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Who should register and why

We register social workers, social work students and most roles in social care and children and young people services across Scotland.

Use the headers below for more information about each of these roles.

Social workers can register if they hold an appropriate social work qualification.

If you gained your qualification outside Scotland we must assess your qualification against Scottish standards. You cannot work as a social worker until we complete our assessment and accept your qualification.

Once we accept your qualification, the registration rules are the same as for those with a qualification gained in Scotland. This means:

  • if have not worked as a social worker in Scotland before, you can work but must be registered within six months of starting work as a social worker
  • if you have worked as a social worker in Scotland before, you must be registered before you can start work.

Outwith Scotland

We do not register social workers until they are either living in or have gained employment in Scotland.

If you apply for registration, we will process and hold your application for six months. If you do not start living or working in Scotland within this time, we will reject your application. As the initial fee is for processing, we will not refund it.

Returning to social work practice

If you were previously registered with the SSSC but have been off the Register and out of practice for more than two years, you’ll need to meet the return to practice requirements.

Social work students

Social work students should apply for registration as soon as you have a confirmed place on an approved social work degree course. If your application is successful, you will be registered when your course starts.

We register people working in social care and children and young people services that are registered with the Care Inspectorate. This includes people who work in early years and residential childcare, adult day care and residential care, care at home and housing support services.

You should check with your employer to find out if your role needs registration. Agency and relief workers must also register with us if they are doing a role that requires registration.

Time to register

It is important to apply for registration as soon as possible and within three months of starting your role. You must be registered within six months.


To register you need to hold a relevant qualification or agree to work towards achieving the qualifications required for the job you do.

If you’re registered with another regulator

If you are registered with one of the regulatory bodies listed below you do not need to register with us, unless you are a social worker or social work student. 

Being registered with the SSSC means you are part of a professional workforce like teachers and nurses. Over 174,000 people who care for our most vulnerable people are on our Register. The people you care for are protected because staff follow the SSSC Codes of Practice in their daily work. If practice or conduct falls below the standards in the Codes, we can investigate and take action. 

The Codes let you know what’s expected of you as a registrant and the people you work with what they can expect of their care worker. 

Gaining a qualification for registration demonstrates you have skills and knowledge to carry out your role, it supports your career, increases your confidence and improves your professional practice. 

Access to resources and learning tools

Whatever your role and level of experience, you have access to a range of free resources and apps to support your learning. You will find all the resources and learning tools on our CPL website.

Who should apply to register

Registration is compulsory for many social service roles so visit our ‘Help with Register parts, fees and qualifications tool' for more information.

Access the tool here

Search the Register

Check the registration status of a social worker or social care worker employed in Scotland

Search the Register

Continuous professional learning (CPL)

Continuous professional learning (CPL) is the learning we do for work which helps us develop our knowledge, skills and professional behaviour so we can deliver our best practice.

SSSC Codes of Practice

The Codes of Practice set out the standards of practice and behaviour expected of social service workers and their employers.

Registration and MySSSC help centre

Visit our registration and MySSSC help centre to find the answers to common questions, including qualifications for registration, MySSSC accounts and employer access.