Social Service Worker

Want to make a difference in the community? As a Social Service Worker you can be on the front line of positive change.


Spring 2015
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: SW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Kirstin Parry Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: May 11, 2015
Tuition Fees: $1,850.09 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.
Fall 2015
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: SW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Kirstin Parry Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: September 08, 2015
Tuition Fees: $1,951.09 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.
Winter 2016
Program Status: Accepting Applications
Program Code: SW
Location: Peterborough
Coordinator: Kirstin Parry Email
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Start Dates: January 11, 2016
Tuition Fees: $1,893.09 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Program Highlights

Social Service Workers build and maintain relationships with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities; recognize and respond to individual, group, organizational and community injustices and inequalities; and provide direct services and/or a bridging to resources to improve the quality of peoples’ lives at the personal, cultural, and system levels.  Social Service Workers provide these services in a range of residential and community settings while working with other professionals such as child and youth workers, addiction counsellors, teachers, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and doctors.

The program is four semesters in length with classroom-based courses in the first three semesters and a block placement in the final semester.  Applied learning activities are infused into our classroom-based courses such as:

  • Practicing interviewing and group facilitation skills for the purposes of engagement, assessment, goal planning and social support with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities;
  • Working in teams to plan on and off-campus events, fundraising campaigns, educational awareness days, and promotion of social change;
  • Conducting research to challenge forms of oppression as well as to design/develop/improve social service programs;
  • Participating in self-care strategies for personal and professional well-being; and
  • Certifications in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Skills Training (NVCI). 

Building on the above knowledge and skills gained, a full-time placement in the fourth and final semester of the program provides a range of practice opportunities in a work setting (agency and location to be determined in consultation with the student, faculty, and available agency sites). 

In addition, as a regulated profession in Ontario, upon having successfully completed this program you will have the necessary skills for employment as a Social Service Worker in Ontario and be eligible for membership with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services.  Please click on this link to the OCSWSSW website for more information about the profession and eligibility for membership

Why Choose Fleming

Fleming College’s Social Service Worker program is well-known within the Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, and Haliburton counties and has established strong relationships with social service agencies in these specific locations.  This is good choice for local people as well as for those that want to take advantage of smaller classes and more individually focussed learning.

The flexible delivery method where there are three entry points into the program in the fall, winter, and spring with all four semesters running every semester meets the needs of:

  1. Those that require or wish a reduced course load;
  2. People that wish to complete the program faster (attending continuously for the four semesters means completion in sixteen months), or;
  3. Individuals needing to meet criteria due to receiving outside funding. 

Additionally, the program also is increasingly chosen by university graduates to build job-related skills and practice.

Work Experience

The fourth and final semester integrates learning in the form of a full-time placement and takes place in a work setting matching your learning needs and choice of location with consultation between the student, faculty, and available agency sites. Please be aware that 30 hours of volunteer service within an agency is required between entry into the SSW program and prior to entry into the fourth semester for placement and students must have successfully completed all first, second, and third semester courses prior to entry into fourth semester.

Non-academic Requirements

SSW program requirements prior to the fourth and final semester where placement occurs include:

  1. A criminal record check and vulnerable sector screening issued within 6 months of the beginning of placement; and 
  2. Proof of immunization – please see requirements and the form that must be filled out by a physician  

Students who have not met these requirements will be held back from placement until they produce the items above.  In addition, specific agencies may have further requirements such as proof of a current Emergency First Aid certification, CPR certification (Level C), a university degree, or additional immunizations. Also, some agencies may have required in-service training that the student must take prior to placement.

Is this You?

To succeed in this program and career, you must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Adherence to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice set by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW) which includes the Continuing Competence Program criteria in order to maintain good standing once a member – Please click on this link for more details
  • Professionalism which is defined by the SSW program faculty as showing kindness, patience, transparency, compassion, flexibility, engagement, and an ability to give and receive constructive feedback;
  • Respectful interactions and strong interpersonal communication skills, both in verbal and written form;
  • Emotional awareness and willingness to engage in self-care;
  • A passion for supporting people;
  • Speaking out and challenging injustices and inequalities at the personal, cultural, and system levels;
  • Sensitivity to diversity;
  • Computer skills like email, word processing, and file management as well as skills in navigating social media tools; and
  • Consistent time management and organizational skills.

Career Opportunities

As a practicing Social Service Worker in Ontario, you will support people to recognize, develop and sustain their strengths to achieve good quality of life while they manage and challenge a broad range of personal and environmental barriers at the personal, cultural, and system levels.  These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • The self and societal stigma that impact people with developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, addiction issues, concurrent disorders, and dual diagnosis disorders;
  • The experiences of persons who have been victims, witnesses, or perpetrators of intimate personal violence;
  • Poverty issues individuals, families, and communities face related to a lack of accessibility and availability of sustainable income, transportation, housing, food security, employment and educational/skills-training opportunities; and
  • The experience of persons who experience oppression based on race, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, etc.

In addition, the Scope of Practice for Social Service Workers in Ontario which is a list of work that you can perform as a professional, can be found on page 8 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, 2nd edition at this link:

Social service agencies that have hired Fleming College Social Service Worker graduates include, but are not limited to:

  • Canadian Mental Health Associations
  • Hastings Centennial Manor Long-Term Care
  • Associations for Community Living
  • Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre
  • Peterborough Aids Resource Network
  • Kinark Child and Family Services
  • Ontario Works
  • Community Counselling and Resource Centre
  • A Place Called Home
  • John Howard Society
  • Mon Ami Children’s Services

Minimum Admission Requirements

OSSD with the majority of credits at the College (C) and Open (O) level, including:

  • 2 College (C) English courses (Grade 11 or Grade 12)

When (C) is the minimum course level for admission, (U) or (U/C) courses are also accepted.

Mature Students

If you are 19 years of age or older before classes start, and you do not possess an OSSD, you can write the Canadian Adult Achievement Test to assess your eligibility for admission. 

* Students starting in January are required to attend classes over the summer semester.

Related Programs

Not quite decided on which community development career to pursue? Why not consider Drug and Alcohol Counsellor, or the Community and Justice Services program if you have a desire to help people improve their lives?

Additional Costs

Plan to spend approximately $1350 for year one and $700 for year two for books and supplies.

Transfer Agreements

For more information see the Pathways to University page.

Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on our website and in our publications. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time.

Copyright © 2015 Sir Sandford Fleming College. All Rights Reserved.

Fleming College
599 Brealey Drive K9J 7B1 Peterborough, Ontario,
(705) 749-5530