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PreK-12 School Social Worker Graduate Certificate


This certificate requires the completion of nine credits.

Required course:

SOWK 560 – Social Work Practice in Schools (3 cr., spring, summer, fall)
This course will leave you with an understanding of the historical and cultural context of social work services in schools, state and federal legislation relating to education, terminology surrounding children with disabilities and their needs and rights, current issues, and more.

Select two courses from the following (6 credits):

SOWK 551 – Fundamentals of Mediation (3 cr., spring, summer, fall)
This course covers basic and advanced dispute resolution skills for a variety of conflict situations, mediation facilitation, conflict theories, power dynamics, discrimination, and more.

SOWK 561 – Exceptionalities in Education (3 cr., summer - 8 weeks)
This course is designed to provide a comprehensive look at the school social worker role in identifying, assessing and intervening with students who have an exceptionality in the educational system.

SOWK 562 – Functional Behavior Assessment (3 cr., summer - 8 weeks)
Functional behavioral assessments (FBA) and behavior intervention plans (BIP) within the educational settings are an integral part of the school social worker role. Develop the knowledge and skills essential to identify the necessary components of the FBA/BIP and implement a three-tiered prevention model of assessment and intervention in alignment with Colorado Department of Education (CDE) standards. Apply best practice techniques and demonstrate vital data collection.

Licensure Information

The School of Social Work at Colorado State University supports those holding or working toward a Master of Social Work wishing to work in a PreK-12 school setting by offering required coursework and this optional preK-12 school social worker certificate. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) requires social workers to obtain appropriate licensure before working in the PreK-12 school setting as a special services provider.

Educational requirements for licensure set by the CDE:

  • An M.S.W from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (must provide transcripts)
    • Minimum of 900 field education hours, a portion of which must have been working with school-aged children (ages 0-21). Advanced standing students must have completed a minimum of 900 field education hours between B.S.W. and M.S.W. field education. Otherwise, all field education hours must have been completed as part of an M.S.W. program.
    • Field placements completed at any institution other than CSU must be officially verified by the field education director at such institution and include information verifying the student's practicum hours and work with school-aged children.
  • SOWK 560: Social Work Practice in Schools

Those with unique situations that don't meet the educational requirements precisely should contact the certificate coordinator in the School of Social Work, Evan Lowe at for more information.

Information about all the CDE licensure requirements, in addition to the educational requirements, can be found at It is highly recommended that potential applicants create an account with CDE and view the entire application a few months prior to applying. Applications are deleted 90 days after registration if not complete and submitted by that time. To create an account, visit and click "Register" at the top of the page. Please be aware that the application process is detailed and requires advanced planning to successfully complete within a certain time frame.

Note: You must be admitted to this program for the certificate to appear on your official University transcript.