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School Social Work License

For students interested in working as a social worker in schools.

School Social Work

Welcome to school social work. We are pleased you are interested in exploring the possibility of working in schools! The School Social Work License is designed for students who wish to pursue work as a social worker in schools upon graduation from the MSW program. Our School of Social Work at Portland State University collaborates with the Oregon Teachers Standards and Practice Commission (TSPC) to provide a course of study and license process. Upon completion, MSW students are eligible to apply for licensure with TSPC.

We hope the following information will help you make some decisions about working in schools and provide a clear picture of the requirements to obtaining the license.

The license enhances your opportunities to pursue jobs in K-12 positions. The program prepares students to work in schools through a social work lens emphasizing: social justice, an ecological perspective, advocacy, individual, group and community work in schools.

The completion of this process means two things:
     1) You obtain your MSW and are eligible to pursue a career in the field of social work*.
     2) You are prepared to apply for your license with TSPC and are eligible for school positions as a social worker.

The Process for MSW Students

The MSW curriculum and steps are adapted in the following ways for students interested in pursuing the license:

  1. Students must complete an Intent to Enroll as soon as they enroll in the MSW program and no later than the end of winter term of the foundation year. This form notifies the staff and the field team of your interest so decisions about course of study and field placements can be made in a timely manner.

  2. Students enrolled in one of the following advanced concentrations are eligible to purse the license: Social Work with Children, Youth and Families (CYF), Clinical Social Work Practice or Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations (PLCO). The field office will be screening your placement requests to ensure they fit with your concentration selection.

  3. Students pursuing the license are required to participate in the following electives in addition to their concentration requirements:
    • SW 564 Social Work in Schools (fall term adanced year)
    • ELP 581 US and Oregon School Law and Policy (Offered summer term online and winter term and can count as advanced policy elective.)
    • SW 588 Social Work with Children, Youth and Families (Required for students in the Clinical and PLCO concentrations only.
  4. Field Requirements:
  5. Students pursuing the license will be required to submit a final portfolio including:
    • 4 completed personal assessment questionnaires (PAQs) at the beginning and end of each field placement.
    • 6 completed field evaluations.
    • Written Reflective Synthesis of Learning (Integrative paper rubric).
    • Resume (summarizes practicum experiences and highlights career goals and key areas of expertise.)
  6. All advance year students pursuing this course of study are required to attend one advising session fall term and winter term. These sessions will cover coursework, field requirements, the portfolio and the general licensure process. An optional advising session will be offered in spring term which may include a resume workshop, chat with a licensed school social worker, etc.

  7. Students may apply for the Oregon (TSPC) Initial School Social Worker Licensure once they have completed the MSW degree and it has posted. 2015 MSW graduates can click here for the Certification Packet. Future graduates will fill in one of the following Certification Packets depending on your concentration: Clinical Certification Packet, CYF Certification Packet, PLCO Certification Packet.

Advanced Standing Option, Distance and Online Students

Advanced standing option students will need to complete their community-based placement with children, youth and families and some of their direct service hours during their BSW education in order to meet the requirements needed to apply for licensure. The advanced field placement will be in a school setting.

At this time, the School Social Work Licensure course of study is limited to students who are able to complete the required electives at the Portland Campus. We are working collaboratively with the distance and online options to identify other avenues to offer these courses as interest in the school social work license within these options grow.

School Social Work Licensure for MSW Professionals (non-students)

We provide support for community members working as MSW's in schools or who have past social work experience working in schools to access the licensure process with TSPC. The Verification of Equivalency (VOE) process requires very specific steps and documentation, including submitting a portfolio and showing equivalent coursework and proessional experience in schools. Click here for the application for VOE. If you currently hold a School Social Work License (or equivalent certification) from another state, you can apply for your Oregon license directly through TSPC.

The School Social Work Licensure Consortium members review VOE portfolios on a quarterly basis.

If you are interested in school social work, please review the information provided on this site. If you have questions after reading this information, please email Angela Zahas, School Social Worker Licensure Program Administrator, or Julie Prindle, Ph.D., LCSW, Director of School Social Work Licensure.

*Pursuing the School Social Work License does not limit the opportunity to pursue a Licensed Clincial Social Work (LCSW).

Additional Information