School social workers play an integral role in the lives of children, helping students balance school, home and community to achieve academic success. They work in a school setting where they interact and communicate directly with students and their families. Through social, emotional and behavioral competence, social workers help students plan for and achieve success that suits their individual needs.
The main goal of a school social worker is to ensure that students are mentally, physically and emotionally present in the classroom. School social workers are required to adapt to the ever changing school policies, nationwide educational models and social contexts of today’s complex educational landscape. Many of the issues that school social workers face are unique to a school environment, such as school attendance, bullying, school violence and support for students with multiple learning problems or risk factors.
If you majored in a general mental health field such as psychology or sociology and are interested in working in a school setting, earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) may be the right choice for you. With this degree, you can dive into a field that makes a great difference in the lives of students.
A Master of Social Work from an accredited institution may be required to become a practicing school social worker and, along with state certification, would allow you to become a school social worker at any grade level. More specialized and technical roles may be available to you when you have a master's degree.
The MSW@USC curriculum reflects the evolution of and innovations in the field of social work. The coursework explores emerging needs in the field to prepare a new kind of social worker who can meet the demands of 21st-century society.
SocialWork@Simmons is the online Master of Social Work (MSW) from Simmons School of Social Work, the oldest school of social work in the U.S. Focused on clinical social work training, SocialWork@Simmons’s online delivery allows aspiring social workers across the country the chance to earn a degree from Simmons’s acclaimed MSW program without relocating.
The University of Denver’s online Master of Social Work program is CSWE-accredited, with a concentration in Mental Health and Trauma. GRE scores are not required.
Each MSW program has its own prerequisites, so you should contact your accredited institution for detailed information regarding its policies. Depending on your school, you will be required to submit some or all of the following:
Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MSW program.
Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
Experience: Include any experience in social work that may be relevant.
Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
Your main academic and personal interests
Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
Why you wish to study at the university
Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
Resume/CV: Upload a copy of your most recent resume or curriculum vitae as part of your application.
Letters of recommendation: Submit your letters of recommendation. The number of letters required varies with each school. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline.
Test scores: Mail in copies of your test scores. Many schools require GRE General Test scores or TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students; however, some programs do not require test scores at all.
After completing a master’s program in school social work, the next step is to get licensed. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements for becoming a school social worker. The average salary for a school social worker employed in elementary and secondary schools in 2013 was $60,480. School social workers can work at the elementary, middle, or high school level.