College Update: Eventual Implementation of Entry-to-Practice Exams

On September 10, 2021, College Council passed a motion to approve entry-to-practice exams for social work and social service work applicants to the College. Once implemented in 2027, all applicants will be required to complete the exam successfully as part of the College’s registration requirements.

Entry-to-practice exams are an additional tool that help measure applicants’ readiness to practise, ensuring that only those with specific qualifications are eligible for registration.

The development and implementation of the exams will take several years. It is anticipated that the exam requirement will not be fully implemented until 2027.

Exam development

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) will develop and administer the entry-to-practice exams, at arms’ length from the College. The ASWB is a non-profit organization composed of the social work regulatory boards and colleges of all 50 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces, including the College. It is a requirement that member organizations use the ASWB exams when implementing an entry-to-practice exam.

There are many initiatives that must take place before exams can be implemented. They include:

  • Creation of a French version of the social work exam – currently there is an English social work exam, but no French version.
  • Development of a separate social service work exam in both English and French. This exam will cover different material than the social work exam.

While the ASWB carefully considers accessibility and inclusion in relation to the exams that are currently used in other jurisdictions, it has greatly expanded its efforts in these areas in relation to the development of the exams that the College will eventually implement. Each question will be written and reviewed by practising social workers and social service workers who will reflect diversity in a number of ways, including practice setting, ethnicity, race and geography. All questions will be reviewed and approved before ever being used on an exam.

What does this mean for employers?

Once the exams are implemented, applicants will only be registered with the College once they have met all registration requirements, including successful completion of the appropriate entry-to-practice exam.

The implementation of the exam should not impact the hiring process for employers. However, the addition of an exam to the College’s registration requirements will provide further assurance  to employers that the person they are hiring is qualified and possesses the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to ensure that they will be competent in their practice. The College strongly encourages employers to ensure that potential employees are registered with the College by checking the Online Register.

Stay up to date

Employers are encouraged to visit the College website for up-to-date information on the College’s entry-to-practice exams.