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School Social Work Graduate Certificate

 The Graduate Certificate in School Social Work may be used by current MSW students or MSW graduates to obtain licensure as a School Social Worker. Students seeking licensure in the State of Tennessee should contact the Department about specific state requirements including test scores (currently there is no state test for licensure as a school social worker, but this could change in the future). Students seeking licensure in other states should contact that state for specific requirements before selecting courses within our program.

Contact Information

Dr. Susan Elswick selswick@memphis.edu 

Admission Requirements

The certificate program in School Social Work can be pursued concurrently with the Master of Social Work program or after completion of the Master of Social Work. Concurrent or prior enrollment in an accredited Master of Social Work program is required. Students may fulfill admissions requirements in one of the following two ways. 

  1. Admission into the Master of Social Work at the University of Memphis.

     AND CURRENT MSW STUDENTS:

  1. Must be a current MSW graduate student at the University of Memphis in the School of Social Work
  2. Must complete one of your two required field experiences in a school setting (typically completed in your second year MSW programming, and once you have identified as a student seeking school social work licensure).  
  3. Apply to Uofm Graduate School as a Certificate seeking student (choose School Social Work Certificate).  Once you are admitted into the University of Memphis as a certificate seeking student, email the School Social Work Certificate Coordinator, Dr. Susan Elswick (selswick@memphis.edu ) with your UID and your U of M email address.  She will supply you with a permit for the School Social Work Class and enroll you in a course for submitting your required School Social Work Certificate documentation. The documentation includes letters of recommendation, application materials, and information about state standards in practice.

     ***The School Social Work (SWRK 6937) course is currently offered in Summer and Fall semesters. It is one of the 12 hours required for the School Social Work Certificate program.  

**MSW students seeking the School Social Work Certificate and Licensure must complete SWRK 7016: Advanced Individual Child/Youth(3) OR 7017: Advanced Family Child Youth(3) for their MSW programming in addition to the School Social Work Certificate requirements.
   

School Social Work Certificate requirements.

School Social Work Certificate Program Requirements include the Completion of 12 semester hours distributed as follows: 

  • SWRK 6937 - School of Social Work (3) REQUIRED

Completion of one of the following two courses:

  • SPED 6112: Func Anlys/Treat Prob Behv Online (3) (Now only offered in Spring)  
  • SPED 7000 - Intro Excptional Learnr (3)

Completion of 6 semester hours in an approved school social work setting

  • SWRK 7051 - Field Placement I (3) and SWRK 7052 - Field Placement II (3)
    OR
  • SWRK 7053 - Field Placement III (3) and SWRK 7054 - Field Placement IV (3).
  1. Complete the TEP application on U of M website: https://www.memphis.edu/tep/admission/tep-admissions.php   The TEP application is a requirement for your licensure.  Once you complete the TEP you may be asked to submit your GRE scores or take the Praxis Exam IF your undergraduate or graduate GPA does not meet the TEP requirements.  
  2. Once all course work is completed, and all grades for all classes are finalized, the student must complete the School Social Work application found on the School Social Work Certificate website: https://www.memphis.edu/socialwork/programs/certificate.php and also found within the School Social Work certificate eCourseware program.  
  3. Once the School Social Work application is submitted, The School Social Work Program Coordinator will write a letter of support for your successful completion of all licensure and certification requirements.  This formal letter will be submitted to the office of TEP at the University of Memphis.  Once the TEP reviews the letter of support, they submit your licensure documents to the TN State Department of Education (DOE) for review, approval, and completion.  The TN State DOE will email you the official licensure within 6-8 weeks of U of M’s submission.  If you need your licensure expedited for purposes of employment in a local district, you can request a letter from the School Social Work Certificate Program Coordinator, Dr. Susan Elswick (selswick@memphis.edu) that can be used by your school districts superintendent to expedite the licensure process.  ***This is not a guaranteed process but has assisted students in the past*** 
  4. The student must complete a graduate certificate candidacy form prior to the semester they plan to graduate from the program.  Deadlines for candidacy forms for graduation are found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/graduation.php (students are responsible for completing these forms by the required deadlines). The graduate certificate candidacy form can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/candidacy-forms.php  
     
    2. POST-MSW STUDENTS MUST: 
  1. Completion of a Master of Social Work degree at any university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). ***If your degree is not from an accredited program you will not be admitted into the School Social Work certificate program.
  2. Have One-year post-MSW work experience in the field working with children and families (preferably in a school setting if applicable) is required before applying for admission into the School Social Work Certificate program. ***Students who graduated from an accredited MSW program 5 years ago or longer from the date of admission to the school social work certificate program will be required to complete a portfolio process by enrolling in ELC 7115 - Experiential Learning Credit ( for up to 6 hours of credit towards the 12 hour certificate) to verify their experience in the field and/ or previous field work. 
  3. Apply to Uofm Graduate School as a Certificate seeking student (choose School Social Work Certificate). Once you are admitted into the University of Memphis as a certificate seeking student, email the School Social Work Certificate Coordinator, Dr. Susan Elswick (selswick@memphis.edu ) with your UID and your U of M email address.  She will supply you with a permit for the School Social Work Class and enroll you in a course for submitting your required School Social Work Certificate documentation. The documentation includes letters of recommendation, application materials, and information about state standards in practice. ***The School Social Work (SWRK 6937) course is currently offered in Summer and Fall semesters. It is one of the 12 hours required for the School Social Work Certificate program. The 12 hours of required courses are as follows: 

