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Social Services Worker Diploma

Program Description 

student of the social services worker diploma program. Female, seated in library

The Social Services Worker Diploma program provides opportunities for students to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and qualifications to enable them to work in the human services worker field.

Career Prospects

Paraprofessionals in a variety of social service and health agencies. Typical jobs include Financial Assistance Worker, Youth Probation Officer, Residential Service Worker, Social Work Assistant, Mental Health Worker, Family Support Worker, Supported Employment, Community Living Worker, Transition Houses, Women’s Programs, Aboriginal Support Worker, and Family Violence Worker.


Location: Dawson Creek and Fort St. John campuses

Length: 60 weeks (full-time); Part-time study is available. However, all courses that address key Social Services Worker competencies must be completed within six years of program admission: PSYC 220, SSWD 110, SSWD 120, SSWD 210, SSWD 215 or PSYC 220, SSWD 220, SOWK 200, and SOWK 201.

Start: September or May.

Fees: Current Fee Schedule


Need upgrading first? Start with NLC’s Career and College Preparation program.


Admission Prerequisites

* A. Domestic students must have official transcripts demonstrating the following English Requirement: One of the following with a "B" grade or higher: Grade 12 English, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, English 050, or English 099. Alternatively, any university-level English course with a "C" grade or higher. Students who do not meet one of the above English requirements must complete the NLC Writing Assessment for appropriate course placement.

* B. International students must have documentation demonstrating the following English Requirement: An IELTS with an overall score of 6.0 or higher with no band less than 5.5. Students with a writing band of 6.0 or less are required to complete English 099 with a "B" grade or higher before or during the first semester of their program. The necessity for upgrading can extend the length of the program.

  • Transcripts should also indicate that prerequisites for other individual courses have been met.
    This primarily applies to required or elective University Arts and Sciences courses.

Post-Admission Requirements:

After being accepted into the program but before classes begin, students will be required to:
Attend a program-specific orientation session.

Using the specified Consent Form, request a Ministry of Justice Schedule B Criminal Record Check (CRC). A Schedule B CRC is not a program admission requirement, but NLC must receive Schedule B CRC results before SSWD students begin attending classes in the first semester of the program. Information about the Schedule B CRC process will be presented at the pre-semester program orientations. Because requests for Schedule B CRCs may take up to six weeks, students are strongly encouraged to attend to this post-admission requirement as soon as possible. Please note that convictions for certain offenses may disqualify students from participating in course practica with vulnerable persons. Further, students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a CRC but are still enrolled in the Social Service Worker Diploma program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program

Important Notes

  1. The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit StudentAid BC to apply for financial assistance online.
  2. Early submission of applications is encouraged, as limited seats are available. Domestic students are strongly encouraged to apply by the beginning of May each year for the September intake. If you are applying after May, please contact the admissions officers at your local campus to determine the seat availability.female social services worker diploma student sitting at
  3. Graduates have experience excellent course-by-course transfer
    into the Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Northern British Columbia.
  4. NLC’s SSWD graduates are eligible for direct admission into the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s
    Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing. Advanced standing is granted for PSYC 211 and SSWD 120.
  5. Graduates can also receive block credit transfer into the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication program at Royal Roads University.
  6. The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council.
    Download a 2016 Program Completion Guide (Program Guide effective January 2017)
  7. Find the Social Services Worker Diploma Planning Grid and the Social Services Worker Diploma Completion Guide here: Academic Planning Grids

APPLY NOW for the Social Services Worker Diploma program

Do you need more information?

Admissions Officer: Megan Bedell

Program Leader: Connie Kaweesi

Dean: Steve Roe


ENGL100 Academic Writing
FNST100 Aboriginal Peoples of Canada OR ANTH203 Contemporary Canadian Native Peoples
HIST104 Canada, Post-Confederation OR POLI101 The Government of Canada
PSYC101 Introduction to Psychology I
PSYC102 Introduction to Psychology II
PSYC211 Developmental Psychology
PSYC235 Structure and Dynamics of the Family OR SOCI204 The Family in Canada
SOWK200 Introduction to Social Work Practice
SOWK201 Introduction to Social Welfare
SSWD110 Introduction to Human Services Work
SSWD120 Ethics and Practice
SSWD210 Methods of Intervention and Practice Areas
SSWD 215 Interpersonal Communications OR PSYC220 Interpersonal Communications
SSWD220 Practicum and Seminar
WGST100 Women and Gender Studies

TWO of the following:

SOCI101 Introduction to Sociology I
SOCI102 Introduction to Sociology II
ANTH101 Cultural and Social Anthropology I
ANTH102 Cultural and Social Anthropology II
CRIM101 Introduction to Criminology
CRIM103 Psychological Explanations of Criminal and Deviant Behaviour
CRIM131 Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
CRIM135 Introduction to Canadian Law and Legal Institutions

ONE of the following:

ENGL105 Nonfictional Prose
ENGL110 Introduction to Workplace Communications (Online)
ENGL111 Poetry and Drama
ENGL112 Prose Fiction

TWO open electives:

Students must choose two additional elective courses (6 credits) in any area at the baccalaureate level.

Optional Courses (Electives):

  • Students should consider post-diploma plans when choosing program-specific and open electives. In particular, students moving on to degree programs are advised to consult with receiving institutions to ensure they have the required courses for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs.
  • Academic credits taken at Northern Lights College can also be used toward an Associate of Arts Degree or Pre-Professional Certificate and Diploma programs.

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