School social workers and school counselors are pupil services professionals who work either in several schools in a district or specifically in one school. Schools generally have both a school social worker and a school counselor on staff.

Function

The function of school social workers and school counselors is to provide counseling, intervention and academic assistance services and evaluation to ensure that children are achieving their highest level of academic success.

Similarities

Both school social workers and school counselors may provide intervention and advocacy, referrals to outside agencies for further assistance, and individual and group counseling to students and families.

Differences

School counselors generally focus on curriculum and future educational planning, whereas social workers are more involved in social and family problems.

Education

School social workers usually have, at minimum, a master's degree in social work, whereas school counselors have a master's in school counseling.

Certification

Both school social workers and school counselors are required to be state certified in order to practice; however, requirements differ from state to state.