Field Instructor FAQ

What is a field instructor?

A field instructor is a licensed social worker who provides a social work student with one hour of supervision per week for the duration of the practicum.

How do I become a field instructor?

Go to the New Agencies section of the Augsburg field education website and fill out a new agency form.

Can anyone at an agency be a field instructor?

Certain criteria, set by the Council on Social Work Education, must be met in order to be a field instructor.  See requirements below:

BSW Field Instructor:  A field instructor for a BSW student must be a licensed social worker who holds a BSW degree from an accredited program and has at least three years of post-graduate experience.  If the instructor is a licensed MSW holder, he or she must have at least two years of post-graduate experience.  (If there is no staff on site who meets these requirements, exceptions for a “task supervisor” can occasionally be made.)

MSW Field Instructor:  A field instructor for an MSW student must be a licensed social worker who holds an MSW degree from an accredited program and has at least two years of post-graduate experience.  If the instructor is a licensed MSW holder, he or she must have two years of post-graduate experience.  (If there is no staff on site who meets these requirements, exceptions for a “task supervisor” can occasionally be made.)

Task Supervisor:  On-site staff member who is responsible for partial supervision of a social work student for the duration of the practicum.  In the case that there is no staff member on site who meets the licensure, degree, and experience requirements, a staff member with a related degree may be approved by the Augsburg Field Coordinator to be a task supervisor.  The agency still must have an identified field instructor with the required credentials, but this can be a person outside the agency who is responsible for partial supervision in concurrence with the task supervisor.

Are there any benefits to becoming a field instructor?

Field instructors are eligible to attend 2-3 free CEU workshops/year that are put on by Augsburg College.  They also receive free access to Augsburg library materials.

What are my responsibilities as a field instructor?

A field instructor is responsible for providing a student with 1 hour of supervision/week, arranging for student to have adequate work space, orienting student to the new work environment, defining roles and responsibilities of students, modeling professional social work practice for student, evaluating students, and maintaining open communication with Augsburg field staff.   (For more specifics on roles and responsibilities, please see the Field Manual, located on the forms/documents page).

Is there an orientation for field instructors?

Yes, there is a two hour orientation in the fall, where field instructors will be given information and have a chance to ask questions.

What is the field placement process and how are the agencies involved?

BSW Level:  Agencies accepting BSW juniors are invited to attend a “Junior Field Fair” event held in the spring.  This is where juniors will meet with agency representatives and, together, agencies and students will find matches that suite both parties.  Agencies accepting BSW seniors will be contacted in the spring, prior to senior year, by students wishing to interview with them.  When agencies and students come to an agreement on a field placement, field staff is notified.

MSW Level:  Agencies accepting MSW students are invited to attend an “MSW Field Fair” held in April.  Here, student will meet with agency representatives and set up interviews to take place over the following month.  (Agencies who cannot make the field fair will still be listed on our website as taking students and students are free to contact these agencies at their convenience.)

Once agencies finish interviewing students, they submit a choice form, list what students they would and would not accept at their agencies, to Augsburg staff.  Students also submit choice forms.  Once these are received, field coordinators from three metro area institutions gather together to match students with agencies.  Agencies and students will be notified of matches in mid-May.

Do all agencies get students?

Because we have more agencies than students, not all agencies will be matched with students.  If your agency would really like a student, one way to attract students is to create a practicum experience that is interesting, challenging, and educational.  For MSW level placements, if an agency does not get a student during the first round of interviews, they will be contacted to see if they would like to participate in second round interviews.  Because of the multifaceted nature of the matching process, occasionally some of the best students and agencies are not placed in first round placements.

When do students fulfill their placement hours?

BSW students complete their hours over the course of fall and spring semester of one academic year (from September to May).  MSW students complete their hours over the course of the academic year.  Augsburg students do not do block placements over the summer.

How many hours of field work are required of students?

BSW students are required to complete 240 hours junior year and 240 hours senior year.  MSW students complete 420 hours in their foundation (first) years and 500 hours in their concentration (second) years.

How much paperwork is involved for field instructors?

In the beginning of the practicum, students and field instructors will fill out a Learning Agenda together (this specifies what a student’s roles, responsibilities, and goals are at the agency).  Field instructors fill out a midterm and end of year Evaluation of Student form.  Field instructors and faculty field liaisons (Augsburg faculty teaching the field seminar courses) will have three meetings over the course of the academic year.

More questions?  Please see your field manual or contact our field staff.