The long anticipated time has arrived for you to begin your field practicum. This is the point which can be the most nerve wracking, but also the most exciting. You are about to initiate the most exciting semester of your social work education!
The field practicum is reported by most, if not all, social work students as being their most exciting and significant educational experience. The field practicum is the time when you, as an intern, put into practice all the knowledge and values learned through the social work educational curriculum. Just as other professional practitioners, such as those in the medical and educational fields of study have an opportunity to practice their skills before graduating from their respective schools; the social work profession also requires this of all social work students. This expectation is especially true for all accredited social work programs.
The social work program at the University of Texas-Pan American is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Thus, certain requirements and standards, as outlined by CSWE indicating the type of educational development required of professional social workers, are found throughout the social work program curriculum. This includes professional behavior that reflects the values and ethics of the social work profession. This process sets in place a professional level of standard that lets the public in general, and client systems specifically, know of the caliber of professional education and training you have completed.
An integral part of the development of the social work student is the field practicum (also referred to as the field placement or the field internship). Because of the importance of the field practicum, this handbook has been developed to help you navigate through this point of your educational journey. It does not preclude your need to be familiar with the policies as found in the BSW Program Handbook and the University of Texas-Pan American undergraduate catalogue; however, it is hoped that this handbook will help you feel more confident as you begin your field practicum.
So again, Student Intern, congratulations and enjoy your field practicum!!
Maria de Lourdes Martinez-Aviles, Ph.D., MSW
Director of Field Education