- Integrity. We have been educating social services workers since 2006. We have the diverse experience, intrinsic knowledge, and pedagogical approach to help you become professional and secure employment in the field. Our program is licensed by the Private Vocational Training Branch of the Alberta Government.
- Experience. You will benefit from the deep relationships Columbia College has formed over time for job placements with organizations that value the maturity, diversity, and depth of knowledge our students bring to the job market.
- Employability. We prepare you to be employment ready by fostering a well-rounded, hands-on, integrated practicum program, which allows you to start networking in the profession, learn resume writing, perfect interview strategies, attend practicum workshops, and earn a certificate in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training, increasing your employability. With the option to choose a specialization in the area of your choice, you also increase your chances of getting hired by an organization that fits.
- Pedagogy. Students engage in webinars, forums, discussions, group activities, graded assignments, assessments, presentations, essays, and web-based games, among other learning strategies.
Columbia College Social Services Professional Diploma Program uses expert educators to prepare its graduates by blending both theory and hands-on training to form a comprehensive foundation of knowledge and skills.
We offer a unique integration of courses and an exciting virtual learning model, with synchronous online classes taught by a live instructor, to deliver a well-rounded, engaging, multicultural educational framework.
- It’s accelerated. Complete a 2-year diploma in 12 months and start earning a salary sooner.
- It’s inclusive. In your 50-week program, you’ll complete 20 courses, or two courses every five weeks. That includes a 300-hour specialized field practicum (over two practicum periods in semesters 1-5 and 6-10) and an additional 28 hours of in-class practicum workshops. You’ll enhance your knowledge of your career choice and be prepared for the workplace.
- It’s thorough. Your program consists of five-week semesters, with 39 hours of instruction per course. You’ll feel prepared when you complete our multi-faceted program.
- It’s pragmatic. Linking theory and practice, you’ll be given the opportunity to apply your courses to a real-work setting, network with social services professionals, and boost your resume.
- It’s supportive. You’ll receive access to academic, career, tuition finance, and employment coaching.
- It’s flexible. You’ll have a choice between full-time and part-time course-by-course options.
English test / program
Minimum required score
Columbia College’s College Prep English course
B or 75%
Canadian Language Benchmarks / Milestones Test*
8 in each strand
Listening – 7.5, Reading – 6.5, Writing – 7.0, Speaking – 7.0
Columbia College ESL820 level course
80% and 8 in each strand
Columbia College’s Accuplacer English Test*
SS-85, RC-80, WR-6+
IQAS – Formal assessment
Alberta Education English Language Arts equivalents
Alberta Education – High School English Course
English 30-1, English 30-2 with a final mark of 60%, or equivalent
OR: Successful completion of an Alberta Education English Language Arts course that is consistent with the specified academic admission requirements for the Career Program
OR: Successful completion of three years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of a post-secondary level English course with a minimum grade of a C (65%) or equivalent
Do your academic skills need to be upgraded to meet admission entry requirements?
After applying to your program, if your academic skills need to be improved in one or more areas, you may be offered Columbia College’s Academic Preparation – College Prep courses for FREE. See Continuing Education – Academic Preparation – College Prep.
For a full list of courses and course descriptions for this program, please click here.
Transfer opportunities may be available at a variety of degree granting institutions across Alberta, Canada, and the world. Transfer opportunities allow graduates to receive credit for some or all of their completed courses towards a bachelor degree.
Note: The institution you wish to transfer to makes the final determination on the transfer credits they will accept. Before commencing your studies at Columbia College, please consult with the institution you are planning on transferring to.
Transferring credit into Columbia College’s Social Services Professional Program
If you are a social services worker or feel you have already completed some of the components of the program, you may be eligible to get credit for a limited number of courses. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is another option if you have worked in a related human services field and believe that you have the understanding of a particular course. More information on how to apply for transfer credits can be found by contacting your admission advisor.
Columbia College’s tuition and general fees come into effect August 1 of each year.
For more information about tuition and the Columbia College Tuition chart, please see the Tuition and Fees page.
To graduate from the Social Services Diploma Program, students must successfully complete each course, earn 66 credits, and achieve a minimum overall program grade point average of 2.0.
Tutoring is available for students. If you require tutoring, please contact your Program Chair or Coordinator.
Due to the demanding nature of the work in the human services field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the social services field has a strong focus on health and wellness. If you have a medical condition or disability that may impact your ability to be successful in a course or practicum setting, you are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or the College’s Accommodations Advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. For more information on Accommodations, click here.
Graduates from our program are successfully employed in a variety of settings, such as public and private educational sites, social and community service agencies, and support centres facilitating programs of all types. Through our program, you will learn how to meet the needs of those in such places as: group homes, halfway houses, correctional facilities, community health centres, alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation centres, family violence counselling centres, homes for the aging, at-risk youth centres, and settlement offices. You’ll assist those requiring physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive rehabilitation.
Columbia College employs intercultural and inclusive values in forming successful leaders in the field of human services. We pride ourselves on addressing the diverse needs of all learners, allowing you to reach your full learning and employment potential.
The starting salary for human services workers can be up to $63,000 per year. Employment possibilities may include:
- Social Work Assistant
- Child and Youth Care Worker
- Education Assistant
- Settlement Worker
- Respite Specialist Worker
- Community Support Worker
- Child and Family Support Worker
- Disability Services Worker
- Immigrant Aid Support Worker
- Outreach Worker
- College and University Admissions Advisor
The following is a list of organizations that have hired graduates of this program:
- Columbia College
- Woods Homes
- Society for Treatment of Autism
- Independent Counselling Enterprise
- Boys and Girls Club of Calgary
- Little Treasures Inc.
- Foothills School Division
- Kids U West 85th
- Calgary Drop In Centre
- Bright Beginners Children Centre Ltd.
- Evergreen College
- Calgary Progressive Lifestyle Foundation
- Community Living Alternative Services
- Mosaic Montessori Academy
- Alberta Human Services
- Heartland Agency
- Bow Valley Child Care Centre
- Lectures 1
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 1
- Assessments Yes