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Position 16: School Social Worker (Preparation Level 5)

Description: The Social Worker assists students with behavioral, mental, emotional or physical problems; counsels children and families arranges for needed child and/or family services; and helps to integrate students with special needs into the general school population. The social worker may also advise teachers on inclusion strategies and serves as a liaison between student, home, school and community resources.

 Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions: Knowledge of child and family development, children with special needs, cultural diversity issues, and a thorough understanding of community resources available to meet child and family needs. Communication and interpersonal skills are vital to this position along with problem solving and confidentiality.

Employment Settings: Social workers are employed in a variety of early childhood settings including:

Public School (see Section II, Setting E
Private School (see Section II, Setting D)
Child care and education programs (see Section II, Setting A,C,D)
Head Start (see Section II, Setting B)

Qualifications: A Bachelor's Degree is the minimum requirement for many entry-level jobs but a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) is usually required.

Most persons holding this position must be cleared through the NYS Central Registry of Child Abuse and fingerprints submitted to required authorities.

Preparation: Bachelor's or Master's Degree. Accredited programs require at least 400 hours of supervised field experience.

Typical Courses: Social work practice, human behavior, social work values and ethics, dealing with a culturally diverse clientele.

Process for Licensure: State certification, School Social Work Specialist (SSWS).

Alternate Pathways: A Bachelor's Degree in psychology, biology, sociology, economics or a related field may be augmented by a MSW.

Opportunity for Advancement: Some social workers go into private practice or maintain a private practice part time. Others become directors of community-based human service programs.

Related Careers:

Serving Children Directly – Child therapist

Serving Families Directly – Family counselor, mental health counselor, private practitioner, parent/family educator, clergy.

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