Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Schools Specialization

School social work is defined as an area of specialization by a number of national and local organizations. Illinois, along with several other states, requires individuals to be licensed (PEL) to practice as a School Social Worker. In order to qualify for licensure, individuals must receive their training through accredited institutions of higher learning. Loyola University Chicago and its School of Social Work in collaboration with the School of Education provide the required training.

State of Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)—School Social Worker Endorsement—Requirements

Students interested in pursuing the PEL (formerly Type 73 certification), which will enable them to be a social worker in a public school in Illinois, must meet the requirements of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Loyola School of Social Work (SSW).

ISBE Requirements

ISBE rules require that a student earn a grade of “C” or better in all program classes. The internship grade of “P” (Pass) meets the ISBE requirement.

Please follow the directions on the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) website for information on test registration and test dates and location.

Loyola School of Social Work Requirements

Loyola’s School of Social Work (SSW) has five specializations from which students may choose for their second or advanced level of study. Loyola’s School of Social Work (SSW) has four clinical specializations and one administrative domain from which students may choose for their second or advanced level of study.

Specializations are declared by November 1 of their first year with their second level field application. Students will be accepted into the schools specialization and will meet with program staff to plan strategies for meeting ISBE requirements and program deadlines, including internship search and course completion.

Students will also interview and complete an internship in a traditional Illinois Public school (non-charter, non-therapeutic and/or non-alternative). Students must complete an internship (which is the entire academic year of the school they are placed in). They will also take five required courses and four electives (specific course requirements are listed below).

Students are required to successfully complete the ISBE content exam, while in the program to be eligible for PEL entitlement post-conferral. 

Post-MSW Applicants

Details can be found at: Post-MSW PEL with School Social Worker Endorsement

BSW Five-Year Students

Students will make application for Schools specialization by Dec. 1 of their senior year. They will follow the deadlines applicable to the MSW fall applicants above. Students will be formally accepted into the Schools specialization before they are eligible for a school internship.

Applying for Licensure

Once students have completed the required ISBE tests, coursework, and internship and degree conferral has been completed, candidates may proceed to the School Entitlement Form for next steps to receive the Professional Educator License: School Social Worker Endorsement.

Elective Recommendations

  • SOWK 603: Seminar in Brief Treatment
  • SOWK 605: Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction
  • SOWK 608: Social Work and the Law
  • SOWK 616: Psychotherapy with Adults
  • SOWK 617: Principles & Interventions in Clinical Social Work
  • SOWK 656: Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations
  • SOWK 670: Bridging Psychodynamic Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Practice
  • SOWK 722: Introduction to Alcohol and Other Drug Disorders


  • Migration Studies Sub-specialization