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:

Certificate of Clearance

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.

Basic Skills Requirement

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.

Field Experience

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 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 450 clock hours of field practice must consist of the following:

  • a minimum of  300 clock hours in direct contact with students in a school setting
  • assignments in at least two of four settings (pre-school, elementary, middle school, high school), with a minimum of 100 clock hours in each setting
  • a minimum of 100 hours with at least 10 pupils of a racial/ethnic background different from that of the candidate

In order to receive the PPSC with an authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance, each candidate must complete a minimum of 150 hours of field practice performing child welfare and attendance activities.

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.

Required Courses

In addition to all required MSW courses, PPSC/SSW/CWA students must take SW231A, SW231E “School Social Work,” SW202B, “Child Psychopathology,” 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. Also, we do not offer a stand-alone CWA authorization. To learn more about the program requirements and summer training, please click here. [updated September 10, 2019] For UCLA CTC Accredited Professional Educator Program (UCAP) information please click here.

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.

Summer 2020 PPSC Training
We are no longer accepting applications for our post-MSW PPSC Training for the summer of 2020. The school social work training will be held remotely via Zoom in five 6-hour sessions on 8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22, and 8/29. Attendance at every session is mandatory, and applicants must meet these requirements to enroll. The cost of the program for summer 2020 is $960 for the training and $320 for the paperwork processing. The $960 should be sent upon acceptance into the program, and the $320 should be sent following satisfactory completion of the training for credential paperwork processing.

For questions regarding UCLA’s post-MSW PPSC program, please contact Steven King at king@luskin.ucla.edu.