School Social Work
Make an impact on the life of a student as a School Social Worker.
School social workers collaborate with educational administrators, teachers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, speech and language pathologists, and other staff. They help create individalized education plans (IEPs) to address students' needs.
As a school social worker, you will provide counseling services for individuals, groups, and families.
Students often require resources outside of their school. In these situations, you will serve as an advocate for their needs.
This post-master’s certificate requires three school social work classes and 700 hours of practicum work in a school setting concurrent with your seminar course work. The specialization is offered part-time over two years.
Point of Pride
Illinois State's Center for Child Welfare and Adoption Studies established its First Start Academy in 2017 to help prepare high school-aged youth in foster care for college. There are only a handful of First Star academies in the U.S.
Discover what life as an Illinois State graduate student is like.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to this post-master's graduate certificate program must:
- have earned a master's degree from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
A student applying to this program must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in any previous work in a master's program. A student will qualify for the graduate certificate if they have received a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program.
Applicants need to submit:
- a resume
- letters of recommendation
- statement of interest
- a video response
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of Recommendation should be submitted by individuals who are familiar with the academic or professional potential and achievement of the applicant. If the applicant has completed their practicum within the previous 2 years, one of the recommendation letters should be from the agency field instructor. Recommendation letters should address the following:
- How long and in what capacity the recommender has known the applicant
- Applicant’s abilities or potential in working with a diverse group of people, level of comfort with cultural differences, and commitment to social justice
- Capabilities for graduate education and suitability for practice in the field of social work
- Potential for professional growth and development, capacity for self-awareness, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
- Characteristics that could either help or hinder the applicant's development as an effective social worker
- Other comments that might inform the committee decision
Statement of Interest
The written personal statement should be no more than 7 pages, following the current edition of APA format, using headings for each question. The written statement should address each of the following six items:
- Please choose one of the 6 values of the NASW Code of Ethics (service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence) and describe how you have incorporated this value into your personal, professional, or volunteer experiences.
- Share how you have observed or experienced oppression or privilege individually or in systems around you. Describe examples of your actions to understand, confront, and/or undo the systems of oppression or privilege you have observed or experienced.
- How do you think your identity will impact your role as a social worker? How do you educate yourself on issues relevant to the social work profession?
- What is your history of academic and/or professional success? How have you addressed academic or professional challenges?
- What opportunities have you pursued outside of the classroom to facilitate your professional growth and leadership?
- What is your plan to be successful in graduate school? Please provide a detailed plan of how you intend to meet the demands of a rigorous graduate program, including financially, while managing your additional responsibilities and obligations.
The video submission should be no more than 5 minutes in length. You may wish to carefully script your thoughts in advance to ensure you thoroughly respond to the following three prompts:
- Explain why you have chosen to pursue the School Social Work graduate certificate at this time.
- What are your intended career goals?
- Describe an experience that has had a significant impact on your desire to pursue school social work as a career path.
Video submission instructions: We recommend uploading your video to a third-party site (YouTube, Google, etc.). You will include the link in your application. Please ensure that your link is visible by others.
Entry into the social work program and profession is also based on legal requirements. The Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics outline the laws around getting your license and practicing in the field.
International Degrees in Social Work
If an applicant to the Post MSW School Social Work Certificate program has a graduate social work degree from an international program, the applicant will need to have their degree evaluated through the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service (ISWDRES), an office of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The applicant will need to follow the Application Instructions provided by ISWDRES, which includes submitting and paying for the screening and application. If the degree is recognized, the applicant must upload the determination letter with their application to the certificate program. A determination letter from ISWDRES does not automatically guarantee the applicant admission to the certificate program.
Applicants are encouraged to begin this process early, as it could take up to 45 days. The process must be completed, and the decision received from ISWDRES prior to application submission to the certificate program. Awaiting a response from ISWDRES does not grant an applicant an extension on their application deadline to the certificate program.
- Fall (August) Term — February 15
- Spring (January) Term — No admission
- Summer (May/June) Term — No admission