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Field Education

Field Education is an integral part of the professional social work curriculum and requires a close cooperative relationship between the School of Social Work and the selected field sites who accept our students for the internship experience. Field education has been designated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) as the “signature pedagogy” and as equal to the course work in social work higher education. Experiential learning complements the classroom learning and gives the student the opportunity to build a sense of professional competence and identity that serves as a foundation for ongoing professional growth. Field instruction provides the student with an opportunity to test classroom knowledge as well as to develop and refine skills in advanced integrated practice. 

Placement Agencies & Field Instructors

Approved placement sites host students during their field education experiences and provide them with a variety of learning opportunities, essential to their development and learning as a social worker. Social service agencies, medical facilities, counseling providers, advocacy organizations, and other health and human service providers are just some of the diverse agency types where social work students complete their field education and learn the critical skills necessary to be successful as social workers. Approved placement sites will usually have a BSW or MSW as an employee who will serve as the student’s Field Instructor and supervise their learning. However, the absence of a BSW/MSW does not prevent an agency from becoming a placement site.

Field instructors for BSW students must have either a BSW or MSW from an accredited Social Work program and have worked in the field for at least two years after earning their degree. Field Instructors for MSW students must have an MSW from an accredited Social Work program and have worked in the field for at least two years after earning their degree. The WVU School of Social Work works with Field Instructors that are part of an approved placement site, as well as independent social workers that work with students at agencies where no social worker is available to supervise their learning.

If you are interested in supporting student learning and community engagement by becoming an approved Field Education Placement Site or serving as a Field Instructor, please contact Lindsey Rinehart, Field Education Director, at