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School Social Work (Non-Degree)

Obtain a Preliminary Certificate

Spring Arbor University’s Master’s in Social Work program offers three school social work courses that are a requirement in obtaining a preliminary approval with the Michigan Department of Education for becoming a school social worker.

These 7-week fully online courses are offered at least twice a year.

Two students talking with each other in small room

SWK 641 and SWK 642 may be taken in any order, with SWK 643 required as the final course. Current SAU Specialized MSW students are able to take SWK641 as an elective course.

If an individual comes in as a non-program seeking student, the requirement is possessing a BSW or above in social work. If an individual does not meet these requirements, SAU offers a full MSW program. A post-MSW individual with a license can also obtain 36 Continuing Education credits for each course.

If taken as Continuing Education credits, the course tuition charged is only $750 per course (beginning Fall 2022).

SWK641: Laws & Policies for School Social Workers–3 credits/36 CEs

This course enhances students’ understanding of the history of education, special education and current legal and ethical standards. This course provides candidates with a strong basis to advocate for educational policy and appropriate resources for quality education and supporting the legal rights of students with disabilities. Students will be able to effectively communicate the needs and legal rights of individuals with disabilities according to state and federal special education law and candidates will be prepared to work in school environments to collaborate with educators, families and students with disabilities.

SWK642: School Social Work Assessment & Intervention–3 credits/36 CEs

This course gives students the opportunity to increase their knowledge and research of mental health disorders of children and youth. Students will develop competency in applying biopsychosocial theories of resiliency, coping, etiology, the impact of mental health disorders and socioeconomic factors to the treatment of children and youth. Classification systems of child and youth functioning and disorders will be presented (DSM). The impact of labeling and stigma will be explored to develop critical thinking about how mental health disorders of children and youth are conceptualized.

SWK643: Mental Health & Mental Disorders in Children & Youth –3 credits/36 CEs

Students will receive instruction in social work practice, knowledge and skills using effective evidence-based assessment and intervention to be used in various group and individual settings. The assessments and interventions are used to enhance student learning, development and social/academic school success. This course will engage students in knowledge and activities to assess and intervene in a variety of special education areas. Students will learn the importance of family engagement and collaboration, as well as consultation between teachers, families and other school personnel.

For admission to these courses:

  • Apply for School Social Work (Non-Degree)
  • Provide official transcripts of your BSW or MSW

Individuals employed as school social workers in Michigan must meet the requirements of the Michigan Department of Education.

Once an individual has met all the requirements, listed below, they will need to apply for approval through the Michigan Department of Education for preliminary certification as a school social worker. If the MSW graduate obtained their degree from another university that offers the school social worker courses, that university will confirm that they have met their requirements. 

  • MSW conferred degree from a CSWE accredited program
  • Completion of School Social Work courses
    • If obtained from SAU, the three courses are SWK641, SWK642 and SWK643
    • If these courses are obtained from another institution, an official transcript must be submitted to the social work department (
  • 500 hours of specialized MSW field work with children & youth or 500 hours post-MSW work with children & youth under an LMSW or a combination of these two that equals 500 hours of work with children & youth (direct practice required).