From next year, people wanting to become social workers will need professional certification, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) said on Friday.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Personnel, the ministry launched an exam guide for certification.
"It will be the first time that social work has been officially recognized as a profession in China," Li Liguo, the vice-minister of the MCA told a press conference in Beijing.
"Although it will take time, social workers with professional certification will become a new nationwide trend."
People looking to become social workers will have to demonstrate a good ability to solve practical problems and have relevent work experience, Li said.
The examination will test applicants' ability to objectively analyse various problems.
"Many social workers specialize in working with a particular group of people or setting. They need to improve their theoretical knowledge by helping people cope with issues in their everyday lives, such as dealing with relationships and solving personal and family problems," Li said.
People who need the services of a social worker include those with disabilities and life-threatening diseases or have a conflict at home.
Zhao Lingyun, a social worker from Beijing's Dongcheng district, said: "Being a social worker, I think professional certification is a good policy for us."
Liu Jianjun, a university gradate who was formerly a social worker at the Community of Longtan Street in Beijing, said: "The exam for the certification will be a good guide for people studying social work at university.
"All of the 109 social workers in our community are now preparing for the exam."
(China Daily December 22, 2007)