Pathway to School Social Work

If you are interested in a career as school social worker or school adjustment counselor, you will need to meet the criteria set by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Article 603 CMR 7.11 of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education outlines the requirements set by the state for those interested in applying for a position.

To gain an initial license, you must meet the following:

  1. Master's degree in Social Work or Counseling
  2. Course work and clinical experience that demonstrate knowledge of:
    • Principles of therapeutic relationships.
    • Theories of normal and abnormal intellectual, social, and emotional development.
    • Learning disorders, including emotional issues affecting student achievement, and their treatment.
    • Prevention and treatment of substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, and violence in PreK-12 students.
    • Knowledge of state-of-the-art diagnostic instruments; procedures for testing and interpreting results.
    • Techniques for communicating and working with families and school and community personnel.
    • Knowledge of the criminal justice system with particular reference to the juvenile justice system and organizations.
    • Knowledge of medical conditions and medication related to physical disabilities and learning disorders.
    • Federal and state laws and regulations addressing the legal rights of students and families.
  3. A practicum of 900 hours, 450 of which must be spent working with children, adolescents and families in an educational setting.
  4. A passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL test.

To gain a professional license you must meet the following:

  1. Possession of an Initial License as a school social worker/school adjustment counselor.
  2. Three years of employment as a school social worker or school adjustment counselor.
  3. Completion of one of the following:
    • A total of 60 credits of graduate coursework that may include credits earned in a master's degree program for the Initial license in a discipline appropriate to the license sought including but not limited to mental health counseling, psychological counseling, school counseling, school social work, or social work.
    • Achievement and maintenance of a certificate or license from one of the following:
      • The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Work, as a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) or a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).
      • The Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or a Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor (LRC).

Additional information to provide to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Some additional information that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will ask you for after you have applied with them for your license includes the following:

  1. A Panel Review approval. Download the Panel Review document
  2. Completion of a 450-hour supervised and mentored practicum with Children, Adolescents and Families in an educational setting.
    • A transcript and practicum report of verification
    • A letter that has been signed by the Superintendent and Director of Pupil Personnel of the sponsoring school/school district
      • Stating that through the 450-hour practicum you demonstrated competency in performing the school social worker/school adjustment counselor roles, responsibilities, and subject matter knowledge state in the Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval 603 C.M.R. 7.11(4)(a)2.
      • Must be written on School Letterhead, include the beginning and ending dates of practicum, the name of the supervisor, and the name of the licensed school social worker/school adjustment counselor serving as the mentor along with the mentor's license number.
  3. If you've completed 900-hours (with no less than 450-hours in an educational setting) and feel that through this internship you have demonstrated competency in performing the school social worker/adjustment counselor roles, responsibilities, and subject matter knowledge, then please submit a Panel Review.
  4. M.S.W. - School Social Worker/School Adjustment Counselor Internship Form
    • Found at doe.mass.edu
    • In conjunction with a letter from the college/university that awarded the degree in Social Work, signed by the dean of the school of social work
      • Verifying your completed internship
      • On official college/university letterhead.

MTEL Tests for School Social Workers and School Adjustment Counselors

The only test needed for School Social Workers and School Adjustment Counselors is MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills (01). Social Workers who work in the school system will need to obtain passing MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills tests. Wheelock offers test preparation services. Contact mtelprep@wheelock.edu to ask about study session schedules as well as free test preparation materials.

To sign up for an exam, visit mtel.nesinc.com and create an account. Test dates and locations will be listed on the website.

Students can take the exam in a proctored computer lab setting, or they can take a paper exam. For students with disabilities, accommodations can be made by working with your college to document your need for alternative testing arrangements. Please visit mtel.nesinc.com for more information.

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