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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 agency for Minnesota State University, Mankato's 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's prepare students to work as generalist and advanced generalist professionals.

Field education settings are selected to ensure that students achieve the goals of the BSSW and/or MSW program, including the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) [PDF] Core Competencies and Behaviors (514 KiB).  Settings in rural and small communities are encouraged to afford students the opportunity to integrate and engage with client systems for rural social work practice.

Levels of Field Experiences

Early in the program, BSSW students complete a Junior Field Experience to explore their interests and ability in social work through 150 hour observational internship.  During their senior year, BSSW students must complete a minimum of 440 hour field practicum. The field practicum is for one semester (15 weeks) in the Fall or Spring and is typically around 32 hours a week.

MSW students in the traditional 2-year program complete a foundation and specialization year practicum. 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.  Each academic year MSW practicums begin in January and extend through July.  Typically, foundation practicum students are in their field setting for 16-20 hours a week and specialization practicum students for 20 hours a week.

Field Instructors

Field instructors are valuable components in social work education.  The selection and preparation of field instructors is of paramount importance as they assist to develop students to be successful professionals. Preparation for the role of field instructor may be necessary particularly if the field instructor is new to this role.  The field education program will provide ongoing and free Field Instructor Training and resources. The Department requires that field instructors for BSSW students 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 experience. Field instructors for MSW students must have a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. It is preferred that the individual has a minimum of two years postgraduate professional social work experience. Both BSSW and MSW prefer a minimum of one year at the current agency. 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.

Field Seminar Liaisons

Each agency will have an assigned University representative called a Field Seminar Liaison, who will provide support and consultation to the agency and field instructor. throughout the semester students are in practicum.  Orientation to the Social Work Field Education program will be provided to new agencies and field instructors. Resources including training's, access to the University library, and continuing education opportunities will also be available to agencies.

Additional Information

To start the process to become a social work field agency or field instructor, please contact us to further discuss practicum possibilities.