Options

Waterloo Region has a number of well established educational programs in the social work field. As such, the labour market is highly competitive, with many qualified and eager job seekers. While it’s not impossible to find a “helping job” without specific qualifications, a strong educational background will surely be of great benefit to you on your journey.

Which program is right for you? Much of that will depend on what your goals are. Do you want to be a Registered Social Worker? Do you want to engage in clinical practice or are you simply looking for a role where you can assist others? There are a number of options available to you – your employment counsellor, along with your sector research through information gathering and information interviews, will help to clarify your educational needs.

Here is some information about the common programs you may look into, as well as information on where you might find these programs locally.

Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work – This is the first level of social work degrees. While it is an undergraduate degree, it does require prior completion of a 3- or 4-year Bachelor degree.

Renison College at the University of Waterloo delivers a Bachelor of Social Work program which can be completed in 10 months full-time or longer through part-time delivery.

Masters of Social Work – This is the second level of social work degrees. We have found that locally, with the competitive labour market, employers will often seek people with an MSW.

Wilfrid Laurier University delivers a Master of Social Work program at the Lyle S. Hallman School of Social Work in downtown Kitchener. There is a 1-year advanced standing program for BSW graduates, a 2-year program for graduates with non-social work degrees, as well as a part-time option. WLU also offers a Ph.D program in Social Work.

Other Related Educational Options

Social Services Worker – This program trains people to work with individuals and groups and do casework as a frontline Social Services Worker.

Conestoga College delivers a two year Social Services Worker program at their Doon Campus.

Career Development Practitioner – This is a post-graduate program delivered by Conestoga College. It provides training to work as a career counselor, employment counselor, career information practitioner, career development practitioner, or job developer.

Community Advocacy – This unique part-time certificate program is delivered by Conestoga College. It teaches people how to best navigate social programs and other regularly-encountered issues of everyday life that often impact those who are marginalized and/or live in poverty.

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