Social Work

Start Your Career in Social Work

Social Workers are trained to ‘help people help themselves.’ As a person in this profession, the focus of your work will be on the interactions between people and their social environments. You will have the ability to improve the quality of life for others by offering resources, services, and opportunities.

Social workers promote ethical practice, social and economic justice, and acceptance of diversity among peoples. In this field, you will be prepared to create social change through your work and professional activities.

Choose Your Educational Path

Red Deer College’s two-year Social Work Diploma program provides students with a broad range of skills and knowledge necessary for a Social Work position. Plus, students are able to apply their knowledge through valuable practicum experiences in each year of the program.

Additional details about the Social Work Diploma entrance requirements, fees, program content, and more are available in Red Deer College’s Academic Calendar.

If you are interested in pursuing a Social Work Diploma, but have not yet been accepted into the program, you can also complete courses that apply toward the diploma through Open Studies. These courses include Psychology, Sociology, and English or communications.

Bachelor’s Degree Options

After completing the Social Work Diploma, students may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work. This degree can be completed at RDC by taking the Bachelor of Social Work offered through the University of Calgary Learning Circles program. This option allows students to live, learn, and work in central Alberta. For those looking to transfer to other institutions, the Social Work Diploma is transferrable to a number of post-secondary institutions throughout Alberta and across Canada.

Students may also transfer the Social Work Diploma to the University of Calgary Bachelor of Arts Collaborative Degree. Majors in Psychology and Sociology are available, and students can complete their degrees entirely at Red Deer College.

Career Options for Graduates

Social work practice is broad-based or what is often called "generalist" practice. Graduates of the program may expect to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Within the scope of their work, social work graduates may choose to pursue careers that deal directly and indirectly with child neglect, foster care, juvenile offenders, family conflict, and individual emotional problems.

Graduates find work in public, private, and governmental settings. Some examples include schools, treatment centres, shelters, correctional facilities, policy and research organizations, advocacy groups, non-profit agencies, and community centres.

Upon completion of the Social Work Diploma Program, graduates are eligible to apply for registration with the Alberta College of Social Workers. For further details about career options for Social Work Diploma graduates are available at Career and Employment Services.

Our History and Mission

Red Deer College has a strong history of educating students in this profession, as the Social Work Diploma program has been offered since 1969. Originally called the Social Services Program, and renamed in 1990, the purpose of this education is to prepare students for direct social work practice in areas such as casework, group-work, public education, and community work.

The mission of the Social Work Diploma program at RDC is to prepare the student for employment as a social worker and to provide a foundation for further post-secondary education by introduction to and integration of: practice skills, theoretical knowledge base, and application of social work ethics and values. The program fulfills its mission through promotion of ethical practice, social and economic justice, respect for and acceptance of diversity among peoples, and relationship building.


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