School Social Work Licensure

“School social workers are an integral link between school, home and community in helping students achieve academic success.” – National Association of Social Workers.

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School Social Work FAQ

Due to the very high volume of inquiries that we get regarding school social work, we have put together the information below to answer your questions. 

Who should take the school social work course?
We recommend the course for those that are currently employed as school social workers and those that are completing or have completed a social work field placement at a public school at BSW or MSW level. 

The course is not usually relevant for those that are considering career change or just thinking they would like the additional knowledge. If you are hired as a social worker by a school system, they will usually give you time to complete the course during your first years of employment. 

The school social work course without employment as school social worker or completion of school social work field placement will not be sufficient. If there is room in the course after we have considered applicants from those two categories you may have the opportunity to take the course. 

What does NC State University require in order to process your certification paperwork through the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI)?
Please keep in mind that NC State University does not administer certification. We are a vehicle in the process for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). We strongly recommend that you contact your school system for specific requirements.  We do not determine who does or does not get certification. We offer the school social work course and we assist with verifying your paperwork to DPI. In order for us to process your paperwork DPI will require you to upload documents to them including: 1. Transcript showing social work degree and completion of school social work course. 2. Proof of School Social Work field placement or employment evaluation from a NC Public School. 3. Health forms. Check with DPI for other requirements as this is subject to change using the link provided NC-DPI licensure.

What if you took the school social work course at another institution?
We only process the paperwork for those that take the school social work course at NC State. However, if you completed your school based field placement at another university and take then school social work course at NC State, we will assist with processing paperwork for you.

What if you have a degree other than social work?
A social work degree is required. There is no exception regardless of experience or level of interest.

Should you take the graduate or undergraduate course?
A person with or seeking MSW degree must take graduate level course. Undergraduates may take the course at a graduate or undergraduate level. Sometimes those with MSW insist on taking the BSW level course. We strongly recommend that you check with the school system that employs you to find out their specific requirements.

How much does it cost to take the course?
Because the tuition rate is subject to change by the legislators we do not provide this information to you. However, you can easily find the information using the following link: Tuition costs NC State University

Course registration: If you are not a student at NC State you must register as a Non-degree Studies Student (NDS). There is an application and a $35 fee to apply for NDS.  You can find more information here Non-Degree Studies.

We offer the school social work course fall, spring and summer. School Social Work (SW 412/SW 595) is a Distance Education (DE) course so you do not need to come to campus. We only offer it as DE course. The course at the graduate level fills quickly. We tend to have more space at the undergraduate level. 

We prioritize currently employed school social workers and those that have completed a school social work field placement. Therefore permission is required to register for the course. Students cannot register themselves for the course. In order to get registered for the course you must contact Mr. Daniel Corn and you must be registered as NDS student and have all holds removed from your account.

NDS status is only good for one semester so you will want to only register for the semester in which you plan to take the course. Please do not contact Mr. Corn for assistance with registration until you have read and understand the requirements. Mr. Corn is not a school social worker, but is knowledgeable about registration and requirements for registration.

Other information: If your questions are not answered satisfactorily by the information above please contact Professor Darlene Johnson at dljohn12@ncsu.edu

Training and Licensure

We prepare school social workers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in such areas as:

  • Consultation
  • Policy
  • Diversity
  • At-risk Populations
  • Practice
  • Professional Ethics
  • Research
  • Social and Economic Justice
  • Family and community systems
  • Social Work Theory and Practice
  • Group Processes and Leadership Skills
  • Human Behavior and Development

Licensure of school social workers in North Carolina is handled by the Licensure Division in the Department of Public Instruction, upon recommendation of DPI-approved social work programs. Licensure requires either a Bachelor of Social Work degree or a Master of Social Work degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and a school social work practicum experience in a public school. Individual colleges and universities will have additional and varied course requirements. The Department of Public Instruction requires continuing education for all school social workers.

The school social work Licensure discussed in this section is not to be confused with any of the licenses or certifications offered under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 90B, which are administered by the North Carolina Certification and Licensing Board for Social Work. However, qualified School Social Workers (those meeting the requirements of Chapter 90B mandates for each certification or licensure) may apply for any of the licenses or certification offered by Chapter 90B, including the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). If a school social worker also holds a LCSW, they are allowed under state law to practice clinical social work, including psychotherapy.

School Social Work License, Undergraduate Level A/Graduate Level M, NC State University

Contact Information:

 Professor Darlene Johnson

Email: dljohn12@ncsu.edu


Department of Social Work, NC State University

10 Current Drive, 1911 Building

Raleigh, NC 27695-7639

License Requirements:

  • Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate/graduate social work program
  • SW 412/512 Social Work in Schools (3 credit hours) or an equivalent course for a forwarded license request.  
  • Practicum experience in a public school setting. If you are currently employed as a school social worker, your work experience may be considered to satisfy this requirement