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  • Social Service Worker - Gerontology

    Social Service Worker - Gerontology

Program Code:SSWG
Duration:4 Semesters (2 Years)
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

The Social Service Worker – Gerontology program integrates the knowledge base, professional values and skill-sets of social service work with a specific concentration on the needs, challenges and concerns of Canada's aging population. The program focuses on a holistic and strength-based approach to help aging clients maintain a good quality of life. As a student, you will have the opportunity to develop skills such as program planning; individual and group modes of facilitation; interventions with clients, their families and significant others; case management; interpersonal communication and skills related to working with bereavement and grief. You will also benefit from a very substantial fieldwork placement component, which starts in the second semester and runs through the third and fourth semesters.

Your studies in the Social Service Worker – Gerontology program include opportunities to engage in personal change and growth, to work cohesively as a member of a team, to integrate and apply professional ethics, to meet deadlines, to manage personal issues that might arise and to successfully achieve the learning outcomes of the various subjects. The College offers a variety of supports to assist you in this self– directed learning environment where you are ultimately responsible for your personal success. Be prepared to spend 20 or more hours each week working on assignments, etc.

Graduates tell us important factors for success in SSWG are: study skills, time management, class attendance and participation, taking personal responsibility for the outcomes of one's actions, minimizing the number of hours that might be occupied by part-time employment and the ability to deal constructively with the stresses of a busy life.

Field Work

Field work is a valuable opportunity to gain work experience while meeting the learning outcomes of the SSWG program. You will work in a professional capacity, with specified job responsibilities, record keeping evaluations, time management requirements, contracted hours of work, expectations of teamwork and appropriate interpersonal interaction. You will be evaluated on the basis of an approved three–part learning contract as agreed by you, the approved fieldwork agency and the Seneca SSWG program.

Fieldwork days are typically:

  • The equivalent of two full days per week in semesters two, three and four
  • Full week block placements as scheduled throughout the program duration.

Students typically have one placement at a residential setting and one placement at a community agency which provides services to seniors.

A Seneca professor will assist you in the selection and approval of a fieldwork placement, though the final contract will be your responsibility. This experience will help you develop job-search skills while in the supportive environment of the program. All fieldwork placements must be approved by the college.

Provincial Registration

In order to practice in Ontario as a "Social Service Worker" or a "Registered Social Service Worker", graduates must apply for registration in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Graduates of the SSWG program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s) or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).

Prior To Field Placement:

  • A current Police Vulnerable Sector screening:
    • Applicants living in the city of Toronto can expect to wait a minimum of 8-12 weeks to receive a Police Check.
    • A flu shot and TB test are required for placement at long-term care facilities.


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Your Career

Demand for skilled and knowledgeable professionals to work in a helping capacity with seniors is increasing as Canada's population ages. The Social Service Worker – Gerontology (SSWG) diploma prepares graduates to provide community services and products to seniors with a wide range of physical, psychological, social and financial challenges. After four semesters, you may find fulfilling employment opportunities with agency providers of seniors' services such as government agencies, not-for-profit agencies, for-profit agencies and private individuals. You may also find a wide range of employment opportunities in many different levels, including coordination of home support services (e.g., meals on wheels, transportation, friendly visiting, congregate dining, homemaker services and telephone reassurance), work in programs for people with dementia, activation coordination, supportive housing coordination and coordination of volunteer programs. Some graduates have started their own businesses. Advocating for and empowering seniors to achieve their goals is an important aspect of all these employment possibilities. Graduates of the SSWG program are eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Transfer Pathways

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at the following post-secondary institution(s):


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Ryerson University• Bachelor of Social Work (Full-Time or Part-Time Advanced Standing)
Seneca College• Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation
Tyndale University College• Bachelor of Arts (Human Services, Early Childhood Education, Human Services-Social Service Worker) or Bachelor of Religious Education (Degree Completion or Modular)
York University• Bachelor of Social Work


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Brock University• Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology degree or a 4-year with Major Psychology degree, or a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Women’s Studies degree
Lakehead University• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
Nipissing University• Bachelor of Arts
Wilfrid Laurier University - Brantford Campus• Honours Bachelor of Arts
• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
University of Windsor• BA Honours in Disability Studies


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Griffith University• Bachelor of Human Services
• Bachelor of Social Work

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant term.


Please select the curriculum from the Academic Year in which you started (or will be starting) your studies. An Academic Year begins in September and ends in August of the following year.

2014/2015 Academic Year
Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC150 College English 3
GWL137 Introduction to Aging 3
GWL147 Gerontology Field Work Seminar 3
SLL307 Sociology: A Practical Approach 3
SSW101 Interpersonal Communications 3
SSW102 Diversity: Awareness and Practice 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
GWL208 Gerontological Group and Activation Techniques 3
GWL212 Interviewing and Assessing Older Adults 3
GWL219 The Retirement Home Industry - Overview and Skills 3
GWL247 Integrative Field Work Seminar 2
GWL257 Gerontology Field Work 14
GWL261 Therapeutic Program Planning 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
GWL318 Therapeutic Interventions for Dementia 3
GWL347 Integrative Field Work Seminar 2
GWL357 Gerontology Field Work 14
GWL377 Volunteer Program Management 3
SSW311 Case Co-ordination and Advocacy Strategies 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 4 Course Name Hrs/Wk
GWL407 Death, Dying, Grief and Bereavement 2
GWL447 Integrative Field Work Seminar 3
GWL457 Field Practice 14
SSW402 Community Practice 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3

2015/2016 Academic Year
Semester 1
College English
Introduction to Aging
Gerontology Field Work Seminar
Sociology: A Practical Approach
Interpersonal Communications
Semester 2
Gerontological Group
Retirement Homes
Integrative Field Work
Gerontology Field Work
Therapeutic Program Planning
Interviewing and Assessing Older Adults
General Education Option
Semester 3
Therapeutic Interventions for Dementia
Integrative Field Work
Gerontology Field Work
Volunteer Program Management
Case Co-ordination and Advocacy Strategies
General Education Option
Semester 4
Death, Dying, Grief and Bereavement
Integrative Field Work
Gerontology Field Work
Community Practice
General Education Option

Contact Us

Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55013
International Admissions Advisor: Valentyna Gorodovych
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22432
Registration & Records Advisor:
  Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55026
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator: Michele Green
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55448
Program Chair: Biljana Bruce
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55002
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