Post-Master's School Social Worker Endorsement Certificate

The Post-Master’s School Social Worker Endorsement Certificate Program is designed to prepare participants to become effective practitioners within the context of the public school system. Participants will build the knowledge, skills, values, and experience applicable to work in a variety of school settings. Upon completion, they are eligible to apply for the Professional Educator License (PEL) with School Social Worker Endorsement (formerly the Type 73 Certificate), required to practice school social work in most school settings in Illinois.  

Courses and Field Work

All courses are taught by faculty of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago’s main campus in Hyde Park. Coursework is offered in evening hours to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Classes begin in the Autumn Quarter with SSA 433: The Exceptional Child. The second class, SSA 416:  Public School Systems and Populations, is taken in the following spring quarter. For complete course descriptions please visit the link on the left.

Classes are taken concurrently with the externship, which typically begins in August or September prior to the start of classes. Program participants have access to SSA’s extensive network of over 60 field placements from which to choose, ranging from Early Childhood to high school, and in traditional public, charter, and therapeutic settings in Chicago and throughout the suburbs. Many externships provide stipends to candidates. Individualized guidance is available to ensure that post-Master’s participants find a strong externship setting with the right fit for their interests.

Lastly, post-Master’s participants have access to the personalized support of a clinical field consultant and the opportunity to interact with fellow participants through a quarterly field externship seminar that meets on SSA’s campus. 

Career Opportunities

Participants in SSA’s School-based Programs are uniquely prepared to promote student learning and well-being, address academic and non-academic barriers to learning, develop comprehensive and cohesive academic and social supports, and understand and apply diverse frameworks for evidence-based practice and program development. Upon successful completion of all program and state requirements, participants are eligible to apply for their PEL with School Social Worker Endorsement through the Illinois State Board of Education, which is required to practice as a School Social Worker in the State of Illinois.

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of a Master’s degree in social work prior to entering the program.
  • A completed application (link provided below). Applications are accepting on an annual rolling basis through March 15. Admission decisions will be made by March 31, each year.
  • Applicants must take and pass the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP exam), or submit qualifying ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the TAP, prior to submitting their application to the program. Applications will not be reviewed until scores are received. Scores must be submitted directly through the Educator Licensure Information System (see below) and do not have to be sent to SSA. GRE scores are not required or accepted as an alternative to the TAP, per ISBE regulations. 

Please see the following websites for detailed information regarding testing requirements, registration, and preparation resources:

  • Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS): All candidates applying to the program must create an account on the ELIS system. Scores cannot be reviewed as part of an application until they are received in ELIS.  All candidates must provide their identification number created in ELIS as part of their application (the IEIN, or Individual Educator Information Number).  
  • Illinois State Board of Education: for detailed information re: TAP/ACT/SAT testing requirements as well as instructions for submitting ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the TAP.
  • Illinois Licensure Testing System: for information re: registering and preparing for the TAP exam.

Professional Educator License (PEL) Requirements per the Illinois State Board of Education

  • In addition to the admission and program requirements described above, candidates for the PEL must receive grades of ‘C’ or better in all of their graduate courses, including those taken prior to and during the post-master’s certificate program.
  • Candidates must pass the School Social Worker Content Area exam offered through the Illinois Licensure Testing Service. This exam is typically taken near the completion of the certificate program.
  • Background check (required when applying for the Professional Educator License as well as for approval to complete the externship). Candidates with a record of misdemeanor or felony convictions may face special challenges obtaining an externship in a school setting or obtaining the Professional Educator License through the Illinois State Board of Education. For more information, please contact the Illinois State Board of Education at 866.262.6663. 

Admission Information

All applications for admission to the Post-Master's School Social Work Endorsement Certificate Program (formerly the Type 73 certificate) must be received by March 15 for consideration for the following Autumn Quarter. Only complete applications are reviewed. There are a limited number of spaces available for the program. Admission decisions will be made by March 31, each year. Coursework begins in the following Autumn Quarter. 

Applications are available online at:

Application requirements:

  • Proof of Master’s Degree in Social Work;
  • Résumé;
  • Two letters of recommendation;
  • Candidate statement regarding your interest in the program (no more than three pages);
  • Transcripts.

Required Texts and Materials

  • Required texts will be announced prior to the start of each quarter and available for purchase through the campus bookstore system.
  • Most other readings will be available for no charge via Chalk for all enrolled participants.
  • Additional course packets of readings will be available through SSA’s Production Room, the cost of which will be included in the program fees.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is charged on a per-course basis in accordance with SSA’s tuition and fee structure at the time of enrollment in the program. Current tuition for 2018-2019 is $6,731 per course. A non-refundable administrative fee of $1,500 is charged at the time of enrollment into the certificate program. Participants in the certificate program may choose to opt-in to the University of Chicago Student Health Insurance Program and Student Life programming at an additional cost. The Post-Master's School Social Worker Endorsement Program is not eligible for federal or state student aid. Participants may pursue private lending options on their own. 

Contact Information

Jennifer Meade
Director, School Social Work Program