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The Field Education Practicum, also known as internship, is the real-world training designed to give you professional on-site instruction and social work experience under the close direction of the site supervisor and the Capella faculty instructor. The goal is to gain insight on and commit to advanced generalist practice delivery of services with individuals, families, groups, communities, and/or organizations while enrolled in the accompanying field seminar course. As you complete your practicum, you will be continually evaluated and given appropriate learning experiences to ensure that social work theories, conceptual frameworks, knowledge, values, and skills are well understood and effectively put into practice.
The field education practicum requirements are based on the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines and include a total of 600 hours for the MSW-Advanced Standing program. The practicum is devoted to providing an engaging learning environment where courseroom content is applied and demonstrated with an approved supervision. According to the CSWE, the supervisor must hold a master-level degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution along with a minimum of two years of postmaster-level degree experience.
The field education office approves each practicum site and site supervisor prior to placing a learner in the internship. Learners may complete their practicum at their current place of employment, after the proper documentation is reviewed and approved by the field education director. The practicum must be new graduate-level learning, according CSWE.
In each term of practicum, learners complete a minimum of 200 hours. A typical practicum workweek is 20 hours with one hour of the time devoted to direct supervision and supervisor consultation. Learners are required to document their weekly practicum hours on their time log sheet.
The field education director is responsible for preparing and placing learners in an approved practicum site. To ensure preparedness, learners attend a required live field education orientation during their first course. The orientation is an introduction to field education, the field education manual, the field education application and the process to securing a practicum site. Additionally, the field education office offers ongoing support and advisement to learners, to include but not limited to, seminars on safety, National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, CSWE Core Competencies, professionalism in the workplace and interviewing.
During the onsite residency, learners attend the field education seminar where the practicum application is discussed and completed with the support of faculty and the field education director. Also, topics surrounding professional development are presented and role-played using the CSWE Core Competencies to prepare learners for practicum. Overall, the seminar is a rich opportunity for all learners to practice social work skills, discuss questions concerning practicum sites, fields of interest (i.e., working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and/or communities) and to establish rapport with other learners, faculty and the field education director.
Locating an approved practicum site is a collaborative process that involves the learner and the field education office. Learners attend an online orientation where the application process is discussed in their first course. After attending the session, learners will complete the Fields of Interest section of application and provide up to five local organizations for placement consideration. The field education office will review the list, and contact the organizations to ensure the sites can provide the level of instruction, supervision, and engaging learning environment required by CSWE and the university. Additionally, the field education office may recommend an approved site or resources to support the learner in securing a practicum.
Upon entering the Master of Social Work degree program, the field education director works closely with learners to prepare them for a supportive and engaging learning experience where social work knowledge, values and skills can be practiced and evaluated.