School of Social Work - Continuing Education
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Basic Information about School Social Work

  1. What is school social work?
  2. What are the state of Michigan requirements for becoming a school social worker?
  3. How can I achieve this at Michigan State University?
  4. What is required upon completion of the School Social Work requirements?

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  1. What is school social work?
    School social work is a specialized area of practice within the social work profession. School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student services team due to their training, professional values and ethics, appreciation for human diversity, emphasis on social and economic justice, and understanding of social welfare policy and services.

Like all direct social work practice, school social work uses a person-in-environment approach that acknowledges the dual perspective of person and environment and recognizes that an individual cannot be understood apart from the context of their environment.

School social workers use their clinical skills to provide psycho-educational assessments as a member of a school-based multidisciplinary team. They have knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder, emotional/behavior disorders, and mental health and medical concerns which impact student learning.

Schools have employed school social workers for more than 100 years. School social workers are instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools, which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and the attainment of competence and confidence.

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  1. What are the state of Michigan requirements for becoming a school social worker?
    In Michigan, school social workers must hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and have successfully completed specific specialized training in helping students within the context of local schools. There is an explicit and detailed specific process for becoming approved as a school social worker in the state of Michigan. Candidates interested in becoming a School Social Worker must meet the requirements set forth by Michigan State University as per the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). There are three steps to becoming a fully approved school social worker:

This information (current as of March 2014) is also set out in an MDE pdf document.

The Department of Education Administrative Rules for School Social Workers (pdf) can be downloaded HERE.

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  1. How can I achieve this at Michigan State University?
    The MSU School of Social Work offers several options toward meeting the School Social Worker requirements and qualifying for a recommendation for temporary approval (310) as a school social worker in Michigan.
  1. What is required upon completion of the School Social Work requirements?
    The MSU School of Social Work requires this application to be completed by all MSU students whether you are in the certificate program or not.

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