Whether you are pursuing your bachelor's degree in social work or are preparing to earn your MSW, you're almost certain to be required to complete some sort of field education.
In the world of social work education, field placement is a supervised internship at an organization that provides social work services. Placement is a crucial part of any social work program as it teaches students how to think and act like social workers. Many opportunities exist, and five especially popular examples include:
1. Counseling Center
Social work students select their field placements based on their concentrations, or areas of study. If your main objective is to someday be a counselor or therapist, field placement at a counseling center or mental health services center should be right up your alley. In this environment, you will work with people from all walks of life and will evaluate and treat them for a variety of issues.
2. Healthcare Facility
Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities routinely employ social workers who assist patients and their families in a variety of ways. From navigating the often complex world of healthcare to being there for grieving relatives after the passing of a loved one, healthcare social workers provide a number of invaluable services. This field placement is a great opportunity for those who plan to work in the world of healthcare after earning their degrees. It will give you a clearer idea about what you can expect if you choose to pursue work in this area.
3. Human Services Organization
Many non-profit organizations that assist various populations employ social workers to handle a number of important tasks. Examples of such organizations include agencies that assist those with Alzheimer's, autism, various disabilities and other conditions. Oftentimes, people who suffer from such conditions–and their families–require a lot of support. They turn to these types of organizations to get it, and the social workers there work closely with them to help them achieve their goals. If you would like to pursue a career in the non-profit world assisting disadvantaged or underserved populations, this could be the perfect field education opportunity for you.
Many social work students aspire to work with students in their professional careers. Indeed, school counselors overwhelmingly have backgrounds and educations in social work. If your ultimate goal is to work in a school–whether it be secondary school, university or elsewhere–completing a field placement at in education is a smart move. Most areas have high demand for social workers in such settings, so finding this type of field education opportunity shouldn't be difficult. It's an excellent way to find out just what your day-to-day life will be like as a social worker in such a setting.
Hospice organizations always have a dire need for assistance from social workers. In such facilities and settings, social workers work not only with patients but with employees of the hospice too. Many times, nurses and others who work in such environments need support and assistance to cope with working closely with those who are dying and their families. Therefore, being a social worker in a hospice setting is rewarding and versatile. If you expect to seek employment in the world of hospice, field placement at a local hospice organization would be perfect for you.
As you can see, social work field placement opportunities are abundant and diverse. Social workers are employed by a wide array of organizations, so finding the right fit shouldn't be difficult. Just keep your long-term career goals in mind to ensure that you get relevant experience.
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