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Becoming A Field Instructor

The University of Tennessee College of Social Work prides itself on a robust and supportive field education program.  The field practicum is where students move into the role of practitioner by integrating social work theory, skills, knowledge and values that they have learned in the classroom into a real-world setting, all while being trained and supported by skilled social work professionals. Our strong partnerships with hundreds of community agencies give students opportunities to grow into ethical, skilled social workers, and give our field educators the opportunity to contribute to the next generation of social workers.

If you are interested in hosting a social work student at your agency, we’d love to partner with you! 

Benefits of being a Field Instructor

  • The benefits of mentoring: students bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to your agency
  • Access to free and discounted trainings and CEUs
  • Develop a skilled workforce pipeline at your organization
  • Access to online UTK library resources
  • Growth of your own supervisory skills
  • Networking with other social work professionals
  • Contribute to the next generation of social work
field student and instructor at L&N STEM academy

How To Become A Field Instructor

We are always excited to grow our partnerships with community agencies.  As a UTCSW field instructor, you can guide students through the process of becoming a professional social worker.   Field instructors provide critical on-site coaching, mentoring, guidance and instruction to BSSW and MSSW students.   You will support students in integrating social work theory, skills, knowledge and values that they have learned in the classroom into a real-world setting. 

Field instructors host a student for 16-24 hours/week at an agency who has signed an affiliation agreement with the UT College of Social Work.

Field Instructor Elizabeth Waters with student Mary “Boo” McWaters.

Experienced BSW or MSW practitioners who want to mentor students are encouraged to apply to become a Field Instructor.  Field instructors are required to:

  • Complete a field educator application
  • Complete orientation and training for field instructors (online and live options)
  • Provide one hour/week of supervision to their students
  • Be a role model who teaches students about the real world application of ethical social work skills and values.

To become an approved field practicum site, please follow the button below. Once your complete the form someone from our team will follow up.

Frequently Asked Questions And Helpful Links

We want you to feel well prepared for this role. Field Instructors are required to complete an orientation and training. This training is offered annually in a face-to-face format on each campus and is also available in an online format. The training is free to field instructors, and the College provides training certificates for licensure contact hours.

You have a team supporting you! UT employs full time faculty called Field Coordinators to support students and agency field instructors. Additionally, each field instructor and student has an adjunct field liaison who conducts a site visit, provides problem solving support and signs off on all required paperwork.

Students complete a field placement application, then meet with their assigned UTK Field Coordinator to discuss their interests and educational goals. The UTK Field Coordinator will reach out to appropriate agencies and facilitate the placement process. Agencies determine how they would like to move forward with the student, i.e. emailed resume, online application. Agencies are not required to accept students and are encouraged to interview students for goodness of fit. The final decision for placement assignment is made by the Field Coordinator.

The field team works hard to minimize paperwork requirements for our field instructors! Field paperwork is completed electronically in a user-friendly online system. Field instructors work with students to develop a learning plan for each semester, which details the learning activities and projects the student will undertake to meet the learning competencies for the field course. Field instructors also provide evaluations of students at midterm and at the end of the semester, and are expected to document their supervision with students on the student’s time sheet.

The minimum time required for field instruction is one hour per week of supervision. However, field instructors should expect to spend additional time orienting students and providing any specialized training that is needed. Field instructors are expected to be available to students for consultation between weekly supervision sessions.

We are unable to provide payment to field instructors, but we do offer free and discounted trainings that can be used for licensure requirements, and access to the online resources through the UTK library.

Yes, the University of Tennessee provides professional liability insurance for students in field. We can provide you with a copy of this.

That will depend on their program of study, but typically 16-24 hours/week over two to three semesters. BSSW students complete 500 hours. MSSW generalist students complete 400 hours at their agency, and concentration year students complete 600 hours.

The 400-hour MSSW Generalist placement enables the student to develop competence in generalist social work practice. This includes assessment, engagement, intervention, evaluation, advocacy, and policy practice at multiple client system levels. The 600-hour MSSW concentration placement is focused on the development of advanced knowledge and skills for practice within the student’s chosen concentration and, is a more specialized placement experience. The two concentrations in the MSSW program are: Clinical Practice and Organizational Leadership (OL).

Yes, if the agency meets our college’s requirements for an Employment Based Placement

Yes, we strongly encourage agencies to provide stipends. Also, students may be eligible for Employment—Based Placements with your agency