Professional Development Standards



Council shall ensure that the public is served by social workers who maintain a high level of knowledge and skill as per Standard 9.1.1:

“Social workers shall ensure their skills are in keeping with current
knowledge and practices in the field of social work through a minimum 40
hours of professional development annually”.

The Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers recognizes the broad scope of the social work profession and that there are many methods of learning new skills and knowledge. NSASW encourages Registered Social Workers to seek opportunities that combine professional development with contributing to the field of social work and the quality of life for the residents of Nova Scotia.


  1. All Registered Social Workers (including employed, unemployed and self-employed individuals) are required to maintain 40 hours of professional development activity in social work each year. Reporting should include the hours of actual engagement in a professional development activity, and does not include travel or meal times. Reporting may include formal and informal activities outlined in the NSASW Professional Development Policy on the NSASW website.

  2. All NSASW applicants are required to submit evidence of 40 hours of social work related Professional Development as part of their application for registration. The hours must have been obtained in the most recent 12 months prior to application.

  3. Maintaining current Professional Development requirements is necessary in order to maintain ‘Good Standing’ status within NSASW.

    Retired Members

  4. Retired members of NSASW are not registered; therefore, they do not have to maintain professional development hours.

    Parental Leave or Sick Leave

  5. Members on parental leave or sick leave (pro-rated up to one year) shall report a minimum of 20 hours of Professional Development which may be accumulated solely through volunteer activities and/or self-directed study.

    First-time Registrants

  6. When renewing registration for the first time only, Professional Development requirements will be pro-rated on a quarterly basis, to reflect the portion of the year in which the RSW was registered. For example: a member who was granted registration in June, 2014 will have to record 20 hours of Professional Development when renewing in December, 2014. A member who was granted registration in October, 2014, will have to record 10 hours of Professional Development in December, 2014.

    Recording Requirements

  7. Members of NSASW are required to record and submit professional development activities yearly. Registration approval/renewal cannot be granted until the requirements for professional development have been supplied and met. If the professional development inventory does not meet the requirements (Appendix A), the renewal cannot be completed and the member will not be registered and licensed as a Social Worker for the upcoming year.

  8. Members should be aware that incomplete PDS hours will be flagged. Noncompliance to this Policy will be dealt with by the Registrar and/or acting designate.