The Placement Process
Field Experience Structure
Social Work Field Internship Practicums (SOWK 4451 & 4452) consists of a two semester concurrent placement of approximately 16 hours per week, for a total of 430 hours. The internship is taken in the last two semesters in school along with a practice class and seminar class each semester. The field experience is educationally directed and professionally supervised to provide students with the opportunity to engage in generalist social work activities in social service agency settings. Students are placed in agencies located primarily in Northeast Tennessee within a 50 mile radius of the university or the campus location where the student attends. Field internship settings are always needed. If an agency is interested in being a field site for a student they should contact the Field Office.
To begin the field experience and intern with an agency an overall grade point average of 2.25 and a 2.50 grade point average in required social work courses are prerequisites. Students will have taken all prerequisites SOWK 3000, SOWK 3300, SOWK 3310, SOWK 3430 and all general education core classes. If the student does not pass with a c or better the social work classes they are enrolled in during their junior year or their GPA falls below requirements they are to notify the Director of BSW Field Instruction immediately. Also, only students whose written application to major in social work has been approved are eligible for the field experience If it is discovered that a student has misrepresented the completion of these requirements, they will be removed from the field placement and be subject to disciplinary action. SOWK 4451, SOWK 4452, SOWK 4454, and SOWK 4455 must be taken during the student’s senior year along with the corequisites SOWK 4330, SOWK 4454.
The Placement Process
All students planning to enter field internship complete the Profile Section in EXXAT ETSU’s Field Management System as application into the field experience. This is submitted no later than February 15th in the students second semester junior year, usually when the student is enrolled in SOWK 3310 (Practice with Individuals). Applications are accepted as soon as students are entered into the EXXAT System by EXXAT usually the first week of January. It is advantageous to get the process completed sooner rather than later as this allows for more internship placement opportunities. The Director of BSW Field Instruction reviews the information in EXXAT for completeness and evaluates the student's qualifications for field. This information is used along with a face to face contact to determine the most appropriate BSW internship. The Director of BSW Field Instruction makes arrangements for the internship based on this information. Students are not to arrange their own internships.
Once the student has submitted the profile they reach out to the Director of BSW Field Instruction by email to request a professional meeting. The director will email the student several forms such as a check sheet, key terms and confirmation of field and offer several times for the meeting to occur. In the meeting the Director of BSW Field Education will discuss the process of obtaining an internship, including the professional interview to be completed with the internship agency. The student and director will discuss and process field placement options available to the student. It is not always possible nor educationally sound to place students in their choices of agencies; therefore, alternate possibilities are explored carefully with those students affected.
Once this meeting is complete the director will reach out to an agency by email, including the student on the email. The student then knows to expect a call from the agency to schedule a professional interview with the agency. The student should be prepared for the interview to be similar to an interview applying for a job with the agency. In this professional interview both the student and the agency field instructor discuss the objectives and expectations of a field experience in that particular agency. They discuss hours and how they may be scheduled, reasons the student chose that agency, agency mission and roles of the student and agency staff. This meeting also enables the student and the Field Instructor (and Task Supervisor if applicable) to determine if they will be able to work together toward the goals and objectives of the internship. Sometimes interviews with the proposed Field Instructor lead to a decision to go in a different direction in regards to the internship site. If this occurs the student and or agency notifies the Director of BSW Field Education and another agency is contacted for the student. If it is determined the student will intern with the agency it is the student’s responsibility to ensure the confirmation of field form is completed and submitted.
Some agencies will require additional information related to the student before they are able to offer an internship. Immunization records, a criminal background check, and a drug screening are examples of such requirements. Students are alerted to this information by the Field Education Office when possible. If a student is not comfortable complying with this information, they are encouraged to discuss this with the Director of BSW Field Instruction.
Students participate in a departmental field orientation prior to their placement within the agency. The orientation is designed to equip them with the necessary information for a successful internship and covers topics such as: roles and responsibilities, expectations, professionalism, learning styles, safety, supervision, evaluation, and classroom assignments.
Students are required to purchase professional liability insurance through the Department of Social Work. This is a blanket policy which applies to all social work students in their internships.
No Field Education credit is given for life experience or previous work experience.