Field Education

Field Education is often identified by graduates of social work programs as the most important and memorable element of their educational experience. The Council on Social Work Education states that field education is the signature pedagogy in social work education.  Because of the importance of field learning, field practice is required as a key component of the curriculum. Field and Task Supervisors are valued for their teaching, supervision, and modeling of professionalism in social work to field education students.

Download the Field Education Manual >

Training for Field Supervisors >


Steps to securing a field placement:

1. Submit the Field Application and your resume to the Field Education office.


2. The Field Education office will review your application and contact you one quarter before you begin your field placement.

  • Schedule an informal interview with the Field Education Director or satellite office Field Coordinator to discuss your interests and agencies for possible field placement opportunities. 

3. Have a formal interview with potential field placement agency.

  • Prior to an interview, you will send a resume and cover letter to your placement contact provided to you by the Field Education Office.
  • Once you are accepted to the position, inform the Field Education office and to obtain final paperwork to finalize your field placement. 

Field Education in action

High school counseling practicum

MSW student fosters individuality, growth at local alternative school

Portrait photo of Ruth Martinez
In 2017, Ruth Martinez received a bachelor of social work degree from Walla Walla University. She will complete her master of social work degree this year.

This series highlights the internships of three Walla Walla University social work majors during the 2017-18 academic year. (Part two of three.)

Social workers are called to recognize the importance of human relationships and acknowledge the worth of every individual. Maybe that’s why Ruth Martinez shines.

Martinez, who will soon receive a master of social work degree from Walla Walla University, is an advocate—for women’s rights, racial equality, victims of gun violence, the LGBTQ+ community, and, most recently, local youth. Since her senior year of undergrad, she has been working with students from Lincoln High School, an alternative school in Walla Walla, Washington.

Lincoln High has received national attention for implementing a trauma-informed approach to discipline, helping students build resilience and overcome adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Rather than resorting to punishment, the staff at Lincoln High now look for a deeper reason that may be causing students to act out. Three years ago, “Paper Tigers,” a documentary about Lincoln High’s transformation, was released.

“I watched ‘Paper Tigers’ my junior year, and then my senior year, I was like, ‘OK I want to be at this school and I want to do social work at this school,’” Martinez said.

She was still working on her bachelor’s degree at the time, and she asked for Lincoln High to create an undergraduate placement so that she could fulfill her practicum requirements there. She got the position and worked alongside the intervention specialist, doing student checkups and other intern tasks.

When Martinez graduated with a bachelor of social work degree last spring, she wasn’t quite ready to part ways with the Lincoln community. As she prepared to begin the master’s program at WWU, she secured a practicum placement as a counselor at The Health Center on the high school’s campus.

Martinez’s role has allowed her to do both individual and group therapy. Over the last several months, she has counseled eight to 10 students each week and facilitated a girls group that aims to build communication skills and self-confidence.

“What we’re really trying to do is connect these kids and help them be OK, because high school is such a coming-of-age time,” Martinez said. Every day that she has worked in The Health Center, she says she’s learned a little bit more about therapy and who she is as a therapist.

Almost finished with her master’s degree now, Martinez has had time to practice bringing classroom lessons to her counseling sessions. She has called on several strategies to help her students communicate more effectively and form healthier relationships, even incorporating concepts from the Gottman Institute, which focuses on couples research and therapy.

Though skill-building exercises are an important part of counseling, Martinez quickly discovered that successful therapy requires much more. Since becoming a counselor, she has had to find a balance between applying social work theories and forming genuine connections.

“The relationship is the most important thing,” she said. “At the end of the day, my kids just really want somebody to listen to them.”

Martinez believes that students are more willing to practice skills and complete worksheets once they begin to trust that she has their best interests in mind. When students enter her counseling room, they enter a safe space where they can be themselves.

Martinez hasn’t decided what her next career move will be, but after working with Lincoln High School students and seeing the positive change that can come from understanding people’s ACEs, she likes the idea of continuing to help youth in risky situations find their grounding.

To learn more about the social work program at WWU, visit the Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology web page.

Posted June 5, 2018

Ruth Martinez counsels a student at The Health Center
Martinez fulfilled her practicum at The Health Center, an organization that provides medical and mental health services to Lincoln High School students.

High school counseling practicum

MSW student fosters individuality, growth at local alternative school

Portrait photo of Ruth Martinez
In 2017, Ruth Martinez received a bachelor of social work degree from Walla Walla University. She will complete her master of social work degree this year.

This series highlights the internships of three Walla Walla University social work majors during the 2017-18 academic year. (Part two of three.)

Social workers are called to recognize the importance of human relationships and acknowledge the worth of every individual. Maybe that’s why Ruth Martinez shines.

Martinez, who will soon receive a master of social work degree from Walla Walla University, is an advocate—for women’s rights, racial equality, victims of gun violence, the LGBTQ+ community, and, most recently, local youth. Since her senior year of undergrad, she has been working with students from Lincoln High School, an alternative school in Walla Walla, Washington.

