Social Services Diploma - First Nations Option

What type of career can I expect?

This diploma program will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in many different fields. Some examples that you’ll be qualified for once you’ve earned your diploma include the following: 

  • Community service worker 
  • Teacher’s aide
  • Social work assistant
  • Mental health worker
  • Family support worker
  • Seniors’ support worker

You might also find work in agencies such as aboriginal counselling services, aboriginal friendship centres, alcohol and drug treatment centres, aboriginal court services, other aboriginal agencies, and settings in health care, correctional justice, employment services, family services, and education.

Many graduates find jobs through their fieldwork placements, which are carefully selected for employment potential. However, completion of the program does not guarantee that you will find the job of your choice immediately upon graduation.

Why take the Social Services diploma — First Nations option?

Our program is designed to prepare aboriginal students or those with strong ties to aboriginal communities to work with First Nations people to enhance their self-reliance both on and off reserves. Working from a Stó:lõ perspective, as a graduate of the First Nations option, you will work with individuals and groups on several issues that affect aboriginal communities. Those issues may include child and sexual abuse, substance abuse, family violence, wellness issues, and economic development.

As First Nations people assume more responsibility for their child welfare, health care, and education services, the demand will grow for First Nations social service workers, namely graduates of this program to provide services to the community in a culturally appropriate fashion.

This 62-credit program will provide you with direct employment-related skills while at the same time giving you up to one and a half years of credit towards your Bachelor of Social Work degree at UFV. If you are interested in becoming a professional social worker, this program will allow you to develop skills and seek employment as a First Nations social service worker before you embark on a professional degree. Given the nature of employment in this field, we expect this program will be of interest to mature students who will bring their wealth of life experience with them. Prior learning assessment will be available to determine if those life experiences may be equated to an academic credit.

Why take this program at UFV?

You have ambitious career goals. We realize that. The Social Services diploma with a First Nations option can be tailored to suit your future education plans. Not only will the program provide you with employment-related skills, it will also give you the opportunity to earn up to 54 credits towards your Bachelor of Social Work at UFV. So if you’re interested in becoming a professional social worker, you’ll be able to develop skills and gain employment as a First Nations social service worker before you venture on to earn your degree.

Throughout this program, the main goal is to provide you with the specific skills and knowledge needed to work with First Nations communities on issues of concern to First Nations people. At the same time, you’ll acquire skills and knowledge to work with non-First Nations individuals, groups, and communities.

What type of courses will I take?

This is a suggested outline for your studies; however, you can take courses in any order as long as the prerequisites for each course are met.

First Year - Fall Semester
Course #Title
CMNS 155 Communications for Human Services
or ENGL 105 The Reading and Writing of Prose
SOWK 110 Introduction to Social Work and Human Services
FNST 101 Stó:lõ Nation Development


First Year - Winter Semester
Course #Title
ANTH 111 First Nations in BC: Traditional Cultures
or ANTH 112 Aboriginal Peoples in BC COntemporay Issues
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology I
HSER 120 Introduction to Interpersonal Communications


Second Year - Fall Semester
Course #Title
HSER 129 Practicum Seminar
HSER 200 Counselling Skills
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
Elective Group B


Second Year - Winter Semester
Course #Title
HSER 130 Practicum I
SOWK 210 Introduction to Social Welfare
FNST 102 Sto:lo Traditional Ways of Healing and Helping


Second Year - Summer Semester
Course #Title
HSER 229 Practicum Seminar II


Third Year - Fall Semester
Course #Title
FNST 201 Aboriginal Communications Stó:lõ World View
HSER 230 Practicum II
Elective Group A


Third Year - Winter Semester
Course #Title
FNST 202 Stó:lõ Social Structure
HSER 250 Integration of Social Services Theory and Practice
CMNS 251 Professional Report Writing


Note on electives: Please visit the Academic Calendar for a list of approved elective courses.

What do I need to get in?

You’ll need your B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent (ABE Provincial, Advanced, or GED). If you’re a mature student and have at least three university-transfer credits that apply to the program, then you do not require a high school transcript.

To qualify for the program you must:

  • be physically and emotionally prepared to undertake this program of studies
  • be willing to undergo a criminal record check
  • meet the prerequisite for CMNS 155 

Your suitability for the program will by assessed by a point rating system. Points are awarded for past academic education, all work or volunteer experience (social services or other), your demonstrated writing ability, two reference letters, a personal statement, and how well you do during a group interview. The group interview generally consists of four to six students and two Social Services department members. You will have an opportunity to discuss your career goals and your knowledge of the field. You must also demonstrate appropriate interpersonal and life skills. Admission will be granted on a first-qualified, first-served basis to those scoring above the required threshold and who have completed a successful interview.

For more information, visit the Academic Calendar.

How much does it cost? Can I afford to take this program?

It’s best to check out our Academic Calendar and go to the Fees and Other Costs section. Keep in mind that textbooks and additional supplies will cost more. It’s worth a visit to the UFV Financial Aid and Awards Office, which facilitates the disbursement each year of about $12 million in federal and provincial student loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, and awards to UFV students. A helpful budget planning worksheet is available on the Helpful Resources webpage.

Once I complete my diploma, what are my options for future study?

As a graduate with the First Nations option, you may be able to ladder up to 54 credits towards UFV’s Bachelor of Social Work program. If you are intending to apply for your BSW, you must complete a human development course such as PSYC 250 or SOWK 225 and an introductory statistics course like PSYC 110 or MATH 104.

You can ask for more information from the Social Work and Human Services department regarding other BSW entrance requirements.Other related courses that might interest you include:

  • Family Dynamics (HSER 283)
  • Human Development (SOWK 225)
  • SW Practice with Groups (SOWK 301)
  • Substance Misuse Issues (SOWK 394)

I’m not sure that this program is for me. Can I speak with someone about my options?

Absolutely! We want to hear from you. If you’re unsure of your direction, contact the Advising Centre to book an advising appointment.

To arrange a tour, attend an info session, or find other useful resources, visit the Future Students webpage.

What sort of support will I get?

Plenty. For more information about support and student services at UFV, visit Student Services and learn about the broad range of services designed to help you learn about and adjust to the university environment.

You can also enjoy the services of S’olh Shxwlèlí — Indigenous Student Centre. Aboriginal students from Stó:lõ territory, as well as from other territories, are an important part of UFV’s student population. S’olh Shxwlèlí means “our places” in Halq’emeylem. Cultural activities, which are open to all students, include luncheons, circle meetings, Elder visits and gatherings, workshops, and many other events both on- and off-campus. 


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