School Social Work 

Track for California Residents

Pre-K–12 students in public and private schools nationwide face challenges outside the classroom that affect their ability to succeed academically. The MSW@USC school social work track prepares California residents to help children and adolescents overcome obstacles such as poverty, divorce and mental illness so they can reach their potential. 

At this time, the school social work track is available only to California residents.

If you choose the school social work track, you will be prepared to work not only with students but also with parents, teachers and administrators to make a positive impact at multiple levels within the school system. 

On a typical workday as a school social worker, you may: 

  • Meet with students individually to discuss problems at home that are affecting their grades.
  • Assess students with mental health concerns, and direct them toward helpful services.
  • Report cases of neglect or child abuse to the appropriate authorities.
  • Provide counseling and crisis intervention services to students’ families.
  • Advocate for resources that will help boost student achievement.
  • Help school staff identify the cultural and socioeconomic factors affecting students’ decisions.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with local social work agencies that help you support students.



The following courses are required for the school social work track:

  • All core courses in the Department of Children, Youth and Families
  • Social Work Practice in School Settings
  • School Violence OR Social Work in Early Care and Education Settings

Field Education

In addition to the courses above, you will complete 300 to 600 hours of field education, either in one or more schools or at a community agency that provides services within schools.

The MSW@USC’s field placement team will identify suitable placements in proximity to your home where you can complete the required hours and develop the skills needed to become an effective school social worker.

California State Credentials

The Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) is required to practice school social work in California. To earn the credential, you must complete: 

  • The school social work track course requirements.
  • The school social work track field education requirements.
  • An additional 600 hours of field education in a school setting. 

Your academic advisor, field instructor and field liaison will guide you throughout the process of earning the PPSC as part of the school social work track.

If you do not intend to pursue the PPSC, you may still participate in the school social work track by completing the required coursework and a minimum of 300 field hours as outlined in the field requirements section above.

Request Information