Lincoln High has received national attention for implementing a trauma-informed approach to discipline, helping students build resilience and overcome adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Rather than resorting to punishment, the staff at Lincoln High now look for a deeper reason that may be causing students to act out. Three years ago, “Paper Tigers,” a documentary about Lincoln High’s transformation, was released.

“I watched ‘Paper Tigers’ my junior year, and then my senior year, I was like, ‘OK I want to be at this school and I want to do social work at this school,’” Martinez said.

She was still working on her bachelor’s degree at the time, and she asked for Lincoln High to create an undergraduate placement so that she could fulfill her practicum requirements there. She got the position and worked alongside the intervention specialist, doing student checkups and other intern tasks.

When Martinez graduated with a bachelor of social work degree last spring, she wasn’t quite ready to part ways with the Lincoln community. As she prepared to begin the master’s program at WWU, she secured a practicum placement as a counselor at The Health Center on the high school’s campus.

Martinez’s role has allowed her to do both individual and group therapy. Over the last several months, she has counseled eight to 10 students each week and facilitated a girls group that aims to build communication skills and self-confidence.

“What we’re really trying to do is connect these kids and help them be OK, because high school is such a coming-of-age time,” Martinez said. Every day that she has worked in The Health Center, she says she’s learned a little bit more about therapy and who she is as a therapist.

Almost finished with her master’s degree now, Martinez has had time to practice bringing classroom lessons to her counseling sessions. She has called on several strategies to help her students communicate more effectively and form healthier relationships, even incorporating concepts from the Gottman Institute, which focuses on couples research and therapy.

Though skill-building exercises are an important part of counseling, Martinez quickly discovered that successful therapy requires much more. Since becoming a counselor, she has had to find a balance between applying social work theories and forming genuine connections.

“The relationship is the most important thing,” she said. “At the end of the day, my kids just really want somebody to listen to them.”

Martinez believes that students are more willing to practice skills and complete worksheets once they begin to trust that she has their best interests in mind. When students enter her counseling room, they enter a safe space where they can be themselves.

Martinez hasn’t decided what her next career move will be, but after working with Lincoln High School students and seeing the positive change that can come from understanding people’s ACEs, she likes the idea of continuing to help youth in risky situations find their grounding.

To learn more about the social work program at WWU, visit the Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology web page.

Posted June 5, 2018

Ruth Martinez counsels a student at The Health Center
Martinez fulfilled her practicum at The Health Center, an organization that provides medical and mental health services to Lincoln High School students.

High school counseling practicum

MSW student fosters individuality, growth at local alternative school

Portrait photo of Ruth Martinez
In 2017, Ruth Martinez received a bachelor of social work degree from Walla Walla University. She will complete her master of social work degree this year.

This series highlights the internships of three Walla Walla University social work majors during the 2017-18 academic year. (Part two of three.)

Social workers are called to recognize the importance of human relationships and acknowledge the worth of every individual. Maybe that’s why Ruth Martinez shines.

Martinez, who will soon receive a master of social work degree from Walla Walla University, is an advocate—for women’s rights, racial equality, victims of gun violence, the LGBTQ+ community, and, most recently, local youth. Since her senior year of undergrad, she has been working with students from Lincoln High School, an alternative school in Walla Walla, Washington.

Lincoln High has received national attention for implementing a trauma-informed approach to discipline, helping students build resilience and overcome adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Rather than resorting to punishment, the staff at Lincoln High now look for a deeper reason that may be causing students to act out. Three years ago, “Paper Tigers,” a documentary about Lincoln High’s transformation, was released.

“I watched ‘Paper Tigers’ my junior year, and then my senior year, I was like, ‘OK I want to be at this school and I want to do social work at this school,’” Martinez said.

She was still working on her bachelor’s degree at the time, and she asked for Lincoln High to create an undergraduate placement so that she could fulfill her practicum requirements there. She got the position and worked alongside the intervention specialist, doing student checkups and other intern tasks.

When Martinez graduated with a bachelor of social work degree last spring, she wasn’t quite ready to part ways with the Lincoln community. As she prepared to begin the master’s program at WWU, she secured a practicum placement as a counselor at The Health Center on the high school’s campus.

Martinez’s role has allowed her to do both individual and group therapy. Over the last several months, she has counseled eight to 10 students each week and facilitated a girls group that aims to build communication skills and self-confidence.

“What we’re really trying to do is connect these kids and help them be OK, because high school is such a coming-of-age time,” Martinez said. Every day that she has worked in The Health Center, she says she’s learned a little bit more about therapy and who she is as a therapist.

Almost finished with her master’s degree now, Martinez has had time to practice bringing classroom lessons to her counseling sessions. She has called on several strategies to help her students communicate more effectively and form healthier relationships, even incorporating concepts from the Gottman Institute, which focuses on couples research and therapy.

