Who Can be a Field Instructor?

The School of Social Work's official definition of Field Instructor is as follows:

To begin the process of becoming a Field Instructor please complete this application: Field Instructor Application

Category #1

Field instructors for the School of Social Work are expected to have a Master's degree from an accredited school of social work and have two years post-Master's experience. The equivalency for the post-Master's experience could include (1) demonstrated competence in social work practice for at least five years prior to entrance into graduate school, or (2) maturity and demonstrated leadership ability in related areas.

Category #2

Because of the educational needs of the student, or in the absence of an available agency person who meets the requirements as set forth in Category #1 above, individuals from related social work disciplines may be appointed to oversee the student's work in the agency. Such individuals are referred to as field instructors or agency task supervisors. The field instructor of record for the student may be an experienced MSW elsewhere in the agency or community, or a faculty member from the School of Social Work. For cases in which the field instructor does not hold a CSWE-accredited social work degree, the School assumes responsibility for reinforcing a social work perspective.

All field instructors and agency task supervisors should have the interest and ability to teach, the ability to conceptualize and articulate information, provide learning assignments and practice opportunities for students to demonstrate and eventually master the core or advanced competencies based upon measurable practice behaviors appropriate to the student's educational program and level , to integrate the core or advanced competencies into their work with students, the self-awareness to function as a role model, competence within their area, adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics, and the insight needed to problem solve. They should be able to relate these skills both within and beyond their specific agency practice in their teaching and supervision with a student.

Full-time and part-time students enrolled in the BASW or MSW program cannot simultaneously serve as field instructors. Individuals from other educational programs who are completing an internship in the agency may not supervise social work students.

Field instructors are given a faculty appointment at the University: however, the Affiliation Agreement between the Field Education Organization and the University of Pittsburgh is not intended to create an employment relationship between the University and any field instructor or other employee of the Field Education Organization.

Regarding special placements for part-time students, the field instructor in these special situations should not be the person who is the supervisor of the student in the employment situation. If there is no other qualified person in the agency, a faculty member may serve as field instructor.

New field instructors are strongly encouraged to attend field instructor orientation or training before supervising a student or while supervising a student during the first term of field instruction. New field instructors or agency task supervisors from related disciplines are required to attend field instructor orientation or training before supervising a student.