skip to main content columnskip to left navigation

Field Education

Department of Social Work


BSW students participate in field internships the last two semesters of their undergraduate program. The purpose of the internship is to help students integrate classroom knowledge and skills in a community setting.

The field experience for BSW interns should include:

  • Psychosocial assessments, interviewing, problem-solving, and supportive counseling with individuals, families and/or groups as well as completing the associated paperwork
  • Indirect client work
  • Professional or educational meetings/workshops
  • Evaluation (i.e. data collection, outcomes development)
  • Case management (resource allocation and referral) - Advocacy and planned social change work

Supervision at the internship must be provided by a BSW with at least two years post-BSW work experience. This person is the Field Instructor and is an extension of our social work faculty, responsible for instructing and role modeling. The Field Instructor must meet with the student for a minimum of one hour per week. The Office of Field Education staff provides orientation for the Field Instructors, providing them with information necessary to facilitate a successful internship.We are also required by The Council on Social Work Education, our accrediting body, to have proof of the degree so we ask that the Field Instructor provide us with a copy of their diploma, license, or recent resume. 

The student may be under the direct daily supervision of a person without a social work degree. This person is called the Task Supervisor. We would expect that the Task Supervisor hold a degree and several years' experience in a human service position. Although the Field Instructor will take the lead role in coordinating the instruction of the student, the Task Supervisor will work closely with the student to achieve learning objectives.

The internship process is detailed and requires an application, an interview with the Director of BSW Field Education, or the BSW Program Coordinator for off campus sites, and an interview with the proposed Field Instructor as well as other agency personnel as required by the agency. Internship agencies may have additional requirements for interns, such as an application process, background check, etc.

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) requires an agreement with the field practicum agency. This agreement states that ETSU Department of Social Work will be permitted to place social work students with the agency for the purpose of completing their field practicum in social work. This agreement needs to be updated every four years.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about our field education program.

Pam DavidsonPam Davison, LMSW
Director of BSW Field Education

(423) 439-6005

icon for left menu icon for right menu