Skip to main content

Social Service Worker - Gerontology (Accelerated)

Available: Summer

Program Description

Canada is experiencing a major demographic change, with a quickly increasing aging population. There is a need for trained and knowledgeable professionals to help seniors meet the challenges that come with aging. This is the accelerated version of the Social Service Worker Gerontology (SSWG) program.

The Social Service Worker – Gerontology Accelerated 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 assessment of clients, program planning; individual and group modes of facilitation; interventions with clients, their families and significant others; case co-ordination and advocacy; interpersonal communication and skills related to working with bereavement and grief. You will become familiar with the various support services for seniors in Ontario and how they are administered, and the relevant legislation which applies to working with seniors. Course content includes mandated government initiatives for working with seniors, and the most recent accepted best practices. In addition to required courses, students are offered the opportunity to participate in additional educational workshops and training.

Your studies in this 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, 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 this program are: study skills, time management, class attendance and participation, taking personal responsibility for the outcomes of ones' 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.

The accelerated program is demanding and requires students with good academic, time management and interpersonal skills, along with emotional maturity and the ability for self reflection.


This is an accelerated program for those who completed a Bachelor of Arts in such fields as Gerontology, Social Sciences, Public Administration, or related field. Graduates of Applied Health Sciences degrees such as registered nursing or therapeutic recreation degrees will also be considered. Graduates with other degrees (e.g. Business) are welcome to apply and will be considered on an individual basis.

This program consists of a 7-week intensive summer semester (Semester 1) starting in early May each year, followed by a regular academic year commencing the day after Labour Day and concluding in mid-April (Semesters 2 and 3).

Field Work

As a student in this program, your field work will begin in semester two and continue in semester three. Students complete 220 hours of field work in each semester.

Field work is a valuable opportunity to gain work experience while meeting the learning outcomes of the 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 this program.

Students may do their placement in residential settings for seniors such as long term care facilities or retirement homes or in community agencies which provide programs and services to seniors living in the community including adult day programs, hospice, etc

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.

A Seneca field placement coordinator 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.

In order to be eligible for field work, you will be required to meet the criteria as set out in the "Social Service Worker Program Student Code of Conduct". In the placement, you will benefit from supervision and have specified hours, duties and accountabilities to both the college and agency representative. Field work is a mutually agreed contract for which you will be evaluated by the field placement supervisor. The minimum commitment is the successful completion of specific periods as set out in the Field Placement Student Contract.

Please note that students may be required to return to school during the Academic Advisement Week in January in order to do a block placement. The Social Service Worker Gerontology program courses are lecture and tutorial based, utilizing texts; some are practice-oriented and stress interpersonal skills and group dynamics. Students can expect to spend 20 to 25 hours each week on assignments, as well as two days per week in field placement in semester two and two days per week in semester three.

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 SSGA program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit .

Apply Online



3 Semesters (12 Months)

Credential Awarded

Ontario College Diploma

Your Career

Earn your Social Service Worker Gerontology diploma in three semesters with this accelerated program. 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 Accelerated (SSGA) diploma prepares graduates to provide community services and products to seniors with a wide range of physical, psychological, social and financial challenges. After graduation you may find fulfilling employment opportunities in residential settings for seniors such as retirement homes, 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.

Upon graduation, you will be eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Related Careers


This Seneca program has been validated by the Credential Validation Service as an Ontario College Credential as required by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility

  • Ontario University Degree (Bachelor of Arts) or equivalent in Social Sciences, Applied Community Services or Applied Health Sciences.
  • Under special circumstances, graduates from other areas of study or from diploma programs in a related area of study may be considered.
  • Five Social Science related credits at the postsecondary level.
  • English proficiency at the post-secondary level.

Prior to Field Placement

  • Current Police Vulnerable Sector screening.
  • A flu shot and TB test are required for placement at long-term care facilities.


Program Costs

Choose academic year:

Tuition – Domestic


Tuition – International


Book & Supply Costs


Please note: All costs are approximate, may vary by campus and are subject to change at any time without notice. Parking, locker and some mandatory incidental fees are among the charges not included in the figures above.

Program Details

The Degree and Credit Transfer Office provides a number of services for students continuing their education at Seneca, and for graduating students considering degree transfer options.

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at various post-secondary institutions. Please refer to the Degree Transfer Guide for more information.

Transfer Credit may be granted for courses deemed equivalent to courses at Seneca that have been completed at recognized postsecondary institutions. Additional information is available online.

Students who successfully complete this diploma program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, may be considered for admission into the 5th semester of the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health program, after a bridge semester in the summer.

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.

Also see: English and General Education requirements.


Need to know more about your application and/or the application process? Reach out to our admissions advisors for assistance.

416.491.5050 ext. 55013 [email protected]
416.491.5050 ext. 22364 [email protected]

Student Recruitment

Have questions about Seneca’s campuses, financial aid, student supports and more? Connect with one of our student recruiters for more information or to book a campus tour.

[email protected]
Additional Contacts
Financial Aid & Awards

Program Coordinator

Michele Green 416.491.5050 ext. 55448 [email protected]

Program Chair

Biljana Bruce 416.491.5050 ext. 55002 [email protected]

Why Choose Seneca?

Passionate, expert faculty from a range of professions

Real-world learning experiences through paid and non-paid work opportunities

Curriculums developed in collaboration with industry advisory committees

A variety of credentials offered from certificates, diplomas, degrees, and graduate certificates

Opportunities to pathway to higher level credentials at Seneca and other universities in our transfer partnership network