The Certified School Social Work Specialist (C-SSWS)

Optimizing Student Success
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The Certified School Social Work Specialist  (C-SSWS) works with individuals, groups and families providing case management, conflict mediation and resolution, crisis intervention, group work, community organizing, advocacy, consultation, effective educational stratifies, and documentation. They utilize theories of human behavior and development, and methods of social work practice to support students within public and private school settings. C-SSWS have core knowledge and skills in the areas of: social work ethics; program development and management skills; social work modalities and procedures; characteristics of student populations; multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities; and public education and federal and state laws.

School social work practice has long been a vital part of the social work profession. In recent years, recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities; changes in the family unit; and the effects of increasing social, economic, and academic pressures on children are some of the forces that have significantly shaped social work in schools.

In 1992, the National Association of Social Workers(NASW) began offering its first field specific credential—the School Social Worker Specialist (SSWS)—for experienced school social workers in public schools, private schools, preschools, special education and residential school settings. In 1998 NASW began offering additional specialty credentials, and in 2000, the specialty certification was renamed the Certified School Social Work Specialist (C-SSWS) credential. Today the C-SSWS credential attests to expertise, skill and knowledge in the field of school social work; certifies two academic years of post-MSW supervised school social work experience and attests to your agreement to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics, and the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services and the NASW Standards for Continuing Education.


  • A Master’s degree in social work from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
  • Twenty (20) contact hours of practice area specific continuing professional education.
  • Documentation of at least two (2) years (equivalent of 2,160 hours) of paid, supervised, post-MSW social work experience as a school social worker in a school setting.
  • One of the following: Current MSW- level state social worker license, or a current exam-based school social work license, registration, or certification issued by the designated state office.
  • Adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics and the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education.

Are you qualified to apply?

Please read and review the complete criteria in the application.

Please contact the Credentialing Center at, if you have any questions


NASW Credentialing Center
More than 50 years of experience developing credentials and certifications for social workers
National Association of Social Workers, 750 First Street, NE • Suite 800, Washington, DC 20002
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