School Social Worker Specialization

SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER

The school social work eligibility program assists WMU students and graduates to meet the Michigan Department of Education criteria for certification as Michigan School Social Workers. The criteria for eligibility are:

  1. A completed MSW degree
  2. Successful completion (grade of “B” or better) of at least one direct interpersonal practice course (SWRK 6360, 6660, or 6680)
  3. Successful completion (grade of "B" or better) of additional courses in:
    1. Policies and Standards in School Social Work (SWRK 6200),
    2. Assessment for School Social Workers (SWRK 6210 or 6640) and;
    3. Interventions for School Social Workers (SWRK 6220 or 6640)
  4. Written proof from the appropriate WMU Field Coordinator stating you have completed 500 hours of field education working primarily with children and families. The 500 hours can be completed at one internship site or at multiple sites, as long as the primary duties working with children and families is consistent. Applicants may also use equivalent experience which is defined in the following manner and should be on letterhead of the appropriate agency and signed by the supervisor.
    1. Work (paid or unpaid) in a setting serving children or adolescents and their families, with supervision by a social worker with a LMSW license, for 400 hours. The supervisor must provide a letter of recommendation attesting to the applicant's satisfactory work with this client population.
    2. At least two years of post-Masters work in the field, with at least 300 documented hours of supervised work experience with children and families.
    3. Five or more years of post-Masters Social Work experience including 150 hours of supervised experience with children and families, and 150 documented hours of work with children, regardless of setting (e.g. parent volunteer, youth group leader/volunteer, recreation work like coaching)
    4. Work as a public school teacher or paraprofessional may substitute for some of the required work experience

While you may use equivalent experience, a field experience in the school setting is preferred.

Upon completion of these requirements, the School Social Work Coordinator must be notified through a completed formal application and must be provided with verification of the completed requirements. After the application is received, applicants will be issued a school social work certification form (REC: SSW-310) certifying that she/he is eligible for “Temporary Approval as a School Social Worker”. Applicants bring this certification to prospective employers when applying for school social work positions. Eligibility is good for five years. If employment as a school social worker is not secured within five years, applicants must take a refresher course and re-apply for temporary approval.

Once employed in a school system, the school district sends the school social work certification form (REC: SSW-310) to the State Department of Education along with verification of employment. Temporary approvals are not granted until employment as a School Social Worker has been secured in a Michigan public school. Final school social work approval is granted after the completion of one school year of full-time employment as a School Social Worker. Employment must be supervised by an Approved School Social Worker. Ongoing approvals are arranged by the employing school system with the Michigan State Board of Education.

In order to ensure that Western Michigan University students, graduates, and area school systems are informed about the process of School Social Work Eligibility, the Director of Admissions and Student Services, Ms. Amy Vliek (269) 387-3200, serves as the School Social Work Coordinator.  If you are interested in pursuing School Social Work, please make an appointment with Amy Vliek during the fall semester.

SSW-310 Application