As a Social Worker, or Social Work Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, you are a commissioned member of the Canadian Forces Medical Service. Working in collaboration with other health care professionals, your primary duty will be to deliver professional social work services in a military environment to support the morale, efficiency and mental health of Canada's soldiers, sailors and air personnel.
As well as the full range of challenges common to Canadian society, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families cope with additional stresses associated with frequent moves and separations, which may give rise to social and family circumstances involving complex social work interventions. As a Social Work Officer, you will ensure that your fellow Canadian Armed Forces members receive the clinical social work services normally available to civilians through community mental health and social services agencies.
Social Work Officers are vital members of the Canadian Armed Forces multidisciplinary medical services team. As a Social Work Officer, you will work in an office at a base, wing or garrison, and you may deploy overseas on operational missions.
Appropriate training, environmental clothing and protective equipment are provided. Support for your health, safety and morale is essential and readily available.
Pay and Benefits
Your pay in the Canadian Armed Forces is based on your occupation and rank. The starting salary for a fully-trained Social Work Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) or Captain, your salary is approximately $73,000 per year.
All service personnel, men and women, married or single, are paid on the same scale. As a Regular Force member, you will also receive valuable opportunities for ongoing education and training, as well as family and personal benefits supporting work-life balance and a strong pension plan.
Training and Advancement
As a Canadian Armed Forces member, you will receive continuous support to advance your career, the chance to travel the world, and many other tangible services and benefits.
Your career in the Canadian Armed Forces starts with training, including several months at facilities across Canada, followed by a period of obligatory service.
If you demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential, you will receive opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
Phase 1: Basic Military Officer Qualification (14 weeks)
Following your successful application, you will be enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces and undertake the Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. You will learn the principles of leadership, the regulations and customs of the service, basic weapons handling and first aid. You will also take part in a rigorous program of sports and fitness training. The BMOQ is instructed in English or in French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
After the BMOQ, you may attend a second language training course lasting from two to 12 months, depending on your second language proficiency.
Phase 2: On-the-Job Training (6-12 months)
The next phase is on-the-job training at a Canadian Armed Forces base, wing or garrison with an experienced Social Work Officer. During this process, you will expand and broaden your clinical social work practice approaches in order to be more effective within the Canadian Forces Medical Services.
A successful candidate must:
- Be a Canadian Citizen
- Be 17 years of age or older (with parental or guardian consent if under 18)
- Meet Canadian Armed Forces medical standards
- Successfully complete selection process, interview and examinations
- Pass physical fitness tests
- Have a Bachelor of Social Work (see Direct Entry Officer below)
The Canadian military is one of the most highly trained and respected forces in the world. Above all, the Canadian Armed Forces values strength of character and team contributions. This means that regardless of your gender, religion or ethnicity, the Canadian Armed Forces invites you to be a part of its team and to explore the opportunities it has to offer.
The Canadian Armed Forces has also taken great strides in safeguarding the equality of women. By adopting a "no exclusion policy," it has become one of the only militaries in the world to remove all barriers to full and equal service for all its members. This means that women have the opportunity to work any job in the Canadian Armed Forces.
How to Apply
Direct Entry Officer
To qualify for direct entry as an officer, you must have a university degree. Social Work Officers require a minimum of a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), although preference is normally given to those who hold a Master of Social Work (MSW). For selected candidates at the BSW level, the Canadian Armed Forces pay the MSW with proof of unconditional acceptance to an accredited social work program at a Canadian university (the accreditation is from the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work). A concentration in clinical practice is required. You also need to be registered with the professional social work association of a Canadian province or territory. Three years of clinical experience with adult mental health as a registered social worker (psychosocial and family counselling) acquired within the last five years is a requirement.
Find out more about becoming a Canadian Armed Forces Social Work Officer and see what other opportunities are available at FORCES.CA, call 1-800-856-8488 or visit your nearest Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre.