School Social Worker

School Social Workers provide a link between home, school, and community. This service enables students and their families to overcome social and personal problems which impede learning. School social workers provide individual and group counseling, consultation to professionals, and other services which help students cope with their disabilities. They collaborate with community agencies and provide case management for students and families requiring multiple services.

Nature of Work

  • Conduct interviews with a student, family members, and school personnel to gather information required by a multidisciplinary team about a student's social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment to school and the community
  • Assist students, professionals, and parents to develop solutions to family and community factors that influence a student's capacity or ability to learn
  • Collaborate with education and social services professionals to develop appropriate agency services for students and their families
  • Work with various school groups to develop coping, social, and decision making skills
  • Participate on school teams developing policies and practices to prevent school violence and reduce the number of school dropouts

Education Required

  • Most school social workers possess a master's degree in social work (MSW).
  • The National Association of Social Workers has created a School Social Work Specialist (SSWS) credential that requires a master's and at least two years of post-masters supervised school social work experience as well as a passing score on the social work component of the National Teaching Examination. This is not generally required by school districts.

Personal Qualities

  • Collaborative
  • Sensitive and responsive to the needs of others
  • Resourceful
  • Flexible
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Perseverance

Job Outlook and Advancement

  • The role of the school social worker is always expanding, but the job is vulnerable to funding priorities in school districts.

How to Prepare for a Career

  • Volunteer in a social service or community support program.
  • Become a peer counselor.
  • Discuss the field with a school social worker in your school district.
  • Prepare in high school for undergraduate and graduate level education.
  • Seek resources from the National Association of Social Workers.

Resource Information

  • School Social Work Association of America
    P.O. Box 2072
    Northlake, IL. 60164
    (301)-657-0275 Fax