Should You Become a Community Service Worker? Advice for New Students

Updated December, 2020

What's drawing you to a career in social work?

Some of our students have experienced the Canadian community services system first-hand—and are inspired to pay forward the help they received.

Others feel a strong sense of social justice, and want a career that focuses on improving the society we live in.

And we often train students who have a particular goal in mind—like working specifically with neglected children, mothers escaping domestic abuse, or new immigrants who need help adjusting to life in Canada.

If you're not totally sure which career path you would choose, or if community services worker training is right for you, take a few minutes to think about your mindset, motivations, and professional goals.

By the end of this post, you'll have a much clearer idea of whether you should pursue training (plus some handy links and steps for what to do next).

1. You believe every person deserves opportunities to grow and succeed

Community services workers (CSWs) support people from all walks of life, who are facing serious personal or social challenges.

Some are suffering from addiction, others are trying to escape abusive relationships, and some are living on the street and need a safe place to stay.

All of these groups have one thing in common: they are at-risk. At-risk of violence, illness, imprisonment, isolation, poverty, and death.

The main role of free community programs and services is to help at-risk people find hope, a helping hand, and access to opportunities. It's all about giving people the tools they need to grow and succeed.

If you strongly believe that every person deserves dignity, respect, and the chance to rebuild their life, you've got the right mindset for community services worker training.

Related: Who Will You Help as a Community Services Worker in Ottawa? 3 At-risk Populations


2. You want to make your community a safer, more fair place to live

When every member of a community has access to support, education, and opportunities to thrive, that community is immediately a safer, more fair and just place for all.

Community services workers help connect people in need with social welfare programs and services, including mental health care, counselling, job opportunities, safe housing, and life-skills coaching.

Social work is about social justice—about ensuring no one is left behind, victimized, or disenfranchised. Our system is far from perfect, but its goals are admirable.

If you share these goals and ideals, a community services worker career is an excellent way to live out your passion and make a real difference in the lives of others.


3. You're excited about the topics you'll study in community services worker training

Have you taken a look at the curriculum of a community services worker program? Are you familiar with the courses you would take to complete the diploma?

This is an excellent way to make sure you understand the career, the role you'll be playing, and kinds of challenges you'll face on-the-job.

A quality CSW program covers topics like:

  • the kinds of community programs and services we have available in Canada, and the goals of these services
  • how to research your local community to see who is at-risk, which social welfare programs are available, and what services may be lacking
  • the basics of criminology, psychology, and sociology
  • family development and relationships
  • addiction
  • strategies for interviewing and counselling at-risk people 
  • crisis intervention

See a course list for Community Services Worker Training

If you're excited about the coursework you'll be completing, it makes sense to take the next step, and inquire about the program, or set up a personal interview to talk about admissions.


4. You can see yourself in a community services career

Where exactly do community services workers find employment after training? There are actually a few different options to chose from, depending on your interests, talents, and career goals.

CSWs work at:

  • youth centres
  • community centres (like the YMCA)
  • halfway houses
  • homeless shelters
  • detoxification centres
  • hospitals
  • outpatient clinics

Take some time to explore a few different career paths, and see if you can envision yourself in any of these roles.

Related:  Working at a Half-way House After Community Services Worker Training

Related: CSW Career Paths—Working with At-risk Youth


5. You're ready for the responsibilities that come with doing social work

As a society, we place a special trust in people who work with social welfare programs and services. We trust them to assist our citizens fairly, compassionately, and to the best of their ability.

We trust community services workers to respect people from diverse backgrounds, without discrimination.

We also trust CSWs to continue pushing to improve the Canadian social welfare system, by developing better programs, and reaching out to people who currently aren't served well by the system.

Related: 6 Core Values Taught in CSW Training

It's a big responsibility, and a high standard to live up to. For passionate, dedicated CSWs, the choice is clear, and they're absolutely ready to take on the challenge.

Does all of this feel familiar? It sounds like you're in the right place!

We'd be very happy to talk about your future career options as a CSW, and answer any questions you have about training.


Take the Next Step

If you're ready to learn more about become a Community Services Worker, your next step is to speak with Admissions.

An Admissions Advisor will explain how to apply, class schedules, tuition costs, financial aid and more.

Chat live with an Advisor right now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!

Explore the Community Services Worker Program


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