Field education gives students the valuable opportunity to identify competencies, perspectives, and values that are useful in all social work settings, to see how practitioners develop under supervision, to imagine themselves in this particular area of practice with these specific groups, and to determine if social work itself is a good ‘fit’ for their interests and abilities.” (Cochrane &Hanley, 1999 p. 5)
Field education is considered the capstone experience and where students say they became a social worker (see Senior Field Videos). Field is a wonderful educational opportunity where students enter into a social service organization and work directly with client systems under the supervision of a social worker. This is a challenging and exciting part of the curriculum, and one that takes deep consideration for two important reasons. One, it is a significant part of the curriculum, taking up 12 credit hours, thus limiting the opportunity to take other classes and two, it requires different skills then that of a traditional student.
Field education requires students to go to work in an agency setting and perform the roles of a social worker. That said, once students have made the decision to be a social work major and enter the field they report that the real world knowledge and experience they gain is well worth it.