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Fall 2024 On-Campus MSW Application FINAL Deadline: July 16, 2024

Post MSW-Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC)

School social work is one of the fastest growing areas of social work practice. The Pupil Personnel Services Credentials authorize individuals to provide school services in grades 12 and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. The PPSC is usually a requirement for employment as a school social worker in California K-12 public schools. For more information about the PPSC in School Social Work, and Child Welfare and Attendance, please visit the CTC's Services Credential Requirements.

We are pleased to offer a Post-MSW Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) program at our University Park Campus. Currently, we are only accepting applications from alumni who completed the Families and Children concentration or Children, Youth and Families department program of study. Please review the Post-MSW PPSC Information document for complete details.

How to Apply to the Post-MSW PPSC Program

  • Monday, November 30, 2020-Spring 2021 application deadline
  • Monday, August 2, 2021 -Fall 2021 application deadline

If you are interested in this program, please complete the on-line application. Space is extremely limited for this high demand program, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Please note, our courses are three units and convene once a week for two hours and 50 minutes at the University Park Campus.

Program Costs

Tuition for each three-unit course is approximately $6,000. All approved Post-MSW Graduate Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) students will enroll as ‘Limited Status’ students. Upon acceptance in our program, one of our knowledgeable social work staff members will assist you in completing the University’s Limited Status application.  Limited status students are not eligible to receive any funding support to cover the cost of tuition and fees.    

Required Coursework for the PPSC

  • Candidate must earn a grade point average of a 3.0 or better in SW614: Social Work Practice in School Settings.

Academic and Practice Requirements for the PPSC

Persons who have successfully completed the CBEST (or CTC approved alternative examination) and the School’s CTC-approved program during the course of their Master’s degree training at USC are immediately eligible to apply for the credential, and may contact the Program Director for assistance in processing the application.

Candidates must have been in the Family & Children Concentration or the Children, Youth and Families Department of studies during their MSW program

Field Experience Requirements for the PPSC in School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance

PPS credentialed seeking candidates must successfully complete 600 clock hours of school-based field experience. Candidates pursuing this credential are required to have:

PPSC/ SSW Specialization Field Requirements:

  • 450 clock hours in a school-based setting supervised by a PPS credentialed holder.
  • Candidates must conduct their field hours in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school setting.
  • Work in two age group settings: preschool, elementary, middle, and high school.

CWA Field Requirements:

150 clock hours of field experience supervised by a PPS credentialed holder

Prerequisites for the PPSC

Certificate of Clearance

Before beginning any school-based field placement that will be used to satisfy PPSC field requirements, credential-seeking students must obtain a Certificate of Clearance (or hold another valid certificate or permit) issued by the CTC. The Certificate of Clearance is a document issued to an individual who has completed the required fingerprint and background check process. You MUST obtain the Certificate of Clearance prior to beginning any school-based field placement hours you wish to have count towards the PPSC field experience requirement.

Individuals who have received fingerprint clearance from a school district, other California state agencies, or in other states are NOT exempt from this requirement. Please note this means you must complete the LiveScan process specifically for the PPSC, even if you have already done it for another agency. Exceptions are granted only to individuals who have already completed the fingerprint process, and have been issued a valid document by the CTC. These individuals are not required to obtain another Certificate of Clearance. Certificates of Clearance are valid for five years.

Obtaining a Certificate of Clearance is a TWO-STEP PROCESS: FIRST you complete LiveScan fingerprinting, and THEN you apply for the Certificate online through the CTC’s Online Services for Educators

Fingerprint Clearance

Prior to beginning any school-based field placement, the credentialed-seeking candidates must obtain a Certificate of Clearance (COC) issued by the CTC. The COC is a document that is issued to the credentialed seeking candidates who has completed the required fingerprint and background verification process. To apply for your COC using the CTC online system, please follow the steps listed below:

1. Print one copy of the Live Scan 41-LS Form: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/41-LS.pdf

2. Take the Live Scan form to a location offering Live Scan electronic fingerprint services. For listing of Live Scan locations: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations . You will be required to pay a processing fee to the Live Scan operator for your prints to be scanned. Retain a copy of the Live Scan form for your records.

3. Detailed Instructions on how to apply for your Certificate of Clearance online:


4. Web Site for applying for the Certificate of Clearance:


*should you experience any issues accessing the above links, please refer to the CTC web site: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/

Status of your Certificate of Clearance:

The State of California will send you an email with your clearance confirmation. Candidates may view the status of their Certificate of Clearance application using their Educator Login: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/default.html

Basic Skills Requirement for the PPSC

A passing score on the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or an approved score on alternative examinations in lieu of the CBEST is a prerequisite for any initial application for a California credential, verification of which must be submitted prior to recommendation for the PPSC credential. CBEST examination information can be found here:

http://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/about_CBEST.asp and alternative examinations in lieu of the CBEST can be found here: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/cl667.pdf

Submission of the PPSC Application

Once all of the aforementioned requirements have been met, please attach the following documents for processing of your credential.

1. PPSC Checklist Form (p.4)

2. PPSC Application which can be found: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/414.pdf

3. Official USC Graduate transcript (MSW degree and required course work must be illustrated on the transcript). Candidate must submit transcript; electronic transcripts submitted directly from the university registrar’s office will not be accepted.

4. Submit a completed copy of the Post MSW Comprehensive Skills Evaluation for PPSC (pg. 10-26)

5. Submit a copy of the CTC Certificate of Clearance

6. Submit a copy of the CBEST examination or other approved examination illustrating a passing score.

If a former VAC student, please contact VAC Field at vacfield@usc.edu  for instructions on the submission of the completed files.

*Files must be in a sealed envelope. Incomplete files will not be processed CTC Requirements for the PPSC

For more information, please review the Post-MSW PPSC Information document that explicitly states our program’s requirements.

If you any questions or concerns not related to the program requirements please contact Monica Ellis directly at monicael@usc.edu.