School Social Work

The Certificate Program in School Social Work is for students who wish to work as a school social worker upon graduation from the MSW program, or focus on work with school-age children and adolescents. Courses for the Certificate Program in School Social Work are all taught online. One year of field placement in schools is also required. Completing the requirements of this certificate program will also fulfill the eligibility requirements for a recommendation of temporary approval as a School Social Worker. Open only to Clinical Social Work students in their concentration year.

Obtaining the certificate is an internal process within the MSU School of Social Work, provided as a means of demonstrating specialization and competence particular to working in schools.

Please note: You do not need to obtain the certificate in order to become eligible for temporary approval as a School Social Worker in the state of Michigan, although doing so serves as a formal mechanism representing your commitment and knowledge to this specialization. If scheduling or other restrictions prevent you from obtaining the certificate you still may meet the requirements during your MSW Program and the Coordinator of the Certificate Program will assist you in doing so.

For the Certificate Program in School Social Work you are required to complete at least one placement in a school setting. The state of Michigan does not require completion of a placement in a school setting. You are eligible for temporary approval with the completion of an MSW degree and the three specified courses.

How to apply

Currently enrolled MSW students may apply for admission to this certificate program. Students who have already earned the MSW degree are not eligible for the certificate program. Interested students must submit their certificate application at the time they submit their field application to the Field Office.

Download Certificate Program Application Form (pdf)

Applications must be submitted to:

Graduate Office

655 Auditorium Road
Baker Hall Room 239

East Lansing, MI 48824-1118

Students currently enrolled in the MSW program may contact Mark Nester, LMSW, for more information about how this certificate program assists students to prepare for temporary approval as a school social worker.

Background

To use the title of School Social Worker in the state of Michigan, individuals must meet criteria set forth by the Michigan Department of Education. Specifically, they must have earned their MSW degree and demonstrated knowledge/competency, usually through successful course completion in four basic areas:

  1. Child development
  2. Educational/psychological testing
  3. Children with disabilities (e.g. physical, developmental, emotional, and/or learning)
  4. Social work in educational settings

Content area requirements set by the Michigan Department of Education are to give the prospective school social worker an understanding of the school system as a social institution. In addition, the individual must understand the learning processes of different students, the impact of developmental stages on these students, and the role of the social worker within the school.

Please also note that in addition to meeting the Michigan Department of Education requirements to hold the title School Social Worker, to practice in the state of Michigan under this title you must also pursue and gain licensure as a Master’s Social Worker (LMSW).

Program components

  • Field placement:
    Field placements give students the opportunity to provide services in a school setting. It is highly recommended that students have at least one supervised clinical field placement with children or adolescents and their families. A year of supervised field experience in a school setting is preferred.

    Note: For the School Social Work Certificate Program you are required to complete at least one placement in a school setting. For the state of Michigan purpose, you are not required to complete a placement in a school setting. You are eligible for "temporary approval" with the completion of an MSW degree and the courses listed below.
  • Program:
    Courses for the Certificate Program in School Social Work are taught on the Internet. They are all offered within the framework of the semester, but may allow for self-paced work done totally online. Students are expected to participate in activities (e.g. lectures, informal seminars, certificate program meetings) sponsored by the School of Social Work.

    Completing the requirements of this Certificate Program will also fulfill the eligibility requirements for a recommendation of temporary approval as a School Social Worker.

Required Courses

The Certificate in School Social Work requires satisfactory completion of the following courses in addition to the courses required to earn the MSW degree:

SW 873 Social Work in Educational Settings
This is a 3 credit elective required for earning the certificate.

SW 874 Assessment and Testing in School Social Work
This is a 3 credit elective required for earning the certificate.

SW 875 School Social Work Intervention: Children with Special Needs
This is a 3 credit elective required for earning the certificate.

Specialized field education is arranged by the Field Education Office.

Students in this certificate program may also wish to take SW 475 School Violence: Causes and Interventions.