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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Becoming a Field Agency

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Thank you for your interest in becoming a potential field practicum site for Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Social Work. Field education is essential to provide BSSW and MSW students with the ability to integrate what they have learn in the classroom to become competent professional social workers. The BSSW and MSW curriculum prepares student to work as generalist and advanced generalist.

Field education settings are selected to ensure that students achieve the goals of the BSSW and/or MSW program, including Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Core Competencies. In addition, MSW field education settings in rural and small communities will be encouraged to afford students the opportunity to integrate and apply at a more sophisticated level the generalist/advanced generalist knowledge, values, and skills for rural social work practice.

Early in the program BSSW student complete the Junior Field experience which gives them the opportunity to explore their interests and ability in social work through 150 hour observational internship. During the senior year, BSSW student must complete a minimum of 440 hour field practicum. The field practicum is for one semester in the Fall or Spring and is typically around 32 hours a week.

MSW students in the traditional 2-year program complete both the foundation and specialization year practicums. Advanced standing MSW students complete the specialization year practicum. The foundation practicum (1st year) will include 460 hours of documented field education time, while the specialization practicum (2nd year or AS year) will include 500 hours of documented field education time. Practicum each year will begin in January and extend through July. Typically foundation practicum students are in field agency for 16-20 hours a week and specialization practicum students are in the field agency for 20 hours a week.

Field instructors are a valuable component of the success of social work education. Therefore, the selection and preparation of field instructors is of paramount importance. Preparation for the role of field instructor may be necessary particularly if supervision is a new role. The field education program will provide ongoing free field instructor training and resources. The Department requires that Field Instructors for BSSW student must have a BSSW or MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, it is preferred that the individual has a minimum of two years postgraduate social work practice. Field Instructors for MSW student must have a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, it is preferred that the individual has a minimum of two years postgraduate professional social work experience. Both BSSW and MSW preferred at least one year at the current agency and field instructors must possess a MN social work licensure for all non-county workers. In situations where no appropriately degree field instructor exists in the agency, the Department will “assume responsibility for reinforcing a social work perspective” (CSWE, 2002, P. 37) in coordination with the practicum agency.

Each agency will have an assigned field liaison that will provide support and consultation to the agency and field instructor. The field team will provide orientation to new agencies and field instructors as well as provide resources including trainings, access to University library and continuing education opportunities.

To start the process to become a field agency please contact either the BSSW Field Director, Laura Benesch at, or the MSW Field Director, Jennifer Parker at