Field Instructor FAQs

A field instructor is a licensed social worker who provides a social work student with one hour of supervision per week for the duration of the practicum

If you are a new agency and would like to have a social work student as an intern you will need to fill out our Field Agency Assessment form.

Certain criteria, set by the Council on Social Work Education, must be met in order to be a field instructor. See requirements below:

A field instructor for a BSW student must be a social worker who holds a MSW degree from an accredited program and has at least two years of post-graduate experience. If the instructor is a licensed MSW holder, he or she must have at least two years of post-graduate experience. (If there is no staff on site who meets these requirements, exceptions for a "task supervisor" can be made.)

On-site staff member who is responsible for partial supervision of a social work student for the duration of the practicum. In the case that there is no staff member on site who meets the licensure, degree, and experience requirements, a staff member with a related degree may be approved by the Generalist Field Director to be a task supervisor. The student must have an identified field instructor with the required credentials, but this can be a person outside the agency who is responsible for partial supervision in concurrence with the task supervisor.

A field instructor is responsible for providing a student with 1 hour of supervision/week, arranging for student to have adequate work space, orienting student to the new work environment, defining roles and responsibilities of students, modeling professional social work practice for student, evaluating students, and maintaining open communication with Southern SOSW field staff.

Yes, there is a two hour orientation offered in the summer and fall, where field instructors will be given information and have a chance to ask questions.

Agencies accepting BSW and MSW students are invited to attend a "Field Fair" event held in the spring. This is where students will meet with agency representatives and, together, agencies and students will find matches that suit both parties. Agencies accepting BSW or MSW students will be contacted by students wishing to interview with them. When agencies and students come to an agreement on a field placement, field staff is notified. (Agencies who cannot make the field fair will still be listed on our website as taking students and students will be free to contact these agencies at their convenience.) Once agencies finish interviewing students, they submit a choice form. Once this form has been received by the field department, the field division will notify both the agency and the student for the approval of placement to fulfill their hours with the agency.

Because we have more agencies than students, not all agencies will be matched with students. If your agency would really like a student, one way to attract students is to create a practicum experience that is interesting, challenging, and educational.

BSW students complete their hours over the course of fall and spring semester of one academic year (from September to April). MSW students complete their hours over the summer of their academic year.

BSW students are required to complete 40 hours junior year and 400 hours senior year. MSW students complete 400 hours in their foundation (first) years and 500 hours in their Advanced (second) years.

Please contact the Director of Field Education, Stephanie Guster 423-236-2637 or email