Field education is where it all comes together. It’s where you’re given the chance to apply what you’ve learned, stretch your wings, and find the place that’s right for you.
What is fieldwork, or field education, as we call it? It's an internship in a social service agency, such as a hospital, school, nursing home, outpatient mental health clinic or substance abuse program. As you work towards completing your degree, you’ll complete over a thousand hours of fieldwork in agency and social-work settings. You’ll go from reading texts on how to counsel families or motivate veterans to sitting across from them. It’s where all your theoretical knowledge becomes concrete. Field education hours are completed through internships in your own community with live client interaction, whether you take your didactic courses online or in person.
In your first year you’ll get the basics of working day-to-day in an agency, assessing the client’s situation and needs, seeing what they’re entitled to, and making sure they get those services. A qualified field instructor will mentor and advise you on managing your caseload. They’ll go over every client interview with you so you gain important skills and competencies.
By your second year you’ll be handling more clients’ needs on your own, rather than referring them to sources of support. You’ll start to understand how to define the clinical relationship for yourself, while gaining confidence in your ability to help clients. You’ll have the opportunity to specialize in specific areas, and more advanced field placements such as substance abuse clinic, psychiatric facility, mental-health clinics or within your agency.
Fieldwork is a chance to go out of your comfort zone, serving new populations with whom you don't usually interact. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself and find where you most want to apply your passion for helping others. You’ll never be without guidance and supervision, making it a small step from school to practice.
For your fieldwork courses, the Field Manual will be your guide. It's everything you need to know about fieldwork - dates, grading, expectations - literally "how to do field".
Questions? Reach out to the Field Education Department