Registering as a Social Worker

A personal experience about how one of our clinicians became a registered Social Worker in Alberta after  moving from Ontario

By Shayla S Dube, MSW,RSW

My Story 

 Hi, My name is Shayla S. Dube. I am going to share my personal experience of how I became a  regulated mental health clinician as a Social Worker, which is one of the many avenues and streams of being a regulated mental health professional in Alberta. I have been a registered Social worker since 2009 after graduating with a Bachelors Honours Degree in Social Work. In 2010, I graduated with my Masters in Social Work and maintained my registration. Both my BSW and MSW were acquired from York University in Toronto and the academic programs comprised varied mental health courses and practicums that gave me the hands on experience of connecting and working with people with children and families with varied mental health issues. 

Post graduation, my career began in Ontario where I worked in the child protection field  for 2 years before relocating to Alberta. When my family and I decided to move to Alberta, I managed to transfer my social work registration to Alberta while I was still residing in Ontario. After initiating the transfer process, ACSW contacted OCSSW and they electronically sent all my credentials for evaluation with my consent.  I had to also provide my police clearance and updated resume, then I got my practise permit within approximately two to three weeks. In terms of working as a regulated mental health professional in Alberta, I managed to secure a mental health therapist position while I was still living in Ontario and I have been registered

 in Alberta since 2012 to date. For the first few months of my mental health positions in Alberta, my clinical supervisor had to sign off and closely supervise my clinical work until he was satisfied that I could provide the restricted psycho social interventions, then i had to submit my restricted psycho social intervention application describing my clinical and supervisory experience, listing courses and workshops that substantiated that I was competent and qualified to treat substantial mental health disorders without supervision. In order to maintain my registration,  registered social workers are required to continue taking continuing educational courses and receive clinical supervision. The ACSW allows the clinician to provide services within Alberta and if clinicians want to provide services in other provinces, they are encouraged to register with the regulatory bodies of those respective provinces.

Different Qualifications for Registration

Do you hold a social work credential (MSW) that is accredited with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) or the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)?  

Are you a new or recent graduate (within the past 3 years) from an MSW education program getting registered for the first time?  

Do you have a social work credential that is not accredited through the CASWE or CSWE or by ACSW (generally this is a degree from an institute outside of Canada or the United States)?  

Are you an experienced social worker who has not been registered, licensed, or certified in any jurisdiction or attending a social work education program within the past 3 years?

Are you a previously registered Social Worker with the ACSW and applying for reinstatement as a Social Worker with ACSW?  

Are you an experienced social worker who has not been registered, licensed or certified?

*If you answered yes to the above questions, you can can contact The Alberta College of Social Workers to start your general registry ( RSW) or Clinical Registry ( RCSW)

*Depending on the organization that you choose to work for, in order to work as a therapist some organizations require the authorization/ permit to perform psychosocial interventions some don’t.


“Under the Social Workers Profession Regulation, social workers are permitted to perform the restricted activities of psychosocial intervention if the member has fulfilled the requirements approved by Council.  Restricted activities apply specifically to treating persons with a substantial mental health disorder. ACSW has the Application for Authorization to Perform the Restricted Activities of Psychosocial Intervention

 *Your practise permit will indicate whether or not the registered social work is approved to perform psychotherapy/ restricted activities without supervision.


Clinical Registry


The ACSW Clinical Registry is a voluntary registry that recognizes Registered Social Workers who have an MSW and an advanced standing in clinical social work practice with three application streams:

* Pre-Supervision Stream: For recently graduated MSWs, or MSWs with limited to no post-MSW clinical direct clinical practice, supervision, or experience

* Post Supervision Stream: For experienced clinicians, who have a minimum of five years of post-MSW clinical practice, supervision and experience

* Porting Stream: For experienced clinicians who have been designated as a Registered Clinical Social Worker or Licensed Social Worker in another jurisdiction recognized by ACSW 

What you need:




Extra nuggegts:

*Regardless of the stream that fits your situation, you have to pass the clinical social work exam. 

*Registered Clinical Social Workers do not automatically get authorized to perform psycho social intervention and your RSW status always precedes your clinical registration. 

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