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School Social Work Credentials

School Social Work Credential (PPSC) Program

School social work is one of the fastest growing areas of social work practice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of child, family, and school social workers is expected to grow by 6% from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. In schools, more social workers will be needed due to rising student enrollments.

The Berkeley Social Welfare School Social Work Credentialing Program

Berkeley Social Welfare offers a curriculum in school social work practice, leading to eligibility for a recommendation for the Pupil Personnel Services Credentials (PPSC), which are issued by the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The Pupil Personnel Services Credentials authorize individuals to provide school services in grades 12 and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. The PPSC is usually a requirement for employment as a school social worker in California K-12 public schools.

Berkeley Social Welfare’s fully accredited School Social Work Program educates master’s-level social workers to assist public schools in achieving their educational and developmental missions.

  • Current MSW students are eligible to apply for and complete the PPSC Program requirements as part of their MSW degree studies at Berkeley.

  • A Post-Master's PPSC Program option is available for social work professionals who already hold the Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Post-MSW PPSC Program candidates complete the required course work in the summer through Berkeley Summer Sessions, or as availability allows, through University Extension Concurrent Enrollment.

Requirements for the PPSC

Required Coursework

In addition to successfully completing all requirements for the MSW degree, students seeking the PPS credentials must take the following specific credential program courses as part of their program of study:

SOC WEL 232: Social Work and Education Policy (2 units)
SOC WEL 250T: Social Practice in School Settings (2 units)

Because these are required courses in our School Social Work Program as accredited by the state, no transfer credit is accepted, nor waivers granted, for either course.

Students in the Post-MSW PPSC Program complete required courses in the summer through enrollment in Berkeley Summer Sessions. In certain cases as availability allows, the required courses may be taken during the regular fall or spring term through University Extension Concurrent Enrollment. However, as the post-master’s PPSC program is primarily a summer program, this option is not guaranteed to be consistently available.  

Field Experience Requirements

PPSC-seeking students demonstrate competence in school social work practice by successfully completing 1000 clock hours of field experience. 

Field Requirements for the PPSC Specialization in School Social Work:
  • At least 450 clock hours in a school-based practice setting supervised by a PPSC credential holder.
  • At least 100 hours with 10 pupils of an ethnic background different from your own.
  • At least 100 hours in each of two age-group settings (preschool, elementary, middle, high school).
Field Requirements for the Add-on Specialization in Child Welfare & Attendance:
  • 150 additional clock hours of field experience under the supervision of a PPSC holder.
  • At least 30 of these hours completed in a setting outside the field of education(such as law enforcement, juvenile justice, child health and welfare, mental health, social services, child protective services, community based organizations, etc.).

Berkeley Social Welfare MSW students satisfy this requirement through a combination of both first and second year MSW field placements. MSW students pursuing the PPS credentials will typically need to have a second year field placement in a school-based setting. This arrangement is most meaningful in terms of synchronizing required academic course work with field experiences. 

Post-MSW PPSC Program participants must have either completed the necessary field experience requirement for the PPSC while in their MSW program, or after receiving their MSW, or be in the process of completing field experience hours through employment in a public school setting that meets the CTC field experience requirements for the PPS credentials as outlined above. Post-MSW PPSC Program participants are responsible for securing their own internship/field placement to obtain the required field experience. Berkeley Social Welfare does NOT provide field placements, any liaison assistance, oversight, or liability insurance coverage for post-master’s students, since these program participants do not register or pay for field practicum credit. 

Certificate of Clearance

Before beginning any school-based field placement that will be used to satisfy PPSC field requirements, credential-seeking students must obtain a Certificate of Clearance (or hold another valid certificate or permit) issued by the CTC. The Certificate of Clearance is a document issued to an individual who has completed the required fingerprint and background check process. You MUST obtain the Certificate of Clearance prior to beginning any school-based field placement hours you wish to have count towards the PPSC field experience requirement.

Individuals who have received fingerprint clearance from a school district, other California state agencies, or in other states are NOT exempt from this requirement. Please note this means you must complete the LiveScan process specifically for the PPSC, even if you have already done it for another agency. However, an individual who has already completed the fingerprint process and has been issued a valid document by the CTC is not required to obtain another Certificate of Clearance. Certificates of Clearance are valid for five years.

Obtaining a Certificate of Clearance is a TWO-STEP PROCESS: FIRST you complete LiveScan fingerprinting, and THEN you apply for the Certificate online through the CTC’s Online Services for Educators.

Basic Skills Requirement

Before your credential recommendation can be submitted to the CTC, you must verify basic skills proficiency by meeting the CTC's basic skills requirement. The basic skills requirement may also be required as a condition of employment in some school districts. All credential candidates MUST provide a copy of the examination score report used to verify satisfaction of the Basic Skills Requirement at the time they submit a Request for Online Credential Recommendation Form to the School of Social Welfare (generally upon completion of the program).

The basic skills requirement is most commonly satisfied by successfully passing the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST). Several alternative options are also accepted by the CTC, including SAT or ACT scores that meet the minimum requirement; or minimum acceptable scores on selected College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. 

Program Information and Application Materials

PPSC Program

Guide to the School Social Work Credentialing Program ("PPSC Handbook")
FAQ about the PPSC Program

Current Berkeley MSW Students

PPSC Program Information Sheet
PPSC Program Application
Field Education Forms, Policies & Calendars (for PPSC-specific field evaluation forms)

Post-MSW PPSC Program

Post-MSW PPSC Program Information Sheet
Post-MSW PPSC Program Application Instructions and Checklist
Post-MSW PPSC Program Application Form
Post-MSW PPSC Field Experience Verification & Evaluation Form

Credential Request Forms and Resources

Request for Online Credential Recommendation Form
Submit this form to Berkeley Social Welfare upon completion of all PPSC requirements.

CTC Tips for Creating/Updating Your Educator Profile
CTC How to Apply for the Certificate of Clearance
CTC How to Complete Your Online Recommendation

School Social Work Resources

California Association of School Social Workers
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
NASW: School Social Work Practice & Standards
School Social Work Association of America