School Social Work

For over a hundred years, school social workers have been providing a critical link between school, home, and community. The school social work profession has consistently focused on coordinating the efforts of schools, families, and communities toward helping students improve their academic achievement and social, emotional, and behavioral competence by using its unique perspective of viewing the person in their environment. School social workers seek to ensure equitable education opportunities; ensure that students are mentally, physically, and emotionally present in the classroom; and promote respect and dignity for all students. School social work is a complex and specialized field of practice that is affected by changes in education policy, research, and practice models that continue to evolve.

Professional Educator License (PEL) Requirements

If you hold a valid, comparable out of state license:

  • A copy of your valid, comparable out of state license

  • A master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education


If you do not have a valid, comparable out of state license:​

  • A master's degree or higher from a graduate school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

  • Proof of completion of a State Approved Program ​(Use ISBE form 80-02S: State Approved Program and Completion of Standards Verification - School Support Personnel Only)

  • Internship or equivalent experience: 

    • Internship experience of at least 600 contact hours in a school setting, OR 

    • One year of work experience on a valid out-of-state license or an educator license with stipulations with a school support personnel endorsement for school social worker.

  • Completion of coursework* addressing methods of teaching exceptional children, reading methods, content area reading, and methods of teaching English learners (Use ISBE form 80-02S: State Approved Program and Completion of Standards Verification - School Support Personnel Only)

  • Licensure Tests: All test scores are valid indefinitely. Click here to register for the tests. 

    • A test of basic skills--A bill is currently pending to put this requirement on hold

    • School Social Worker (184)

Source: ISBE - School Support Personnel Endorsement (PEL)

Do CEUs qualify for the PEL? In Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will accept courses that fulfill the IDFPR continuing education unit (CEU) requirements for renewal of the Professional Educator License (PEL) if you concurrently possess an active LSW or LCSW license.

For information on PEL renewal, click here.

Additional Resources
  • NASW Standards for School Social Work Services: NASW periodically revises the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services to meet the changing needs of school social workers, the clients they serve, and local education agencies.