Social Workers

(NOC 4152)

in All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Social workers help individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organizations develop the skills and resources they need to enhance social functioning and provide counselling, therapy and referral to other supportive social services. Social workers help children, adults, families, and groups overcome problems in their daily lives; provide counselling, therapy and referral to other social services; and evaluate child development and the adequacy of child care. Social workers also respond to other social needs and issues such as unemployment, racism and poverty. They are employed by hospitals, school boards, social service agencies, child welfare organizations, correctional facilities, community agencies, employee assistance programs, and Aboriginal band councils, or they may work in private practice.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 120 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4880 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Social Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 73% of Social Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $70,006. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$20.00

Minimum

$30.77

Median

$42.90

Maximum

Annual Pay

$24,924

Minimum

$64,444

Median

$83,730

Maximum

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$26.88

Median

$46.15

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,616

Minimum

$44,335

Median

$92,599

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Social workers help individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organizations develop the skills and resources they need to enhance social functioning and provide counselling, therapy and referral to other supportive social services. Social workers help children, adults, families, and groups overcome problems in their daily lives; provide counselling, therapy and referral to other social services; and evaluate child development and the adequacy of child care. Social workers also respond to other social needs and issues such as unemployment, racism and poverty. They are employed by hospitals, school boards, social service agencies, child welfare organizations, correctional facilities, community agencies, employee assistance programs, and Aboriginal band councils, or they may work in private practice.

Job duties

Social workers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, to assess their situation and problems and determine the types of services required.
  • Provide counsel and therapy to assist clients in developing skills to deal with and resolve their social and personal problems.
  • Plan programs of assistance for clients including referral to agencies that provide financial assistance, legal aid, housing, medical treatment and other services.
  • Investigate cases of child abuse or neglect and take authorized protective action when necessary.
  • Serve as members on interdisciplinary teams of professionals working with client groups.
  • 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.
  • Develop or advise on social policy legislation, conduct social research and assist in community development.
  • Provide mediation services and psychosocial assessments.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counselling and social programs.
  • May provide public education and consultation to professionals or groups regarding counselling services, issues and methods.
  • May supervise other social workers. // Social workers may specialize in fields of practice such as child welfare, family services, corrections, gerontology or addictions.

Sample job titles

  • addiction social worker
  • case management social worker
  • caseworker - social work
  • child welfare social worker
  • co-ordinator of social work
  • family social worker
  • psychiatric social worker
  • school social worker
  • social casework consultant
  • social worker

Skills

To work in these fields, you should have an interest in the social welfare of others and a desire to help them. Patience, maturity, good listening skills, and an understanding of human nature are important. You must be able to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing. Leadership, reasoning, and decision-making skills are also necessary.

Job requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in social work is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Supervised practical experience is usually required.
  • Successful completion of provincial written and oral examinations may be required.
  • Registration with a provincial governing body is mandatory to practice as a social worker in Nova Scotia.
  • Use of the titles "Social Worker" and "Registered Social Worker" is regulated in Nova Scotia.
  • Membership in a provincial association of social workers is usually required.

Other considerations

None

By the numbers

Quick look

1,495

employed in 2016

92.0%

employed full-time

2.3%

self employed

85.5%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
14.5%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.3

median age

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

55,420

employed in 2016

79.3%

employed full-time

6.5%

self employed

64.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
36%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

51.5%

Halifax

17.3%

Cape Breton

12.1%

Northern

12.1%

Annapolis Valley

7.3%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

53.8%

Health Care and Social Assistance

36.8%

Public Administration

2.7%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Leasing

2.3%

Educational Services

1.7%

Other Services

What is the age of Employment?

35.2%

35-44

27.2%

25-34

25.2%

45-54

9.6%

55-64

1.2%

15-24

0.8%

65+

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

36.6%

35-44

29.3%

45-54

24.4%

55-64

4.9%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

43.9%

Bachelor's degree

$25,914 median annual income
37.1%

Doctorate

$100,294 median annual income
7.7%

University advanced certificate or diploma

N/A
5.5%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
2.5%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

29.2%

Bachelor's degree

$43,533 median annual income
21.5%

College certificate or diploma

$28,183 median annual income
17.2%

Master's degree

$35,978 median annual income
14.3%

High school

$25,801 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$60,991 median annual income

Education & training

Social work - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the professional practice of social welfare administration and counselling, and that focuses on the study of organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups. These programs include courses in social welfare policy; case work planning; social counselling and intervention strategies; administrative procedures and regulations; and specific applications in areas such as child welfare and family services, probation, employment services, and disability counselling.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Social Worker

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Social Workers
1888 Brunswick Street, Suite 700
Halifax, NS B3J 3J8
(902) 429-7799
(902) 429-7650

Contacts

Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers
1888 Brunswick Street, Suite 700
Halifax, NS B3J 3J8
Tel: (902) 429-7799
Fax: (902) 429-7650
Nova Scotia Department of Community Services
PO Box 696
Halifax, NS B3J 2T7
Tel: (877) 424-1177
Canadian Association of Social Workers
383 Parkdale Avenue, Suite 402
Ottawa, ON K1Y 4R4
Tel: (613) 729-6668
Fax: (613) 729-9608

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