Program Requirements: Completion of 12 semester hours distributed as follows:  
 
  • SWRK 6937 - School of Social Work (3) REQUIRED  

Completion of one of the following two courses: 

  • SPED 6112: Func Anlys/Treat Prob Behv Online (3) (Now only offered in Spring) 
  • SPED 7000 - Intro Excptional Learnr (3) 
Completion of up to 6 semester hours in a placement serving children and families in ONE of the following:
 
  • SWRK 7051 - Field Placement I (3) and SWRK 7052 - Field Placement II (3) 
        OR
  • SWRK 7053 - Field Placement III (3) and SWRK 7054 - Field Placement IV (3)   
        OR
  • ELC 7115 - Experiential Learning Credit (up to 6 hours)
 
*NOTE: The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) stipulates that students in the Master of Social Work program may not receive credit for work or life experience. Due to this policy, ELC 7115 may not be completed by students currently enrolled in the MSW program. Under no circumstances may students attempt to substitute ELC 7115 for SWRK 7051, SWRK 7052, SWRK 7053 , or SWRK 7054 or any other course in the MSW degree program. ELC 7115 may only be used by certificate students who have completed the MSW degree. 
 
  • Complete the TEP application on U of M website: https://www.memphis.edu/tep/admission/tep-admissions.php   The TEP application is a requirement for your licensure.  Once you complete the TEP you may be asked to submit your GRE scores or take the Praxis Exam if your undergraduate or graduate GPA does not meet the TEP requirements. 
  •  Once all course work is completed, and all grades for all classes are finalized, the student must complete the School Social Work application found on the School Social Work Certificate website: https://www.memphis.edu/socialwork/programs/certificate.php and also found within the School Social Work certificate eCourseware program.  
  • Once the School Social Work application is submitted, The School Social Work Program Coordinator will write a letter of support for your successful completion of all licensure and certification requirements.  This formal letter will be submitted to the office of TEP at the University of Memphis.  Once the TEP reviews the letter of support, they submit your licensure documents to the TN State Department of Education (DOE) for review, approval, and completion.  The TN State DOE will email you the official licensure within 6-8 weeks of U of M’s submission.  If you need your licensure expedited for purposes of employment in a local district, you can request a letter from the School Social Work Certificate Program Coordinator, Dr. Susan Elswick (selswick@memphis.edu) that can be used by your school districts superintendent to expedite the licensure process. ***This is not a guaranteed process but has assisted students in the past*** 
  • The student must complete a graduate certificate candidacy form prior to the semester they plan to graduate from the program.  Deadlines for candidacy forms for graduation are found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/graduation.php (students are responsible for completing these forms by the required deadlines). The graduate certificate candidacy form can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/candidacy-forms.php
 
Retention Requirements
  • Retention requirements are the same as those in the Master of Social Work Program. 
    Graduation Requirements 
  • Students must complete all four required courses with an average grade of B (3.0) or higher for a total of 12 credit hours. Additionally, the student must get a B (3.0) or higher in the School Social Work class, SWRK 6937, in order to be eligible for the state licensure.  
  • Students may earn no more than 3 credit hours of C+, C, or C- grades. 
 
  Program/Licensure Requirements  (information here)
 
   How to Maintain and Renew Your Licensure in the State of TN
  •  The State TN DOE School Social Work Licensure (also known as the Professional School Services Personnel License in TN) is good for 6 years after you receive your initial license. 
  • Your first three years of work in schools your License will indicate Professional School Services Personnel License “Apprentice Special Groups” . You must be employed by a school district during for 3 years at the “Apprentice Level” and be supervised in your work during those 3 years. After your third year you submit documentation to the State DOE from your school district indicating the completion of your three years of employment and supervision, and your “Apprentice Special Groups” Licensure moves to a Professional School Services Personnel License “488 School Social Worker K-12 “ licensure. Your licensure will need to be renewed every 6 years. 
  • You are required to maintain yearly CEUs (known as Professional Development Points (PDPs)  in education) applicable to the field of school social work practice. The TN State DOE requires you to complete and submit 60 professional development points (PDPs). These 60 hours of PDPs must be accrued during the validity period of the license which for the school social workers is 6 years. Six months before your 6 year renewal period is up, you must submit documentation of all 60 of your PDP hours within the TN DOE online management system TNCompass
      I want to transfer to another state….will my license in school social work transfer?
  • We are not able to determine if your licensure in school social work in TN will be reciprocal in another state. You will need to call the state Department of Education (DOE) of the state in which you are planning to transfer and inquire about their state specific licensure requirements for school social work.  Currently, only 35 of the 50 states in the nation have a school social work license through their state Departments of Education. It is the student’s responsibility to inquire about school social work licensure options outside of TN.  Click here for further information