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 (four terms) of full-time study comprising 1055 hours. Part-time study is an option. 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 or ECTA 121, SSWD 220, SOWK 200, and SOWK 201.

Start: Depending on capacity, program intakes may occur in May and/or September.

Fees: Current Fee Schedule

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


Admission Prerequisites

* Where available, secondary school and/or post-secondary transcripts should be provided to indicate that prerequisites for specific courses have been met.
*English is the language of instruction in all programs at NLC, thus it is imperative that NLC students meet minimum English Language Proficiency requirements.
*In University Arts and Sciences, it is understood that the minimum English Language Proficiency requirement is that required to graduate from a Canadian high school program conducted in English. This is defined in the English Language Requirement document.
- 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

  • Please see the NLC Criminal Records Check page for completion instructions and more information pertaining to Criminal Record Checks.

Important Notes

  1. The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit StudentAid BC to apply for financial assistance online.  Note that dual credit students are not eligible for Student Aid.
  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 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 and the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies 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. 
  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
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 OR HDEC 101 and HDEC 104
PSYC235 Structure and Dynamics of the Family OR SOCI204 The Family in Canada OR ECEC 201 Building Professional-Family Partnerships
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 OR ECTA 121 Interpersonal Communications
SSWD220 Practicum and Seminar
WGST100 Women and Gender Studies

TWO of the following:

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
SOCI101 Introduction to Sociology I
SOCI102 Introduction to Sociology II

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.


  • 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.

 * Students who have completed the first 3 semesters of NLC's Early Childhood Education and Care diploma program (fifteen three-credit courses), and graduates of NLC’s Education Assistant Certificate, will be granted course credit for SSWD 110; also, as indicated above, HDEC 104 & HDEC 101 will substitute for PSYC 211, ECTA 121 for SSWD 215, and ECEC 201 for either PSYC 235 or SOCI 204.