Though skill-building exercises are an important part of counseling, Martinez quickly discovered that successful therapy requires much more. Since becoming a counselor, she has had to find a balance between applying social work theories and forming genuine connections.

“The relationship is the most important thing,” she said. “At the end of the day, my kids just really want somebody to listen to them.”

Martinez believes that students are more willing to practice skills and complete worksheets once they begin to trust that she has their best interests in mind. When students enter her counseling room, they enter a safe space where they can be themselves.

Martinez hasn’t decided what her next career move will be, but after working with Lincoln High School students and seeing the positive change that can come from understanding people’s ACEs, she likes the idea of continuing to help youth in risky situations find their grounding.

To learn more about the social work program at WWU, visit the Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology web page.

Posted June 5, 2018

Ruth Martinez counsels a student at The Health Center
Martinez fulfilled her practicum at The Health Center, an organization that provides medical and mental health services to Lincoln High School students.

BSW Students

  • Must complete 400 hours of field education.
  • Field education may be completed over a full academic year, in two quarters, or in one quarter through a block placement.
  • Complete 1 hour of supervision by a BSW or MSW post 2 years’ experience each week.

MSW Students

  • Advanced Standing students must complete a minimum of 600 hours and begin their field placements during fall term.
  • Regular Standing students must complete a minimum of 900 hours and begin their field placements during winter term of their first year.
  • Complete 1 hour of supervision by an MSW post 2 years’ experience each week.

Field education placement locations

The Field Education Office works hard to find you a placement in your community. Listed below are some places that students have been placed; however, placements fluctuate based on need. A placement in one of these agencies or organizations is not guaranteed. Always work with the Field Director to establish an approved field placement—your current place of employment could be a field placement option.

International placements are also an option. Students have been placed in locations like Ghana and Estonia and we work with Student Missions to approve international field placements.


Deisy Haid

Field Education Director
Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

(509) 527-2472 

deisy.haid@wallawalla.edu

Seattle

  • Various social service agencies

Spokane

  • Various social service agencies

Tri Cities

  • Catholic Family and Child Services
  • Grace Clinic
  • Kadlec Regional Medical Center
  • Lourdes Health Network
  • The Chaplaincy (Corks Place)

Walla Walla

  • Catholic Community Services
  • Children's Administration (DCFS)
  • Children's Home Society/Juvenile Justice Center
  • Christian Aid Center
  • College Place Public Schools
  • Comprehensive Health
  • Comprehensive Healthcare
  • Fresenius Medical Care
  • Helpline
  • Impact Life Transitions
  • IMPACT!
  • Lincoln High School
  • Lourdes Counseling Center
  • Park Manor
  • Rogers Adventist School
  • Serenity Point Counseling
  • Service Alternatives
  • The Health Center
  • Walla Walla Community Hospice
  • Walla Walla Valley Academy
  • WWU Counseling and Testing Center
  • YWCA

Yakima

  • Various social service agencies

Heppner

Hermiston

La Grande

Mission

  • Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center

Pendleton

Portland

Garden Valley

  • Project Patch

Kayleith Pellandini

Billings Field Education Coordinator
Instructor of Social Work and Sociology

(509) 527-2779

kayleith.pellandini@wallawalla.edu

Billings

  • Alternatives
  • Aware
  • Bighorn Mental Health
  • Billings Clinic
  • Billings Counseling Connection
  • Catholic Social Services of MT
  • Center for Children and Families
  • Creative Counseling
  • Consumer Direct Network aka Full Circle
  • Family Support Network
  • Healing Waters Counseling, LLC
  • Mental Health Center
  • Passages
  • Pioneer Medical Center
  • Rimrock Foundation
  • Riverstone Health
  • South Central Treatment Associates
  • The Family Tree Center
  • Safe Harbor Therapeutic Services
  • Transformative Counseling, LLC
  • Walla Walla University Billings Mental Health Clinic
  • Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch
  • Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Community Service
  • Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch - Laurel

Bozeman

  • Access Counseling
  • Advanced Counseling of Bozeman
  • Western Montana Mental Health

Casper, WY

  • Central Wyoming Counseling Center
  • Crossroads Counseling, LLC
  • Mercer Family Resource Center

Cody, WY

  • Yellowstone Behavioral Health

Crow Agency

  • Indian Health Service

Livingston

  • Community Health Partners
  • L'esprit
  • Livingston Healthcare
  • Youth Dynamics

Rapid City, SD

  • Behavior Management Systems

Red Lodge

  • Altacare

Sheridan, WY

  • Sheridan VA Medical Center

Wolf Point

  • Red Bird Woman Center

David Wiltfong

Missoula Field Education Coordinator

(406) 549-1797 ext. 2294

david.wiltfong@wallawalla.edu

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