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Preparation & Professional Associations


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School social workers receive a master’s degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) approved program, with specific coursework and training in school social work practice. School social workers complete a practicum, or paid work experience, with a field supervisor to demonstrate competency in various areas of practice.

In addition to generalist social work coursework including psychopathology, social work theory and practice, human development, social policy, organizational leadership, and statistics, school social work graduate students must demonstrate knowledge and skill in the school-setting specific to:

  • social welfare and educational policy,
  • social work values and ethics,
  • social and economic justice and populations at risk,
  • systematic assessment of individuals, families, schools, and community and their interactions,
  • effective prevention and intervention with individuals, families, schools and communities,
  • human behavior and the social environment,
  • diversity, and
  • research.

NASW Standards for School Social Work Services describes National Practice Standards.

Professional Associations

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School social workers have an ethical obligation to contribute to their profession, including the option to participate in state and national professional associations. These associations provide support, resources, and training to the field, and promote policies and laws that further the profession and support students and families.

Code of Ethics 5.01(c) Social workers should contribute time and professional expertise to activities that promote respect for the value, integrity, and competence of the social work profession. These activities may include...participation in their professional organizations.

Wisconsin School Social Worker Evaluation Framework

IV.3 Professionalism:

  • Proficient - Maintains membership in a professional association.
  • Distinguished - Holds office in a professional association.

Wisconsin School Social Worker Association (WSSWA) - Connecting and serving practitioners as they care for students, families and schools.

School Social Work Association of American (SSWAA) - The School Social Work Association of America empowers school social workers and promotes the profession to enhance the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes of all students nationally and globally.

American Council for School Social Work (ACSSW) - ACSSW advocates for the practice of school social work and supports school social workers in their service to students, schools, and families to overcome social, systemic, economic and mental health barriers to student learning.

National Association of Social Work (NASW) - School Social Work Section  - We are social workers committed to improving the educational success and the social and emotional development of all students.

The Midwest School Social Work Council - The Midwest School Social Work Council is a coalition of eleven Midwestern state associations (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin) for school social workers. The council consists of the eleven state presidents, their respective state consultants (if one exists), and a state school social work practitioner.

For questions about this information, contact Julie Incitti (608) 266-0963