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FAQs for Field Instructors & Agencies

How many hours are students in field practicum ?

BASW Program

  • BASW Seniors: 16 hours per week = 240 hours per semester and 480 hours per academic year

MSW 2-Year Program

  • Foundation Year Field: 16 hours per week = 240 hours per semester and 480 hours per academic year
  • Advanced Year Field: 20 hours per week = 300 hours per semester and 600 hours per academic year

MSW 3-Year campus-based and Pathway Distance Education Programs

  • Year 1: No Internship
  • Year 2 Foundation: 16 hours per week = 240 hours per semester and 480 hours per academic year
  • Year 3 Advanced: 20 hours per week = 300 hours per semester and 600 hours per academic year

What is the definition of a Field Instructor and what are the minimum requirements of a Field Instructor?

The Field Instructor is the student's supervisor at the placement site and assumes responsibility for the student’s learning and practice experience.  The field instructor provides ongoing feedback, supervises, teaches, and assesses student acquisition of knowledge, skills, and values.   In collaboration with the student, the instructor is responsible for developing a student Learning Plan Agreement based upon the criteria established by the Field Education Program.  The field instructors are selected for the quality of their field instruction and commitment to educational standards of the Field Education Program.

The Field Instructors must have an MSW. In addition, CSUSB requires they have at least two years post-MSW experience, six (6) months experience in the field placement setting and have completed (or plan to complete within one year of providing field instruction) the Field Instructor Certification training. 

To ensure that CSUSB School of Social Work adheres to the standards of CSWE by providing the highest quality field experience for our students, it is expected that the Field Instructors will:

  • Complete the required certification training including an orientation to the School's curriculum;
  • Develop a clear learning contract with the student concerning performance expectations. These expectations must be stated in terms of behavioral learning goals, methods of achievement, and standard of measurement through using the Learning Plan Agreement/Comprehensive Skills Evaluation;
  • Provide at least one hour a week for individual supervision with the student or a combination of individual and group supervision that combined totals at least one hour per week. Group supervision cannot be a substitute for individual supervision;
  • Provide feedback to the student concerning their performance in writing on an ongoing basis, including completing the end of semester student evaluation every semester. If the Field Instructor and/or Preceptor has any concern about any aspect of the student’s performance, professionalism, adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics, etc., the assigned Faculty Field Liaison should be notified immediately to discuss concerns and assist in the plan of correction;
  • Make available or develop specific practice opportunities that will enable the student to fulfill the expectations of the Learning Plan Agreement (LPA);
  • Inform both student and Faculty Field Liaison about any unusual opportunities, conditions, or problems at the earliest possible convenience; evaluate student progress on an ongoing basis; and involve the student in the preparation of these evaluations.
  • CSUSB requirements can be waived in special circumstances.  In such situations, close supervision of the Field Instructor must be provided by the Faculty Field Liaison and the arrangement must have the advanced approval of the Director of Field Education and/or designated Field Coordinator.

In rare cases, a CSUSB faculty member is designated to provide Field Instruction for a student. This occurs when an agency does not have a field instructor who meets the university requirements or does not have an employee who meets the criteria available to provide the field instruction. In such a case the CSUSB Field Faculty or a staff hired through the Title IV-E grant funded program agrees to provide the social work perspective BUT the agency will RETAIN responsibility for supervision and oversight for all student activities and cases.

What is Field Education?

Field Education is a core requirement of the BASW and MSW programs. It plays a pivotal role in the MSW and BASW curriculum.  It offers the opportunity to apply, refine, and integrate conceptually-based knowledge acquired in the classroom with real life experiences in social service agencies.


Field Education at the CSUSB School of Social Work consists of three components: 1) field practicum, 2) field seminar, and 3) field events. Through field practicum, field seminar, and field events, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and level of competence necessary to enter professional practice.  The field experience and classroom learning should be mutually reinforcing in all curricular areas: research, human behavior, social policy, and practice with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities.


Field Practicum is a collaborative effort involving:

  • The Agency: human service organizations
  • The Field Instructor: professional Social Work practitioners who are 'teachers' in the field
  • Faculty Field Liaison: professional Social Work practitioners, both full-time faculty and faculty adjuncts, who are the official university representatives and provide linkage, mediation, monitoring, consultation, and advocacy to students and field instructors.
  • Field Education Program: provides the social work student with an opportunity to apply classroom learning in an agency-based supervised field experience.

What is the field placement hour commitment?

The days in field are based on the students' class schedules. Normally, 16 hours requires 2 eight-hour days. For 20 hours, students usually do 2 eight-hour days and 4 hours on another day. There may be certain days/times when the agency will require students to be there outside the usual days/times (e.g. meetings, trainings, special events). Students will need to discuss any scheduling conflicts with their Field Instructor and/or their Faculty Field Liaison in advance.

When does school begin and when do students start field placement?

The Fall Semester begins approximately the third week in August. There is a mandatory Field Orientation for new students, prior to student reporting to the agency, which is held during the first week in August. Once the orientation is complete, the student is allowed to attend field practicum orientation as required.