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Applying to a Post-MSW PEL Program

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A Post-MSW PEL program is a non-degree program for master’s level social workers to obtain the course credits and internship experience to secure a professional educator license (PEL) for working as a school social worker in the state of Illinois. Here I share my experience applying to a post-MSW PEL program for securing the requirements needed to be a licensed school social worker in Illinois.

Click here for more information on Post-MSW PEL Programs.

Why did I apply to a Post-MSW PEL Program?

I completed the Post-MSW PEL Licensure program at the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2018-2019. I had been in the field working in community mental health for a year and my rationale for going back to school was that I loved working with teens and wanted to have more job opportunities.  

My second-year internship had been working in private high school in their counseling department and I absolutely loved it. I had received encouragement from my internship supervisor to consider getting a PEL in order to get a job in that department or to get a similar job at a different school.  

I was also feeling disillusioned with my community mental health job. I felt incredibly underprepared to be providing therapy, especially to children with ADHD. My logic was that going back to school to take additional classes and working under a school social worker would provide me with increased knowledge and skills for working with this population. 

I did research comparing the cost and program requirements between the Post-MSW PEL program at UIC and the one at Loyola University Chicago. I ended up choosing to only apply to the UIC program because it was much cheaper due to UIC being a state school and the course requirements were a bit less. Another plus of this program was that all coursework be completed online. 

What was the Post-MSW PEL Program Application Process? 

At the time, the application for the Post-MSW PEL program at UIC was to be completed on paper and mailed in to the UIC Graduate and Professional Office of Admission. The application requirements in 2018 included: 

  • Personal Statement
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Unofficial ACT Report

I mailed the application in on March 14th and received an email from UIC on March 21st verifying they had received it. I received my acceptance letter to the program on March 28th.  

The next steps were to find a school social work internship placement and figure out tuition costs

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Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m a licensed clinical social worker, entrepreneur, and wellness expert with a passion for helping others thrive. Join me as I offer practical tips and resources for fellow students, professionals, and anyone seeking wisdom on improving their well-being.



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