Social Work Internship FAQ

How many hours do students spend in a field placement? Social work students spend a total of 540 hours in field placements, including a 60-hour field experience during their junior year and a 480-hour full time internship during their senior year.  Chemical Dependency students pursuing a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Certificate (LADC) complete 880 hours of internship over the course of two semesters.  This FAQ addresses the full-time social work and chemical dependency internships.

Social Work Internship Dual Social Work/LADC Internship LADC Internship
Internship Hours 480 Hours 880 Hours 880 Hours
First Semester Internship Course Registration SOWK 4970-01 (12 Credits)

SOWK 4970-01 (6 Credits)

SOWK 4970-02 (6 Credits)

SOWK 4970-02 (12 Credits)
Second Semester Course Registration SOWK 4970-03 (12 Credits) SOWK 4970-03 (12 Credits)

How do students find their field placement?

Students enroll in a one-credit Internship Orientation course the semester prior to their internship.  During this course students identify their career goals and human service organizations that are closely aligned with their career goals.  Students interview with two organizations prior to selecting a field placement site.

May students be paid for their field placement?

Yes. If your agency wants to offer a stipend, please discuss this with the student during the interview process.  Students may not, according to the Council on Social Work Education, complete an internship in their place of employment.

Are students covered by professional malpractice insurance?

Yes. Bemidji State University provides student intern professional liability for students in field.  This includes professional errors and omissions coverage.  Detailed information can be found in this Memorandum of Insurance.

May I allow a student to work on weekends or in the evenings?

Yes, if social work services are normally offered during those times. Approved professional staff must be present and available to respond to student questions and needs, and to provide backup if necessary.

When do field placements start and end?

The block 40-hour per week field placement begins the first week of Bemidji State University’s term and ends the final week of the term. Summer internships begin on the first day of summer session (mid-May) and conclude at the end of the second summer session (late July).

May a student begin the placement early or attend an agency orientation or training prior to the beginning of the fall term?

Yes. The student must submit, and get approved, a written request to the Director of Field Education detailing the date and reason for the early start, and the proposed activities and hours (no more than 40 hours total).  Students may begin their internship a maximum of two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

May workshops or trainings outside the field agency count as field hours?

Yes, if it is relevant to the student’s learning goals and approved by you. Generally, up to 16 hours per semester for interns is the maximum number of training hours approved.  Consult with the Director of Field Education for clarification.

What if a student misses a day or the agency is closed on a student’s field day?

If a student misses a day of field, they must schedule makeup hours to meet the required hours per term.

What if I miss supervision one week?

Please make sure the student has supervisory support while you are gone. If you expect to miss more than one week, discuss a plan for supervision with the student and Director of Field Education.

Who can provide group supervision? May interns from non-social work programs be in the group?

The person offering the supervision must be a Field Instructor approved by the Bemidji State University Social Work Department. Non-social work interns may be included in group supervision.

How do I let students know they need a background check and/or a drug test?

The need for a criminal background check and/or drug test should be noted during the interview and on the Memorandum of Agreement, which will alert the student and field office of this requirement. Detailed policies and procedures are in the Intern and Field Instructor Manuals.

Will students have assignments and homework during the internship?

Students will have several assignments throughout the semester.  Assignments are derived from the internship textbook A Field Guide for Social Workers: Applying Your Generalist Training (Larkin, 2019).  Students are expected to complete assignments at the internship site.  Assignments allow students and field instructors to “take a deeper dive” with internship course content as it connects with the field site.  It is estimated that students will spend approximately five hours per week on assignments.


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