School Social Worker Requirements
If you are considering becoming a social worker and need to know what would be required of you to build a career in the field, then this post will be helpful to you.
It treats the various school social worker requirements, including educational, job, and certification requirements you need to meet to start and build a successful career as a school social worker.
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School Social Worker Requirements for Career Success
Here are the various requirements you may be expected to meet to become a school social worker, get a job, and advance your career:
- School Social Worker Educational Requirements
First and foremost, the basic step in becoming a social worker is obtaining the necessary education. There is a number of educational paths to follow in line to becoming a social worker.
The kind of education you need to have for the School social worker career is given below:
- Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s degree in social work is the least and ideal program for this career path.
However, you can acquire a degree in Behavioral Sciences field such as Sociology, Psychology, Social Work or Child Development, which are in relation or valuable to an aspiring social worker.
A graduate of one of the above listed courses will be able to practice the knowledge and skills of a generalist social worker. This degree program usually takes four years to complete.
Requirements: To enlist for this program, the candidate must attain high school training and must pass Sociology, English Language and Writing, and Mathematics, and must have attained a certificate showing a completion of high school educational program.
- Master’s Degree: Most schools look for social workers with a Master’s degree, which prepares students for advanced positions.
You can acquire a Master’s degree in Counseling, Social Work, Child Development, or Psychology, or in a closely related course.
After completion of this program, a graduate should be able to apply critical thinking skills and sound cognitive reasoning.
Requirements: The candidate must attain a Bachelor’s degree in a related subject, such as Sociology or Psychology.
Most Master’s programs require a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater.
2. School Social Worker Job Requirements
The following are major requirements most recruiters may want you to meet to be hired as a school social worker:
- Must have attained a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (if necessary) in Social Work
- Compassion and empathy for patients and students: Social workers tend to people who are in distress and in difficult situations, and to develop strong relationship and trust; they must have compassion and sympathy for their clients
- Most Schools require school social workers to be licensed and have attained the certification to practice social work
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: Being able to work and relate with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need good communication skills to nurture productive relationship with their clients
- Listening skills: Clients discuss with social workers about the challenges in their lives; social workers must be able to listen to clients without doubt and understand their report
- Time-management skills: Social workers often have numerous clients or patients. They must be fast to attend to customers and effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to their clients
- Problem-solving skills: Social workers need to have critical thinking abilities to device practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems
- Organizational skills: School social workers should have profound organizational skills, which involve documenting their treatment; and the ability to manage multiple clients, often being assisted by their previously documented paperwork.
3. School Social Worker Certification Requirements
The purpose of social work licensing is to ensure safe professional practice in the field and a way to separate the certified ones from the crowd.
If you want to be a certified school social worker by an accredited certification program, you can consider enrolling in any of these programs:
- The Certified School Social Work Specialist (C-SSWS): This credential is a certification issued by the National Association of Social Workers. C-SSWS works with individuals, groups, and families, providing services like conflict mediation, resolution, and arbitration.
Requirements: To enroll in this program, you must have acquired a Master’s degree in Social Work from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, supervised social work experience in a school setting for two years.
- Licensed Bachelor of Social Work (LBSW): This certification is like a stepping stone into the field of social work. The social worker with a LBSW might not be able to provide counseling services to clients.
Requirements: In order to receive an LBSW, you must have graduated from an accredited university with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and have passed the licensure examination.
- Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW): This is the next step after completing LBSW. After acquiring this certification, you can find employment in schools, offices, and hospitals, and also take up managerial roles.
Requirements: In order to obtain a LMSW, you must first acquire a Master’s of Social Work degree. Then, you must pass your licensure exam before you will be issued the certificate.
- Licensed Master Social Worker-Advanced Generalist (LMSW-AG): Individuals with this certification provide services other than clinical social work.
Requirements: In order to obtain a LMSW-AG, you must have a Master’s degree in Social Work and have practiced for two years of unsupervised work in a non-clinical setting.
School Social Worker Responsibilities
A school social worker provides counseling to students, parents, guardians, and school staffs to ensure the psychological condition and social well-being of students is in order, from elementary to university age.
Shown below are highlights of the school social worker major responsibilities:
- School social worker counsels students with personal and psychological problems that affect their performance and behaviors in school
- They communicate with parents, teachers, and administrators to understand the various students’ challenges
- Providing counseling periods, treatment plans and schedules, and establishing prevention measures and intervention plans
- They give advice to students to enable them function effectively in the school environment
- They research and advocate for clients to get resources that would improve their well-being
- School social workers make inquires and follow up with clients to ensure that their situations have improved
- They help clients adjust to changes and challenges that might have caused harm or psychological distress in their lives, such as divorce, illness, or unemployment
- React to crisis situations such as child abuse and domestic violence
- They develop intervention strategies to improve academic success
- Alleviate and mitigate family stress to enable the child to function more effectively in school environment and community at large.
See more school social worker job description.