MSW Home-School Visitor Certification Program


About the Home-School Visitor Certification Program

Do you want to be a school social worker? In Pennsylvania, school social work is called "Home-School Visitor Certification." Students seeking the Home and School/Visitor Social Worker Certification (MSW/HSV) provide professional social work services in a variety of K-12 educational institutions.

Students interested in this certification should consult with their academic advisor when planning the advanced portion of their program.

Read more about the Penn MSW/Home-School Visitor Certification Content.

Certification Requirements

In order to be eligible for the HSV Certificate, students or graduates need the following:

  • SWRK 724: Developmental Disabilities
  • One of the following courses: SWRK 722: Practice with Children and Adolescent; SWRK 742: Practice with At-Risk Youth; or SWRK 773: Mental Health Challenges with Children and Adolescents
  • Education Law and Policy Seminar (offered in January)
  • One field placement (or comparable work experience) in an accredited school setting under the supervision of an MSW
  • MSW Degree
  • Pennsylvania Social Work License

Application and Certification Process

Becoming a certified Home and School Visitor is a two-step process. In the first step, students apply to the HSV program at Penn by submitting a short application. In the second step, after students have completed all of the HSV requirements (outlined above), students submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to obtain their official certification.

Please note that BOTH steps are required. Even if students have completed the academic requirements for the HSV certificate, certification is not complete or official until the certificate has been issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Step 1: Apply to the HSV Certificate Program at SP2

Current Penn MSW Students and Penn MSW Alumni Who Graduated within the Past Two Years
Current Penn MSW Students should complete the application form as early as possible, and before their advanced year of study in the program.

Penn MSW Alumni Who Graduated more than Two Years Ago
Applicants who received their MSW from Penn more than two years ago should submit the application form and:

  • Transcripts of any additional coursework since leaving Penn. Transcripts should be sent by the granting institution directly to Penn.
  • Three letters of reference from previous or current employers. Letters should be sent by the reference directly to Penn. In cases where applicants received their MSW less than five years ago, a letter of reference from a professor or advisor may be substituted for one of the employer references.

Step 2: Apply for the HSV Certificate through the PA Dept. of Education

At the beginning of 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education stopped accepting certification applications by mail. Instead, the state's HSV application form must be completed online, as described below. In no circumstances will the Department of Education accept paper applications; paper applications will be returned.

Before submitting the state's online application, students must:

  • Have an SP2 HSV application on file at the school;
  • Complete the academic requirements associated with the HSV certification (outlined above);
  • Graduate from the MSW program and successfully completed all of the academic requirements of the degree program; and
  • Pass the Pennsylvania social work licensure exam and send a copy of your license to SP2.

To submit the state's online application:

  • Go to the Department of Education's TIMS system website at and follow these instructions.
  • The state charges a $125 application fee as part of the certification process. You will be asked to pay this fee by credit card or money order.
  • You will be required to submit certification from a physician as part of the certification process. The doctor's certification gets mailed to the Department of Education and is not submitted online; additional Information about this requirement is described in the application instructions.


HSV Questions can be directed to:
Emily Schulz
Associate Director of Academic Affairs