Field Experience

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The Dalton State College Bachelor of Social Work Field Education Program seeks to provide the highest quality field learning experience for students. The field experience is designed to provide structured learning with qualified guidance and support. Students shadow and observe, ask questions, and engage in discussion during the junior practicum and first semester of senior practicum. Second semester senior practicum provides more sophisticated practice experience including some independent client work with close supervision. The outcome is the development of professional generalist social work skills which transfer to the employment setting upon graduation.

Dalton State contracts with a number of host agencies which represent many practice fields. The agencies which have hosted BSW students include: Departments of Family and Children’s Services, Conasauga Drug Court, Whitfield County Schools, Dalton Public Schools, Hamilton Hospice, Westcott Center, Hamilton Medical Center, Dalton Dialysis Clinic, NWGA Family Crisis Center, and Catoosa County Schools. These agencies provide important core social services to clients in need.  Students submit a written application to junior and senior practica. Student preferences for placement are considered. Students must have professional liability and health insurance to enter practica.

The junior practicum is completed as a requirement of SOWK 3202 General Practice of Social Work II. It is a 50- hour experience over a five week period during the spring semester. The senior practica occur during the student’s graduating year and include 15 hours per week over a 15-week period for each of two semesters. The senior practica are completed as a requirement of SOWK 4998 and 4999 Practicum and Seminar I and II. One of the primary functions of seminar is to assist students in integrating what they have learned in the classroom with their observations and practice decisions in the field.

Students are provided maximum support through their practica experiences. In addition to guidance from the seminar and support from peers, students are supported by their assigned field instructors who either work in the host agency or have knowledge of the services. Field instructors must hold either the Bachelor of Social Work or the Master of Social Work degree and have two years post-degree work experience. Field instructors receive required training from the Director of Field Education on campus each semester. They meet with students every week in a structured, supportive, and nurturing effort designed to maximize the learning experience.

The field education experience is the capstone of learning for Dalton State BSW students. Most students thrive in their field experience. Many BSW graduates remember their field experiences as the most important aspect of their social work education. All agree that experiential learning leads to professional growth and the development of generalist social work skills.

For more information contact:
Ms. Tammy Rice, MSW, LCSW
Director of Field Education