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School Social Work Certification

young girl student at desk in classroom


School Social Work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession. School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student support services team. They are instrumental in furthering the purpose of the schools - to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence. School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district's ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving that mission. 

In order to be a certified school social worker in North Carolina, one has to complete a bachelor's or master's degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program with additional specialized preparation in school social work. Within these school social work education programs, several standards are studied such as the foundations of school social work practice, assessment and evaluation, cultural diversity, consultative and collaborative relationships and understanding of the role of advocacy and facilitation. Also required are intervention strategies to support student development, discernment of statutes and case law and completion of a school social work internship comprising of a minimum of 400 contact hours in a school setting.

School social workers are expected to apply their professional training in schools in order to support student success. Through specialized school social work programs that strengthen the home/school/community partnership and address barriers to student learning, school social workers serve as catalysts in promoting student wellbeing and successful completion of school.

The program at Western Carolina University offers the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction approved School Social Work course online each summer and has the option of the additional education course being offered either online or face-to-face at WCU. 

For More Information Contact:

Rebecca Lasher, Ed.D., M.S.W
Undergraduate Program Director/ Assistant Professor/ School Social Work Certification Coordinator
Department of Social Work
314 Health and Human Sciences Building
Telephone 828-227-2774

Required Coursework

SOCW 528: School Social Work Policy and Practice is offered online only in the Summer and is a required course. Select one of the following education course options:

  • SPED 502 ­ Issues in Special Education,
  • SPED 504 Educational Programs for Students with Behavioral Disorders
  • SPED 620 Education in a Diverse Society
  • EDCI 607 Foundations of Teaching Leadership in a Diverse Society
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