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Social Workers

What they do?

Social workers perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Social workers may specialize in fields of practice such as child welfare, family services, mental health, corrections, gerontology or addictions.

B. Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, to assess their situation and problems and determine the types of services required

C. Provide counsel and therapy to assist clients in developing skills to deal with and resolve their social and personal problems

D. Plan programs of assistance for clients including referral to agencies that provide financial assistance, legal aid, housing, medical treatment and other services

E. Investigate cases of child abuse or neglect and take authorized protective action when necessary

F. Act as advocates for client groups in the community, lobby for solutions to problems directly affecting client groups and develop prevention and intervention programs to meet community needs

G. Develop or advise on social policy legislation, conduct social research and assist in community development

Where they find work?

1. Health care and social assistance - 71.0%
2. Public administration - 19.0%
3. Other services (except public administration) - 6.0%
4. Educational services - 3.0%

What education do I need?

1. You need a bachelor's degree in social work to work as a social worker in all provinces and the Northwest Territories, except for Alberta where a diploma is acceptable and Saskatchewan where a bachelor's degree is usually required.

2. You usually need some supervised practical experience.

3. Use of the titles "Social Worker" and "Registered Social Worker" are regulated in all provinces/territories. However, you do not need to be registered with a provincial/territorial governing body in Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories.

4. You may need to take provincial/territorial written and oral examinations.

5. You usually need to be a member of a provincial/territorial association of social workers.

6. Most recent entrants have an undergraduate university degree.

High School Subject that will help:

1. English
2. Social Studies
3. Computer-related courses
4. A Second Language

What can you expect to make:

The average hourly wages for Social Workers is $24.72/HR, which is close to the average for occupations in the social science, education, government service and religion and are close to the average for all professional occupations. These wages grew at an above-average rate from 2002 to 2004.

Average Wage

Social Workers wages

Expected Wage by Age

Social Workers Wage By Age


2% of Social Workers are unemployed. This rate is close to the average for professionnal occupations.


Social Workers Unemployment

Trends in Unemployment

Social Workers Trends in Unemployment

Current Job Outlook:

The job outlook for Social Workers is considered Above Average because:

1. Employment grew at an average rate.

2. The retirement rate is above average, and the number of retiring workers contributes to job openings.

3. Hourly wages ($24.72) are above the average ($18.07), and the rate of wage growth is also above average.

4. The unemployment rate (2%) is below the 2004 average (7%).

Future Job Prospects:

Your job outlook will continue to be Above Average because:

1. The employment growth rate will likely be above average because of ongoing trends--increased government funding for health/social services, and an aging population requiring more services.

2. The retirement rate will likely be above average and the number of retiring workers should contribute to job openings.

3. The number of job seekers will likely exceed the number of job openings. This will not be significant enough to have an impact on the work prospects.

Highest Concetration:

The highest concentrations (per 10,000 people) of Social Workers are found in Manitoba and Ontario while the lowest concentrations are in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Unionization Rate:

The unionization rate (69%) is above the average (32%) for all occupations.

Useful Experience:

1. Community networking

2. Interpersonal skills

3. Facilitating

Part Time Workers

Social Workers Part Time Workers

Part time workers:

13% of Social Workers are employed only on a part-time basis. There were 47,700 workers employed in these occupations in 2004, an increase of 44% since 1997.

Age Demographics

Social Workers Age Demographics

Age Demographics:

The relatively low percentage of younger workers suggests few entry-level job openings, and could point to a greater need for workers with experience or a number of years of training. The older-than-average age (43) of worker will likely result in an above-average retirement rate to 2009.

Self Employed

Social Workers Self Employed

Self Employed:

Roughly 1% of Social Workers are self-employed. This is considered Below average for the industry as a whole.

Men vs Women

Social Workers Men vs Women

Men vs Women:

80% of the individuals employed as Social Workers are women. Compared to other industries, this is Above average.