School Social Work Certification

General Information

School Social Work Certification Application

1. Current GVSU students application, email to Dr. Jamie Langlois ([email protected])

2. If you already have your MSW use this application. Send the completed application and required attachments to Dr. Robin Smith-Colton ([email protected])

Timeline for current or recently admitted GVSU students:

Completing the application as early as possible is beneficial. Eligibility for school social work certification requires grades of a B or better in SW 661, SW 663 and SW 664 AND the requisite field experience. SW664 is required course that is taken beyond the 38/60 credits to graduate.

    1. Full-time advanced standing students should apply upon admission to the MSW program and no later than when Field Applications are due.
    2. Full-time regular standing students should apply by the time Field Applications are due for preferred school placement. If applying after this date, you may apply until the second week of class (Winter semester) for a child and adolescent placement.
    3. Part-time advanced standing and part-time regular standing students should apply by the time Field Applications are due.
    4. Students who are past the deadline, please contact Laura Kastler ([email protected]) for advising.


  1. School Social Work Certification Advising:

Current or recently admitted students interested in pursuing the school social work certification for K-12 school settings should follow these steps:


1.    Attend a School Social Work Certificate Information Session or meet with Laura Kastler ([email protected]) to understand the requirements and determine eligibility.

2.    Complete the application GVSU Students and return it to the MSW Director, Dr. Jamie Langlois ([email protected]).  Decision within 2 weeks of submission. 

3.    Once approved, work with Laura Kastler ([email protected]) to develop a plan for completing the required schools courses, practicum dates, and additional MSW program requirements.

4.    When you apply for practicum education, check the box on the field application indicating school social work. A condition of choosing the School Social Work Certificate path, is accepting an internship in a school placement.  State regulations require advanced standing students to complete 2 semester in a school to be eligible for school certification at graduation.  Regular standing students will complete 3 semesters in a school.

5.    Please direct questions about the School Social Work Certificate or school social work to Dr. Robin Smith-Colton ([email protected]).  She is the liaison between GVSU and the Department of Education in Michigan.

6.    If you decide you no longer want to pursue school certification, please inform Dr. Langlois ([email protected]).


MSW Program Graduates Seeking School Certification


If you have a MSW degree from GVSU or another institution, please complete the application form for MSW graduates and send it with your official transcript and resume to Dr. Robin Smith-Colton (s[email protected]). The application review process takes approximately 2-weeks from when all documents are received.


GVSU students that did not complete the courses and/or required post-graduate professional work history may obtain school social work certification after graduation, but must complete the required courses (SW 661, SW 663 and SW 664) to do so along with a possible internship.  Be advised that you must meet all requirements for school certification. If you already have your MSW from another state, and have questions about obtaining your school certification, please contact Dr. Robin Smith-Colton (s[email protected]).


Frequently Asked Questions About School Social Work

1. What is School Social Work?

School social work is a specialized area of practice within the social work profession. School social workers act as liaisons between the school, home, and the community to aid in student success. Social workers in this field work directly with school administrators to provide leadership in forming discipline policies, assisting in mental health intervention, crisis management, and support services.

2. What are the State of Michigan requirements to become a School Social Worker?

  • Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a CSWE accredited institution.
  • Obtainment of Limited Licensure (LLMSW) or Full Licensure (LMSW)
  • 500 hours of field education working with children and adolescents or 500 hours post-graduation working with children and adolescents.
  • 3 classes (9-credit) School Social Work courses: SW 661, SW 663, SW 664


3. What courses are required for School Certification?

A “B” grade or better in each course must be earned, NO SUBSTITUTES OR EXCEPTIONS!

  • SW 661: School Social Work in the Educational Setting (3-credit)
  • SW 663: Child & Adolescent Development Practice (3-credit)
  • SW 664: Social Work Practice in Schools – Special Education (3 credit)


4. Are there prerequisites for these courses?

Yes! Prerequisites for SW 661 are 600, 601, 603, 610, and 620. Prerequisites from SW 663 are 600, 601, 603, 610, 620, and 622. Prerequisites from SW 664 are 600, 601, 603, 610, and 620.


5. Are there requirements for how I complete my Field Education Internship?

Yes! Field Placement Internships are in the school setting and occur during GVSU fall and winter semesters. Placements align with the K-12 school calendar. Regular standing MSW students will complete 900 hours, and Advanced standing MSW students will complete 600 hours in a school social work role.

6. What do I need to know about School Social Work Certification?

Note: Changes are being made by the Michigan Department of Education in obtaining School Social Work Certification after graduation. Grand Valley State University will post updates on the process as changes are confirmed.

**School Social Work Certification expires five (5) years from initial date of approval and can be renewed for an additional five years via completion of a GVSU refresher course offered by GVSU School of Social Work.

After ten (10) years, course work (SW 664 – School Social Work Practice in Schools) MUST be repeated to again obtain temporary school social work approval.


7. What should I do if I have an interest in School Social Work Certification?

  1. Consult your academic advisor, Laura Kastler ([email protected]) and inform her of your interest.
  2. Fill out and submit a School Social Work application. Email the application to Dr. Langlois ([email protected]).

Page last modified April 29, 2024