Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Social Work (SSW) and Child Welfare & Attendance (CWA) Authorization 

School social workers are the link between home, school, and community.  They give primary emphasis to helping public school pupils to achieve academic success by emphasizing the importance of academic advising.  As a potential member of the educational team comprised of teachers, administrators, pupil services staff, and parents, you, as a school social worker, will promote and support students’ academic and social success by providing specialized services that include:

  • individual and group counseling
  • support groups for students and parents
  • crisis intervention and prevention and response
  • home visits
  • social developmental assessments
  • parent education and training
  • professional case management
  • information and referral
  • collaboration with other pupil services professionals
  • collaboration with other community agencies and organizations
  • advocacy for students, parents, and the school system
  • administration and supervision of pupil services programs
  • coordination of programs such as mentoring, school-to-work, and peer counseling
  • staff development
  • policy development such as discipline and attendance policies
State Certification, Legal Regulation, and Professional Credentials

As of June 1995, the majority of states require school social work certification by the state’s educational agency. California is one of those states. To practice in a public school system, a social worker must hold a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC). The credentialing of school social workers and child welfare and attendance workers is under the auspices of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The Pupil Personnel Services Credential is comprised of several specializations including school social work, school psychology, and school counseling, and an additional authorization in child welfare and attendance services. PPSC in SSW holders must possess an MSW and meet the required state standards, which are comprised of three sections: Common Standards for all Service and Specialist Credentials, Generic Standards, and Specialized Standards pertaining to school social work and child welfare and attendance services.  Copies of the standards are available here.

These tasks must be completed prior to applying for the PPSC:

State law requires that all candidates for a credential must hold a Certificate of Clearance prior to the first day of directed field experience. This certificate verifies that an individual has met commission standards as established by law for “personal and professional fitness.” If you already hold a teaching credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (expired or not) you do not have to apply for the Certificate of Clearance. Click here for more information.

All candidates for the Pupil Personnel Services School Social Work and/or Child Welfare and Attendance credentials must pass the Basic Skills Requirement prior to applying for the actual PPSC/SSW/CWA.

California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)

Register for the exam using the CBEST registration bulletin. If you would like to obtain more information regarding the CBEST, you can call directly to Educational Evaluation Services at (916) 928-6150 or check out their website.  The cost of the test is $41 (paper) – $102 (computer).

Other Tests

In addition to the CBEST, the CCTC will allow other tests to meet the Basic Skills Requirement. For further information, click here and here.

If candidates have any questions about whether they met the Basic Skills Requirement via one of the tests listed, they should contact the CCTC, not UCLA. If you have met the requirement through one of the tests, you must provide a hard copy documentation of this.

In order to receive the PPSC with a specialization in School Social Work, the candidate must complete 450 hours of field practice under the supervision of someone who has two years post MSW experiences with the PPSC in SSW.   Through the Field Practicum and under the supervision of the Field Instructor, the student should acquire skills and knowledge in specified content areas. The distribution of hours should be decided in collaboration with the candidate, field supervisor, and university supervisor.  The 450 clock hours of field practice must consist of the following:

  • Candidate has completed fieldwork in at least two schooling levels (public pre-school, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, district-level and alternative schools)
  • Candidate has had a broad base of experience, including but not limited to: families and students identified for Free and Reduced Priced Meals, English Language Learners, Homeless, Foster Youth, Students in need of Special Education and Section 504 Plans, students who have been expelled from school, sexual minority youth (LGBTQ+), and students with mental health needs.

In order to receive the PPSC with an authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA) , each candidate must complete a minimum of 150 hours of supervised school-based field experience engaging in practice in the following areas: student attendance, student enrollment and discipline, educational records, parent engagement, and legal and ethical compliance related to pupil services.

School District Placement Sites 

We place in Los Angeles USD, Santa Monica-Malibu USD, East Whittier City USD, El Rancho USD, Long Beach USD, Pasadena USD and a few qualified agencies that contract with school districts.

In addition to all required MSW courses, PPSC/SSW/CWA students must take SW 202A, SW202B, “Child Psychopathology,” SW231A, SW231E “School Social Work,” SW290N and an Education and the Law course. If additional University-Specific PPSC/SSW/CWA seminars are held, students are expected to attend. You will need 99 units to graduate with your PPSC if you are in the Child & Family Well-Being AOC*.

*More units may be required if you are in the other AOCs.


Eligible PPSC students must be a student in our MSW program, in any of our Areas of Concentration (AoC).  Students must be interviewed and be accepted by an approved PPSC/SSW/CWA placement. We host an orientation for interested students, typically in the Winter Quarter where we go through all the requirements in detail, and at the end of the year we work with a credential analyst in GSEIS to help complete the process. We have 10-25 students completing their PPSC/SSW/CWA each year.


UCLA offers a post-MSW PPSC program. Please note that you must have an MSW for this program; we cannot offer a PPSC/SSW to other disciplines. If  you have another degree, please go to ctc.ca.gov. To learn more about the program requirements and summer training, please click here. For UCLA CTC Accredited Professional Educator Program (UCAP) information please click here.

Here is an informational video about the process and timeline of this program.


In the unlikely event that our program discontinues, candidates will be referred to CSULB and SJSU’s post-MSW PPSC programs to complete the requirements.


6/24/2022: Enrollment is closed for the Summer 2022 PPSC Training. Please complete this form if you would like to join the waitlist for the training. A decision will be made by July 15th. https://forms.gle/Arr4vaUs3enenv9R9

5/18/2022: Please do not sign up for the standalone CWA component if you do not have a PPS in School Social Work.

We are pleased to open enrollment for this summer’s training. This summer’s training will be taught remotely from 8AM – 2PM PT during all four Saturdays in August and the first Saturday in September. Based on demand, we could possibly offer a Sunday section. Attendance for all five sessions is mandatory. Make-up sessions are not offered. Applicants must meet these requirements to obtain the credential. While we normally require the tasks (Certificate of Clearance, Basic Skills Requirement, Field Experience and coursework) prior to enrollment in the PPSC training, we will be providing the training to interested participants even if they have not met all of the requirements at the time of enrollment. However, it will be the sole responsibility of the trainee to complete the necessary criteria in order to file the final PPSC application for processing.

For questions regarding UCLA’s post-MSW PPSC program, please contact Ervin Huang at ervin@luskin.ucla.edu.