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Advance your social work career fast by acquiring the skills to promote students’ academic and social success alongside broader social change.

Designed for professionals who already have an MSW, our school social work program prepares you to obtain a Professional Educator License (PEL) with the endorsement needed for social work positions in K–12 public schools in Illinois. 

School social workers play a critical role in helping students manage obstacles to learning that can range from homeless and food insecurity to mental health disorders and family instability. By earning your school social work endorsement through Dominican you’ll be ready to provide leadership on school policy, crisis management and culturally responsive intervention. You’ll also learn to collaborate with co-workers and parents in advocating for positive social change in school settings.

Program Overview

  • Time to complete: 9 months
  • 12 credit hours (2 required courses and 2 field practicums)
  • Field placement: 480 hours in a K–12 school, though some internships may require more
  • Convenient course options: 100% online, in-person or hybrid

Start advancing your career today. Request information today


Social work professionals serve as an important link between schools, families and the wider community. At Dominican, you’ll be prepared not only to help individual students but also to provide leadership for your school and district in promoting effective policy and services.

You’ll learn to assess student needs and to develop and implement culturally responsive intervention strategies to effect personal and social change. The coursework is designed to develop your skills in areas that include: resource brokering, school climate, trauma-informed mental health services, racial inequities, the needs of English Language Learners, special education services and more.

All courses are taught on campus and online by leading faculty who have real-world experience in classrooms and schools of all kinds. You’ll enjoy access to a variety of field placement options in schools around the Chicago area. You’ll be ready to provide competent service to this important population and to advocate for social change. Read detailed course descriptions.

Required Courses
  • Exceptional Students: Characteristics and the Special Education Process (SPED 522)
  • School Social Work (SWK 664)
Gain Hands-On Social Work Skills through Field Placements

The internships required for licensure in Illinois are your opportunity to gain experience and confidence. Our director of field placement will work with you to explore options for placements.


What can I do with a school social work endorsement?

Your graduate certificate in school social work will qualify you to work in schools and districts in support of their academic mission. You’ll be able to work directly with students to help them manage the social factors that can negatively affect their learning. And you’ll be ready to serve as a liaison to the community, resolve conflict and advocate for district policies in areas like discipline and equity that will improve learning outcomes.

What are the different roles of school social workers?

Social work professionals in schools don’t just work directly with students, they’re also a resource for teachers, schools and district administrators. You’ll be prepared to play a role in formulating district-wide policies, developing staff in-service training programs and ensuring your district receives adequate support social and mental health agencies. You’ll also serve as a link between schools, families and the broader community.

How do I apply?

Applicants should:

  • Hold an MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Complete a Graduate School Application for Admission online
  • Submit your résumé, a personal statement and two letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional)
  • Submit an official transcript from the university where you earned your MSW

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online

How affordable is the tuition?

We offer our post-MSW school social work program at a discount compared with the price per credit hour for our master’s degrees. The total cost is: $6,025 (half paid in the fall, half in the spring).

How do I obtain a Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed in school social work?

You’ll need to complete an internship. The director of field placement will work with you to explore placement options. You will also need to take the school social work content exam through the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS).

Professional Educator License endorsed in School Social Work: Full Instructions (pdf opens in a new window)

Because of a shortage of school social workers, you can obtain a short-term, three-year PEL through a streamlined process if you meet certain requirements. 

Short-Term Approvals for School School Support Personnel (pdf opens in a new window)

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online


Request information today