JACSW School Social Work Concentration Frequently Asked Questions

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1 What does the role of the school social worker involve? An important area for social workers is assessment, both of individual students and of programs and school needs. School social workers work with students on an individual or group basis at all levels of education from preschool to high school. School social workers have a specific role in creating an Individualized Education Plan for students who are disabled and receiving special education. School social workers also interact with parents and community organizations to facilitate high quality educational experiences for students and assist with problem solving. School social workers may also consult with teachers about classrooms issues or students problems. School social workers often assist school administration in designing programs for their school. What are typical student issues that school social workers address within a school setting? The school social worker works with students who receive special education services as well as those within the larger general education population. Common issues include: social, interpersonal, or family problems; Aggression/disruptive behavior; Neurological disorders ADHD; Adjustment disorders; Anxiety/ stress/ school phobia; and Depression/grief reaction (Kelly, Moses, Ornstein & Massat, 2009). School social workers may be assigned to working with several students and see them as frequently as weekly as well as provide consultation services to students, teachers, administrators and parents within the school setting. Do I need to meet any additional requirements to apply to the school social work concentration? Yes, in order to practice as a school social worker in an elementary, middle, or secondary school in Illinois, MSW Rev. 11/29/13 1

2 students must obtain the Type 73 license from the Illinois State Board of Education. Consistent with that requirement, the College requires students who are interested in the career of school social worker to submit a copy of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). These results must be received from ICTS prior to being admitted to the School Social Work concentration. This policy applies to students in all 4- program options (Full-Time, PM-Extended Study, Advanced Standing, and Transfer). Information about the Test of Academic Proficiency can be obtained from the Illinois Certification Testing System at or Students must request an official score report and then forward that report to The Jane Addams College of Social Work. Do not request ICTS to send the report electronically to the College. The College cannot receive electronic reports. Why do I have to take the TAP before I can enter the school concentration? The State of Illinois seeks to have an excellent education workforce. JACSW seeks to reinforce that idea by insuring that each student who enters the school concentration will be able to become licensed with a Type 73 license by the time the MSW is received. The Test of Academic Proficiency must be completed successfully before the student can take the type 73 exam. If I want to use my ACT scores to replace the TAP, where do I send them? If you choose to use ACT/SAT in lieu of the TAP, click on the link (http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/college/programs/msw/files/fall 2013/AppInstructions/AppInstruc_Tap_2.pdf) and follow the instructions given. Rev. 11/29/13 2

3 What is the benefit of entering the school concentration, instead of just taking the post MSW online course and taking another concentration such as child and family? The online course is for those who already have an MSW and requires 1 year of field instruction in a school setting in addition to online coursework in the College of Education as well as JACSW. By entering the school concentration as an MSW student you will take the required coursework and field instruction concurrently without needing to add an additional year of field instruction and coursework for the Type 73 license. Can my foundation year field placement be a school? In most cases you will be placed in a field agency other than a school in order to expose you to a generalist perspective of social work. In your school concentration year you will be placed in a public school field placement. How long will it take for me to complete the program? Depending on your status you could complete the program in 1 year (Advanced Standing, entering JACSW with a BSW degree) in 2 years as a full time MSW student, or in 3 years (entering as a semi-part-time student in the PM extended program). What classes will I take? You will take a one-year field instruction course that spans both fall and spring semesters. During the fall semester of your concentration year you will take SocW551 School Social Work Policy, SocW588 School Social Work Practice III, and SpEd410 Exceptional Learners. During the spring semester you will take SocW589 School Social Work Practice IV, SocW565 School Research, and one of the numerous elective courses offered through JACSW or another graduate level course offered within the UIC Rev. 11/29/13 3

4 graduate college. Courses taken outside of JACSW require instructor, and academic advisor approval. Who teaches the courses at JACSW? There are dedicated full-time faculty who teach in the school concentration, in addition to field work staff who work with students in their school placements. How many students will be in my classes? The number of students in the school social work courses and social work electives range from 20 to 25 students. The SpEd 410 Exceptional Learners course is open to students within multiple colleges such as the College of Education and JACSW so up to 70 students may be enrolled in this course during a semester. Will I be fully trained to be a school social worker? Yes, but this question is best answered by explaining that there is a difference between training and education. Training is narrowly focused on teaching the skills needed to complete a specific task. However, education is a much broader acquisition of knowledge about the skills, the significance of the tasks, and evidence-based theories for improving the execution of the skills involved. The College educates school social work students to apply evidencebased theories to their clinical practice with children and youth, families, and school wide systems. Will I get a hands on experience? Yes, during the concentration year, students intern within their assigned school field placement 3 days a week. This translates into 21 hours of hands on experience each week where you will apply theory to practice. Moreover you will gain a better understanding of the role of the school social worker through weekly supervision with a qualified Rev. 11/29/13 4

5 professional social worker that is your assigned field instructor within your school setting. Will I find a job after graduation? Yes, many students find jobs within the social work profession after graduation. These positions are scattered throughout the field including schools, hospitals, agencies and other social service organizations. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there should be 19.7% employment growth for children, family, and school social workers between 2010 and That translates to approximately 58,200 new social work positions to fill (http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/child-andfamily-social-worker retrieved 11/13/13). How much do school social workers make? The May 2012 data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the average salary for social workers employed at elementary and secondary school is $59,620 annually (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes htm) However, depending upon the candidate s previous work experience, administrative responsibility, and the financial structure of the school district a school social worker may earn upwards to $70,000-$85,000 annually. Rev. 11/29/13 5

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