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About School Social Work

School social work is a specialized field of practice within the social work profession. Individuals employed as school social workers must meet the criteria set forth by the Michigan Department of Education in the Public School Code. Specifically, they must have earned a Master of Social Work degree, which includes a minimum of 500 clock hours of supervised social work practicum experience. In addition, school social workers must have demonstrated knowledge/competence in four additional areas: 1) child psychopathology 2) diagnosis, assessment and testing, 3) educational disabilities and their impact on children and families, and 4) the practice of social work in educational settings. 


School Social Work Approval Process

School social workers must be approved by the Michigan Department of Education. The MDE relies on Michigan universities to prepare candidates for school social work positions and to provide letters verifying their eligibility. The current procedure for securing approval is as follows:Candidates for school social work positions should show potential employers a copy of a form SSW- 310 from a Michigan University, verifying their eligibility for a recommendation.Once a person is hired as a school social worker, the employing district should notify their Intermediate School District (ISD) Approval Coordinator.The ISD will contact the MDE for temporary approval, or the initial year of service.The district should arrange for a fully approved school social worker to provide direction to the new employee.Full approval as a school social worker may be granted by the MDE upon written documentation from the employing school district of satisfactory completion of one year as a school social worker. 

If you are considering applying for School Social Work approval in Michigan, but you are coming from another state, then please follow the directions from the MDE by clicking here.


Questions about the School Social Work Approval Process may be directed to Sungti Hsu, Contract Consultant, Professional Preparation and Learning, at or 517-241-4546.


Dual Requirement

All individuals identifying themselves as social workers in Michigan, including school social workers, must register with the State of Michigan Board of Examiners of Social Workers, Department of Community Health. The employing district should request documentation of this registration from the employee.

Source: MASSW School Administrator Packet 1997



Licensing of Social Workers

A Limited Master's Social Work License process is in place towards individuals working towards full eligibility of Licensure.  It is required for SSWs to have this license at a minimum.   Be aware that School Social Work is a clinical practice and you should indicate such within your application.


You may apply on-line at:


 More information is available through the Michigan Board of Social Work at:,1607,7-132-27417_27529_27554---,00.html


Social Worker License Requirements Update from Michigan Dept. of Education - February 21, 2019


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