School Social Work Employment in Florida
Florida is comprised of 67 school districts. School social work applicants must meet Florida Department of Education certification in order to be hired for this position. The Specialization Requirement rule for certification as a school social worker requires a bachelor's or higher degree in social work; a passing score on the Florida educator exam, CLAST and the school social work subject area test.
Salary determinations vary by district based on hiring preferences (i.e. many district administrators prefer employment of the MSW over the BSW. Preference may also favor professionals who are LCSW's and/or those who carry the SSWS credential. Some districts work through collective bargaining agreements and also establish annual contracts from 10 to 12 months. In addition to the variation across the state of Florida, some school districts do not employ Department of Education certified school social workers and rely on community resources to assist schools.
Primary responsibilities are home/school/family liaison activities and casemanagement, assessment for child study team activities with Exceptional Student Education, Section 504 reviews, and/or school nonattendance identification and intervention services. Within some districts school social workers have strengthened service areas in support and crisis counseling; parent/home management skills training; and comprehensive school/classroom based training programs that assist the classroom teacher.
Florida school districts vary greatly in size from districts with over 200,000 students to districts with student populations under 5000 students. Florida has approximately 1,652 elementary schools, 461 middle schools, 397 senior high schools, 46 vocational schools 467 schools that fit the "other types" description, 204 charter schools, and 232 Department of Juvenile Justice Schools. The membership of students served in exceptional student education totals in excess of 400,000. Opportunities for the school social work professional are vast. See School Social Worker: Student Ratio Chart.
Since employment opportunities are determined solely within each district, you are encouraged to visit district websites in areas you may wish to explore.
Finally, the Florida Association of School Social Workers (FASSW) is a growing professional association intended to support the work of school social workers in Florida's schools. For additional information please visit http://www.fassw.org.