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Licensing, Accountability, & Complaints

General School Social Work Licensing Information

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DPI offers four tiers of licenses for Pupil Service Staff. The DPI licensing page for pupil services provides information on the steps to becoming licensed as a school social worker in Wisconsin and on all tiers of licensure.

Licensing, Educator Advancement and Development Information Bulletin, Topic: School Social Work License Question and Answer Document - Coming Soon!

General Overview of Obtaining a DPI School Social Work License

How do I know if I am eligible for a full, Tier II, license as a school social worker?

A Tier II license is available to those who have completed an approved school social worker program at a Wisconsin educator preparation program or a comparable, approved school social worker program outside Wisconsin. A social work credential from the social worker section of the Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services is not required if an applicant has completed an approved program or an out-of-state program approved in another state leading to a school social worker license in that state.

The Tier II provisional license as school social worker requires graduate level preparation resulting in a master’s degree that includes coursework and practicum experiences that specifically prepares the applicant to serve in schools.

Before enrolling into a program from another state, it is important to know if the preparation is approved by that state’s department of education and leads to an educational license.

If there are questions, the Licensing, Educator Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team may assist in making this determination so that applicants know if the program they have selected qualifies them for a Tier II provisional license immediately upon its completion or if more training or a different program will be necessary.

I have a social work credential; can I be employed by a school district to work as a school social worker without a school social work license from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)?

No. All professionals fulfilling the responsibilities and job description of a school social worker must have a school social work license issued by DPI.

May a school counselor fulfill the job description of a school social worker and use that title, or vice versa?

No. School counselors and school social workers have different training, theoretical background, practice frameworks, and skill sets. To practice as a school counselor or as a school social worker an individual must possess the appropriate license to do so.

Where can I find more information about school social work in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Social Work Credential Information

A DPI school social work license is required to fulfill the job description of a school social worker, though a clinical license is not. Therefore, some school social workers hold both a clinical and school license, and others hold only the school license.

Obtain or Maintain a Social Work Credential - For information related to obtaining or maintaining a social work license or certificate from the WI Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board.

Demonstrating Accountability

Complaints Against School Social Workers

Educator Misconduct - The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) conducts formal investigations of licensed educators based on information received by the DPI that alleges immoral conduct on the part of the licensed educator.

Complaint against a Social Work Credential - This link directs users to the Department of Safety and Professional Services webpages related to information about filing a complaint against a credential holder. Some, but not all, school social workers in Wisconsin also hold a social work credential through the WI Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board. Complaints against a license or certificate holder can be directed to the Division of Legal Services and Compliance (DLSC).

Liability Protections for School Social Workers

Liability Protection

For Specific Licensing Questions

See the Licensing, Educator Advancement and Development (LEAD) team's homepage for more information on DPI licensing.

Educator Licensing - Contact Form

Please note, if you do not have a Entity/File# (EFN) yet, this section can be left blank in the inquiry form.

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