Social Service Designee in Long Term Care – Online Certification


Includes PDPM & Trauma-Informed Care updates


Social Service Designee Online Certification

This course provides a comprehensive educational foundation for the role of Social Service Designee (SSD) in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) post-acute and rehabilitation environment.

Program objectives include:

1) Identify the role of the Social Service Designee in a skilled nursing/ post-acute/rehabilitation environment

2) Identify, regulations, policies, and best practices for social services in a skilled nursing post-acute/rehabilitation environment

3) Create an individualized care plan and describe the social service components of the plan

4) Learn to explain and complete the MDS 3.0 Assessment

5) Understand the social service role and how to work with an interdisciplinary care team

6) Understand the components of a Psychosocial Assessment and proper documentation of psychosocial needs

7) Understand the Survey process of the agency enforcing laws and regulations and what Surveyors are looking for in the area of social services

8) Provide outstanding psychosocial care to your residents and their families

This program is developed and narrated by Tracy Greene Mintz, LCSW, a popular speaker and expert in nursing home social services and owner of Senior Care Training. Completion of this 6-module series provides the learner with a Social Service Designee Certification. The program can be taken entirely at a self-directed pace, it includes learning checks, interactive case scenarios to apply the knowledge learned, and a final exam. Learners can stop and start the program at their convenience. The Certificate will be available immediately upon completion of the program. Learners must pass final exam with 80% or more; may re-take as often as needed.

The running time for this program is approximately 10 hours. However, because this program is made up of 6 separate modules that each contain learning checks and case scenarios and can be taken entirely at a self-directed pace, running time may vary per learner.

This program is approved for 6 Contact Hours for Nurses. CareerSmart® is an approved provider by the California Board of Registered Nurses (CA BRN) and the Florida Board of Nurses (FL BON). Many other states accept courses approved by these Boards, but we recommend you check with your individual state of licensure to be sure.


Do I need to have a degree to get the SSD certification or become an SSD?

No, not typically for facilities under 120 beds, but this can vary by state. This is a vocational certificate to show training in the delivery of medically-related social services in skilled nursing. Facilities with over 120 beds need to employ a degreed social worker on a full-time basis, but you do not need a degree to get the certificate.

How do I know if I meet the minimum qualifications to be an SSD or if this program is appropriate for me in my state?

This program meets the requirements in most states, however, check your state laws and regulations to confirm and to ascertain if there are specific state requirements.

What if my degree is in a subject outside of the behavioral or social sciences but I want to work in Social Service; would I be qualified to be an SSD?

For a facility over 120 beds, the federal requirement is:
(i) A bachelor’s degree in social work or a bachelor’s degree in a human services field including but not limited to sociology, gerontology, special education, rehabilitation counseling, and psychology; and

(ii) One year of supervised social work experience in a health care setting working directly with individuals

Check your state law as well.

For facilities under 120 beds, this may not be applicable.

Can extensive experience in long term care substitute for a degree?

If the degree requirement is applicable (or facility size is greater than 120 beds), then, no, experience cannot substitute per the law referenced above. For facilities under 120 beds, this is not applicable.

Why do some online resources indicate the SSD program is a 36 or 48-hour program, but this one is only 10 hours?

There are no federal rules about the length of the social service training, however, some states have program length requirements for the Activity Leader training and some SSD programs are modeled on that. Our class is a self-paced program modeled on the 36-hour program. Some students may move through the material in more or less time.

Should I have this Certificate before I apply for a job or is this something I could get after being employed in a long term care facility?

Most employers look for this training as evidence of proficiency and if an SSD applicant doesn’t have the training prior to employment, it is common to complete it after employment. In fact, there are experienced SSD’s who have taken this training and indicated they still learned new information, especially since the training includes regulation updates. In addition, even degreed social workers who are new to SNF social services appreciate the training. Although there is no federal requirement for this training, it is an industry best practice to obtain it and it is something that can improve employability in this field.

What differentiates this program from others?

Most other programs require attendance in a classroom and thus, are less conducive to working schedules. Other programs are also taught by a nurse. Our online SSD class is developed and taught by a licensed clinical social worker with 18 years’ experience working in skilled nursing. Thus, learners will learn social services from a social worker with expertise in the field. In addition, students aren’t tied to attending specific class dates, but rather can participate in our program at their own pace, including navigating through real life scenarios that you might encounter as an SSD.

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