Experience pathway: S13

If you have extensive experience practising social work in New Zealand but no SWRB-recognised social work qualification, you may be eligible for registration under the experience pathway, ie S13 of the Social Workers Registration Act.

The SWRB is changing the application process and we will post that information once it is finalised.

Until that occurs, it might be useful to know that the following principles will apply to the process. These principles have been endorsed by the SWRB Board.



Provides evidence of significant social work experience in New Zealand

Knowledgeable and competent

Demonstrates the SWRB 10 core competence standards, including:

  • an understanding of social work theory
  • competence to practise social work with Māori
  • competence to practise social work with different ethnic and cultural groups in New Zealand.


Can describe their practice and call on others who will verify and vouch for their social work practice skills.

Fit and proper

Meets the current SWRB requirements to provide assurance of safe practice. Practises in accordance with the SWRB Code of Conduct.

Professionally connected

Identifies a range of professional connections within social work, engages in regular supervision and continuing professional development.

Ethical and reflective

Provides evidence of ethical and reflective practice and an awareness of the the SWRB Code of Conduct and the ANZASW Code of Ethics.


Can call on the support of other registered social workers to provide assurance of competence and quality.

The new principles use multiple reference points to assess the practical experience of the social worker. The endorsement of professional colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, and the applicant’s self-assessment provide a robust framework to consider suitability for registration.

If you are considering making an application using the Experience Pathway: S13, please call us before you start and we would be happy to talk with you, on 04 931 2650 or 0508 797 269.