Social service workers with non-UK qualifications

Please read the following points very carefully before submitting a non-UK qualification. 

This information is for you if you hold a non-UK qualification and you are registered or wish to register on the following register parts:

  • residential child care services
  • day care of children services
  • school care accommodation services
  • care home services for adults
  • adult day care services
  • care at home services
  • housing support services.

1. We can only consider your non-UK qualification for registration purposes if you have European Economic Area (EEA) mutual recognition rights.

2. Having a non-UK qualification assessed is often time consuming and costly and it does not lead to the award of a qualification. Most of the qualifications we assess do not fully meet the qualification requirement because they are different to the standards we must assess against. Gaining the Scottish benchmark qualification is usually a better way forward. 

Gaining the Scottish benchmark qualification:

  • is a good way to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding of care practice in the Scottish context
  • makes sure your knowledge, skills and values are up to date
  • gives you a qualification recognised by employers
  • can help if you change job and need to register for a different role
  • can be done while you carry out your day-to-day work
  • is often a quicker and cheaper way to meet qualification requirement. 

3. We can only assess qualifications specific to the social service professions that we regulate. We cannot assess teaching or nursing qualifications for example. 


How will you assess my qualification?

We will assess your qualification against our assessment criteria.  We require detailed information about the curriculum that you followed and the way it was assessed to do this.  If we find substantial differences or we do not have enough detailed information, we will consider the extent to which additional learning since you completed your qualification (post-qualifying learning) might make up for this.  The outcome of any assessment is to accept or require you to complete a compensatory measure.


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What are the qualification assessment criteria?

Will you take into account my professional experience and any additional training?

Yes, in addition to your qualification, as part of every assessment we will also take into account relevant learning completed since you gained your qualification (post-qualifying learning). You do not have to tell us about your post-qualifying learning, but if your qualification does not fully meet the criteria, we can assess the extent to which post-qualifying learning makes up for this.


You can tell us about a range of formal, non-formal and informal learning.


Formal learning


This is learning certificated by a recognised awarding or professional body. Please note that it must contain observed and assessed practice. To tell us about formal learning, you should obtain from the training provider an award certificate, information about the content of the training, information about the observed and assessed practice, confirmation of the academic level of the training and evidence that the training was assessed and quality assured against recognised standards.


Non-formal and informal learning


Non-formal learning includes learning such as employers’ in-house training courses, which may or may not be assessed and/or certificated.


Informal learning is learning based on experience from a variety of environments that is not formally assessed. It may include learning from practice, supervision, project work (eg. setting up a new activity), attendance at conferences or seminars, reading relevant literature and updating knowledge through the media.


To tell us about non-formal and informal learning, we ask that you write reflective accounts about how this learning has helped you develop your professional knowledge, skills and understanding, how you have applied this learning in practical contexts and how you intend to make use of this learning to change your future practice.


Please note that you must show a reflective style in your work.


Please see further guidance for your register part.

What is a compensatory measure?

There are two types of compensatory measure. One is an adaptation period. This involves completing either a part of, or the whole of the benchmark qualification for your register part. The other is an aptitude test.


If your qualification and any post-qualifying learning do not fully meet the criteria for registration, we will ask you to complete a compensatory measure.  


You would choose which type of compensatory measure to take. If you chose an adaptation period, you would have to organise this yourself and cover any costs involved. If you chose an aptitude test, you would pay a test fee of £640. If you did not pass and chose a second test you would pay a second test fee.




How do I apply?

Please apply online. If you are unable to apply online for any reason, please contact us at: or telephone +44 (0)1382 20710 (outside UK) 01382 207101 (inside UK).

What information do you need to assess my qualification?

To carry out a meaningful assessment, we need to have a good understanding of the curriculum that you followed and how it was assessed. We also need information about the ethics/values underpinning your training. You should not assume that we know all about your qualification. Please find below a checklist of the information we need you to provide.

  • an application to register
  • application fee – you can find a breakdown of the application fees for each register part here
  • £320 non-UK qualification fee
  • a copy of the identity page of your current passport
  • a copy of your final qualification award certificate
  • a transcript from your training provider clearly listing the units you studied and passed in each term or semester of your course
  • information from your training provider about the content of each of the units listed on your transcript.  (We are looking to understand the learning outcomes for each unit, ie what the learner had to know, understand and be able to do to successfully complete each unit).  We cannot assess your qualification without this.
  • information from your training provider about the practice placements you completed as part of your course.  We cannot assess your qualification without this.


How much will it cost?

Application fee

Breakdown of application fees

Non-UK qualification assessment fee

£320 (plus application fee) 

All applicants are required to become a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme unless they are already employed in Scotland by an employer who can provide Disclosure Scotland or a Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme record check.



  • The outcome of most assessments is to require you to complete a compensatory measure. There are two types of compensatory measure. One is an aptitude test. There is a charge £640 for each test. The other is an adaptation period, which involves completing either a part of, or the whole of the benchmark qualification for your register part. You would have to organise this yourself and cover any costs involved.
    • If the information you send us is not in English, you should also send us an English translation. It may cost you money to have information translated.


How long will it take to assess my qualification?

Providing you send us all the information we request and it is clear, we will try to advise you of the outcome of your application within four months of receipt. Additional time may be required if we have to ask for further information or seek clarification.

Can I practise while my application is being processed?

Yes. The register for social service workers is function based, rather than qualification based. You must be performing a relevant role in a service registered by the Care Inspectorate to be eligible to register with us. You must gain registration within six months of your start date.