School Social Work Certification

CertifiedHow can I become a school social worker in New York?

An individual practicing licensed master social work in a public school or pre-school must be certified by the Office of Teaching (OT) in the Department. OT will issue a provisional school social worker certificate to an individual who has an acceptable MSW degree. The provisional certificate is valid for five years by which time the certificate holder must be licensed as an LMSW or LCSW to receive the permanent school social worker certificate. You can access more information about the school social worker certificate on-line at: and can file an on-line application for the school certificate.

An individual holding a permanent school social work certificate must maintain the LMSW or LCSW registration in order to practice school social work. An individual with a provisional or permanent school social work credential may only practice licensed master social work outside the school if licensed and registered as an LMSW or practice licensed clinical social work outside the school if licensed and registered as an LCSW.”    Source:  NYSED:  “FAQ # 18.

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Certification Requirements

The certification process is controlled by the New York State Education Department (NYSED)

In order to be a School Social Worker in a NYS Public School setting, you will need to obtain a provisional certificate as a School Social Worker. When visiting the New York State Department of Education website, school social workers’ information can be found under the Pupil Personnel Services designation. After 2 years of service you will be eligible to apply for a permanent certificate. Each of these certificates has a list of requirements which we offer access to through the links below.

NYSED’s Certification Steps From Start To Finish:

Provisional Certification Requirements: 

(See workshop training details under Permanent Certification Requirements  You must have ALL of the following.)

To Access Guidelines go to:

  • School Social Workers are included in the drop down for Administrators and Pupil Personnel Services
  • Under Subject area you will find “Social Worker”
  • Under Select a Grade Level Certification for Social Workers is for grades “Pre K-12” All Grades
  • Under Title is “School Social Worker”
  • Select Type of Certificate interested in

Permanent Certification Requirements:

To Access Guidelines go to:

  • To progress to a Permanent Certificate, the applicant must hold a valid Provisional Certificate in the title of the Permanent Certificate sought. i.e. “School Social Worker”.
  • Paid, full-time Pupil Personnel experience – School Social Worker – 2 Yr
  • Citizenship Status – INS Permanent Residence or U.S. Citizenship

Practice Alerts and Guidelines from NYSED Office of the Professions for Social Workers:

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Position Statement on Certification Standards for School Social Workers

by the New York State School Social Workers’ Association

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Any and all questions should be directed to NYSED.

Contact NYSED Here:

Try calling:  518-474-3817, Press 1 then ext. 570.    or    518-474-3901

Keep documentation of all of your attempts to reach them.  If NYSED is not responsive, you may want to consider contacting your state legislator for assistance.

Good luck.

NYSSSWA Welcomes New School Social Workers

The New York State School Social Workers’ Association (NYSSSWA) is the only professional association dedicated solely to the visibility and viability of School Social Workers in New York State.  Support your profession and join today!

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