Field Education for Master of Social Work
Supported professional experience for NAU students earning degrees in Social Work
The Social Work Field Education Program is your opportunity to gain real-world experience in a supported context and build your resume working with local agencies. You will apply what you learn in the classroom and move one big step closer to a career in social work. This firsthand experience will help you discover, develop, and enhance your social work skills.
Social Work Field Education experience and training involves participating in the life of the agency, attending regularly scheduled meetings, and other activities involving or sponsored by the field placement site. Students are required to be present at their field placement site during the during normal business hours from 8 am to 5 pm when the professional staff are working and available to the student. All field placement hours must be completed on site.
Royse, D., Dhooper, S., Rompf E. (2012). Field Instruction. A Guide for Social Work Students, Lon Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
- The MSW 2 year program requires a minimum of 900 hours at two different placement sites.
- The MSW, Advanced Standing 1 year program requires a minimum of 450 hours in one placement. MSW, Advanced Standing Field Placements must be in a different organization than the BSW placement.
- Additional requirements needed for internship at place of employment
- MSW Handbook
How does Field Education relate to my other classes
- Each semester is set up with a total of 15 credits that includes a 3 credit Field Foundation class that is a 16-week class. The first semester of the MSW, advanced standing program is 9 credit hours that does not include internship hours or a field education class
- MSW Plan of Study, Fall: View the course layout & timeline for the MSW 2-year program
- MSW Plan of Study, Spring: View the course layout & timeline for the MSW 2-year program
- MSW, Advanced Standing, Spring Plan of Study: View the course layout & timeline for the MSW Spring Advanced Standing program
- MSW, Advanced Standing, Summer Online Plan of Study: View the course layout & timeline for the MSW Summer Advanced Standing program
- MSW, Advanced Standing, Summer In-Person Plan of Study: View the course layout & timeline for the MSW Summer Advanced Standing program
Field Placement Terminology Accordion Closed
Field Placement: Internship
Field Placement Site: The community entity (agency, school, hospital, etc.) that offers and accepts a student for an internship. All the Field Placement Sites must have an agreement with NAU to provide this learning experience.
Faculty Field Liaison: NAU Social Work Faculty or Faculty Community Representative that will follow you through your placement.
Field Supervisor: Staff member from your field placement site that you will report to, will supervise your internship, and evaluate your skills, knowledge and social work competency.
Task Instructor: The person designated by your Field Supervisor to assist with your internship. This person is also employed by the field placement site.
Social Work Education Assessment Project (SWEAP): The online tool used to evaluate the student at mid and final-point of the internship.
What are the requirements regarding my time commitment and availability for Field Placement?
- Social Work Field Education experience and training involves participating in the life of the agency, attending regularly scheduled meetings, and other activities involving or sponsored by the field placement site.
- MSW students must complete 15 field placement hours each week. Students are required to be available for the 15 hours of field placement during normal business hours of Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. While student field placement days/schedules may vary to accommodate agency needs, all field placement hours must be completed on site. Evening and weekend only field placement hours are not allowed.
- If you work full-time (or part-time) it is important for your place of employment to be flexible with your work schedule because field placement sites tend to primarily operate during traditional business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
- Most students find that working part-time (and/or having a job that has evening and weekend hours available) is most realistic for managing the logistics and workload of classes, coursework, field placement and employment.
- Information regarding background clearance for all students and instructions for Arizona students to obtain their Level One Fingerprint Clearance card can be found here . Social Work Background Check and AZ Fingerprint Clearance Card Instructions
- The Field Supervisor, must be an MSW with at least two years post-graduate experience.
- For students who are interested in completing their field placement at their current place of employment, there is an additional approval process and application that is required. Consult with the NAU Social Work Field Education Office.
What is the process to locate and confirm my Field Placement?
All students will be required to find and confirm their own internships. Field Education Unit will work with students who request help in identifying possible placements. MSW Field Placement Directories for Northern Arizona and the Phoenix Metro area are available.
- Foundation year students are required to submit a detailed field placement application and resume. Upon review of the material, an interview with a member of the Field Education Unit may be requested.
- Advanced year (including Advanced Standing students) are required to submit an abbreviated field placement application. Upon review of the material, an interview with a member of the Field Education Unit may be requested.
Once students received confirmation of an internship offer, they will submit the Field Placement Confirmation Form. The Field Education Unit will finalize placement with an NAU Affiliation Agreement if one does not already exist.
What are the requirements for monthly Field Seminar Class?
Students enrolled in SW 595 and SW 596 are required to attend monthly field seminar (class) via Zoom. The monthly seminar schedule will be set prior to the semester starting. Monthly seminar will meet for two hours. Attendance and full participation is required.
Starting in Summer 2021 our MSW Specialized Year will be incorporating Field Seminar into SW 695 and SW 696.
What are the course numbers for the field placement?
|MSW Degree Program||Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|MSW-Foundation Year||SW 595 (3 credits)||SW 596 (3 credits)|
|MSW-Advanced Year||SW 695 (3 credits)||SW 696 (3 credits)|
How do I begin?
Many social service agencies will have formal internship opportunities posted on their web site along with someone designated as an internship coordinator. It’s best to start by looking online at web sites or calling the agency directly and asking to speak with the internship coordinator or someone in HR. Please also share the document “FAQ for New Field Education Placement Sites” with any prospective site. Most placement sites will ask students to interview and clear a background check. If in Arizona, you will need to show proof of your Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card. It’s important to demonstrate strong professional skills and respond to emails and phone calls promptly.
What is a Field Supervisor and what are the required qualifications?
The Field Supervisor must be a MSW with at least two years post-graduate experience. They will provide one hour of supervision per week and is responsible for assisting students in developing their learning contract, monitoring their progress, and completing both a mid-term and final evaluation. NAU and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), our national accrediting body, does not require Field Supervisors to be in a leadership role within the agency to qualify as a Field Supervisor.
Are Field Placements at place of employment allowed?
Employment Based Field Placement is not a guarantee and will be considered on an individual basis. There are special requirements for an internship at place of employment. There is an additional Employment Based Field Placement application for students who wish to request this type of placement. If approved, Employment Based Field Placement is only allowed for one of the two internships.
Field Education partnerships:
Field placement sites offer students exposure to, and work within, the micro, mezzo, and macro practice fields. Some common types of field placement sites are:
- Community based mental health/behavior health – multiple programs
- Substance abuse treatment – both outpatient and inpatient
- Crisis Response with local police or fire departments
- Juvenile Probation/Adult Probation
- Hospital/Medical settings
- School based settings with social worker or Special Education
- Community based services for children and families, both for-profit and non-profit
- Adult or Geriatric services
- Adult Protective Services
- Independent Hospice Agencies
- Child Welfare Agencies – both private and state (including adoption services and/or licensing)
- Youth Shelters
- Veteran’s Administration or other Veteran outreach services
- Community based homeless or housing services
- Domestic Violence shelters and outreach services
- Private Practice – as long as mezzo and macro practice is available
- Legal assistance offices
- Developmental Disability Services for all populations
- Services and outreach to refugee populations
- Faith-based social services that serve marginalized populations
- Parenting Services
- Court Appointed Special Advocates
- Advocacy Center (i.e., Safe Child)
- Family Resource Centers