A man shaking hands with a social worker.

Your degree in social work is a process that takes valuable time. In those years you gain experience and become comfortable in your field, allowing you to be the best version of yourself. An important part of getting your bachelor’s degree in social work is completing an internship. Before your internship, it’s important to think about the goals for field placement, and how they will help project your future career. 

What is Field Placement in Social Work? 

Field placement refers to the time you spend working in the field under a supervised capacity, designed to enhance your professional skills. Examples of field placement might include traineeships or internships. During this time you can work in a variety of settings, preferably one that you have previous experience in or are planning to work professionally in. This can include working in a school, college, social service agency, or career center. 

Examples of Learning Goals for Social Work Students 

These ten objectives are good for both students and supervisors alike to follow. These goals for your field placement should be followed thoroughly in order to get the most out of the internship experience. 

Professional Conduct

This is a major goal for an intern’s field placement. As a social worker or intern, one needs to participate in an agency’s orientation and take thorough notes, making sure to follow the agency’s policies to the best of their ability. Social work goals start with the social worker, and their ability to be professional and courteous while on the job. 

Ethical Principles

A goal for an intern’s field placement is to make sure the ethics you have been taught while in the classroom are applied in real-life situations. This involves discussing the NASW Code of Ethics, bringing ethical concerns to a supervisor during meetings, exploring personal biases in journal reflections, and more. 

Professional Judgment 

Critical thinking needs to be implemented along with the agency’s planned change process. This involves collecting relevant information during intakes and making sure the intern is utilizing this information to implement personal goals for field placement. This includes applying theories you have learned in the classroom during your casework and making sure to demonstrate to your supervisor that not only do you possess a wide range of knowledge, but you know how to utilize this knowledge for casework. 

Engage Diversity

It is important that every social worker has experience working with people from backgrounds that are different from their own. Developing engagement skills needed when working with a diverse population is a prime example of learning goals for social work students. As a trainer or trainee, this exposure is necessary if they are to fully discuss the effects of individual and institutional oppression. 

Advance Human Rights 

Along those lines of engagement with a diverse background, the intern is expected to help advance human rights by learning about social issues and policies relevant to the agency they have been assigned to. Goals for field placement must prioritize the communication between the intern and their supervisor so they can learn about how social policies can affect the client and/or their community. Exploring and identifying ways of empowering the client’s community is an important part of getting your bachelor’s degree in social work. 

Engage in Research-Informed Practice

Interns should complete a short literature review of the agency services. In this review, the intern will present their findings, either to their supervisor or to staff. This review will demonstrate what they have learned and what they have gotten out of their experience at the agency. Before this review is conducted, the intern should talk to their supervisor about how services are evaluated at the agency. These social work goals should center around client service-related best practices. This can be done by conducting an assessment of program services and interventions through surveys, organized data, reports, and more. 

Apply Knowledge of Human Behavior 

An intern should demonstrate to their supervisor that they can apply the theories they have acquired from school and apply these frameworks in the field effectively and professionally. During supervisor meetings where goals for field placement are discussed, the intern or supervisor should take time out of the meeting to talk about human development stages that are relevant to the casework being conducted. The intern is expected to bring the Human Development textbook to the agency for these meetings to be used as a reference and to demonstrate their competence. This competence is crucial to getting a bachelor’s degree in social work. 

Engage in Policy Practice 

Goals for fieldwork successfully work within the agency’s policies to help clients and their communities. An intern should be involved during their time working for the agency, participating in staff meetings and actively taking notes, and following up with their supervisor after. It’s also important that the intern and supervisor discuss possible alternatives to the existing policies, along with how these policies (both the existing and hypothetical ones) will affect clients, their families, and their communities. 

Responses That Shape Practice

An intern should discuss with their supervisor about the possible contextual influences on a case. This can be done in numerous ways: the intern can apply the Ecological approach to the case by developing an EcoMap or by developing a genogram of a case. These maps should be discussed in meetings between the intern and their supervisor, covering topics such as political change, funding changes, and more. Talking about how these services can change due to events outside the control of the agency will help prepare the intern for the unpredictable. 

Social Worker and child talking.

Properly Engage 

Finally, an intern needs to work with clients face-to-face before they can receive their bachelor’s degree in social work. During this time, the intern will practice engagement techniques with clients. Using the models taught to them by the agency, the intern will approach their work professionally and effectively. They will complete home visits with another agency staff member present, identify and provide relevant resources, and clearly communicate agency expectations with the clients. 

Are You Ready For A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

Empowering a community, client, or family is a real chance to make a difference. Do these examples of learning goals for social work inspire you? If so, you should consider applying to Saint Augustine College to receive your BSW. SAC’s Social Work program opens doors, creating a great range of opportunities for our graduates. If you want to learn more about starting a career that can make the world a better place, feel free to contact us and learn more about social work goals, and what you can expect from a degree in this demanding field.