Section 13 Application

Qualifying for registration through experience:  Section 13 Registration

Most social workers are eligible for registration through completing a recognised social work qualification.  However another pathway is available for those who have extensive practical experience in social work but no social work qualification. This is allowed under Section 13 of the Social Workers Registration Act (2003).

The Board considers each application for Section 13 registration on a case-by-case basis. Applicants are required to establish that their practical experience in practising social work in New Zealand is enough to compensate for the lack of a qualification. Board staff are available to provide assistance and clarification in preparing an application.

The Board has a two-part process for establishing whether an applicant meets the requirements for Section 13 – the level of practical experience that someone has attained, and whether that experience adequately compensates for the lack of a social work qualification. Both aspects must be addressed.

Determining the level of experience

In order to determine the level of the practical experience the Board takes into account the range, length, quality and nature of the Social Work practical experience. The criteria includes the extent to which the applicant:

  • practised social work before the introduction of the Act
  • has practised social work in New Zealand
  • has practised social work internationally
  • can demonstrate ongoing professional identity as a social worker
  • is able to demonstrate that their practical experience compensates for the lack of a social work qualification.
  • can demonstrate that their practice is based on social work theoretical knowledge
  • has participated in regular training and professional development relevant to social work in the course of their practice and that this training and professional development has developed their social work practice.

Translating experience into knowledge

To determine whether the experience compensates for the lack of a recognised social work qualification the Board considers whether the applicant can demonstrate:

  • the knowledge that would be obtained if the applicant had completed a social work qualification; and
  • application of that knowledge in examples of their practice.

What are the next steps?

If you think that you have sufficient social work practice experience to qualify for registration under Section 13 contact Barbara Gilray on 04 931 2655 or email in the first instance to discuss your social work background.

Please note that there is a non refundable application fee of $345.

In addition if the Board determines that you do meet the requirement for enough practical experience to be eligible for Section 13 registration, and you do not hold a current ANZASW competence certificate you will then be required to complete a SWRB competence assessment as part of the registration application process (at a cost of $255.55)

Download the SECTION 13 ‘Social Work Practice Framework’ template:

Social Work Practice Framework