• Campus Life
  • Internship Roles and Responsibilities
  • Practitioner Advisory Committee
  • Core Competencies
  • Philosophy & Theoretical Framework
  • Admission Criteria and Eligibility
  • Licensure/Certification Disclosure
  • On-Campus BSW
  • Addictions Minor
  • LADC Licensure
  • Liberal Education and Social Work Courses Overlap
  • Career Options
  • Dual Internship LADC and Social Work
  • Substance Education Addiction Recovery Club (SEAR)
  • Scholarships
  • BSW Child Welfare Training & Coursework
  • Child Welfare Scholars Program Application & Admissions
  • CWS Forms & Training Dates
  • Substance & Behavior Addiction Graduate Programs
  • LSW Licensure
  • Social School Work Preparation & Licensure
  • Student Intern Evaluation (LADC)
  • Social Work Club
  • Field Instructor Training
  • Prospective Social Work Internship Agencies
  • Student Intern Evaluation (Social Work)
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Transfer Pathways

An internship collaborates between the intern, the internship placement agency and the Department of Social Work. Each party has its roles and responsibilities.

Responsibilities of The Department of Social Work and the Field Director

  • To facilitate the placement of students in agencies for the internship experience.
  • To reduce the development of an internship contract negotiated with the field instructor.
  • To provide a liaison between the school and the agency. 2 to 3 site visits or teleconferences will be made. The purpose of the first visit is to review the intern’s contract and address any questions about the Department of Social Work and the internship that might arise. During the second and third visits, the faculty liaison, with the intern and the field instructor, will facilitate the midterm and final evaluations.
  • To provide orientation for field instructors and agency directors each term.
  • To facilitate the two internship seminars, providing feedback to interns on presentations and papers.
  • To provide ongoing consultation with the placement agencies as needed.
  • To maintain a continuous Practitioners Advisory Council that reviews and evaluates the overall Social Work Department, particularly the internship component.
  • To carry liability insurance for the Social Work interns.

Responsibilities of the Agency

  • Establish a process to interview and select prospective interns.
  • To demonstrate an interest and commitment to student education, shown by a willingness to assign staff time and energy to intern supervision, attend workshops for field instructors and consult with faculty liaison.
  • To set one specific agency worker, a licensed BSW//MSW, known as a field instructor, to supervise the intern.
  • In conjunction with the prospective intern and Field Director, develop an internship contract to guide students during the internship.
  • To complete, sign and return the Agency Data form (Appendix F).
  • Orientation Schedule
  • “Nitty Gritty” info includes: parking, bathrooms, dining facilities, dress requirements, break times, holidays, telephone instructions, signing in and out, introductions to staff and how an intern should identify themselves.
  • Instructions regarding technology.
  • Specific recording instructions.
  • Specific confidentiality instructions.
  • Access intra-agency and community phone directories, procedure manuals, human resources are within the community and any special reference books.
  • Information on any special security precautions.
  • Discuss the human elements of the work, stress, fears, anxieties, frustrations, failures and the need to process with someone. What can be processed with persons outside the agency.
  • Describe supervisory approach. What the agency expects from the student.
  • Provide the student with a glossary of acronyms, symbols, jargon and technical terms unique to the agency.
  • Review the student’s coursework and discuss the knowledge and skills acquired in consideration of that required to perform the social work duties within the agency. Note the emphasis on the systems approach.
  • To provide a minimum of one hour per week of scheduled individual supervision that includes a review of the intern’s assignments with constructive feedback and creates an opportunity to integrate theory with practice experience.

Responsibilities of the Intern

  • To obtain at least an 80% grade on written and oral assignments in the internship.
  • To negotiate the internship contract with the Field Instructor and the Field Director.
  • To follow agency policies about time schedules, regulations and matters of dress.
  • To prepare agendas for discussions with the Field Director and Field Instructor.
  • To leave word with the agency secretary and or supervisor as to where you are and when you will return.
  • To report absences and reasons for absences immediately to the Field Instructor.
  • To participate in her/his midterm and final evaluations with the Field Instructor.
  • To participate in an assessment of the Social Work Department.
  • To write a short evaluation of the internship placement at the end of her/his internship (Appendix I).
  • To evaluate the Field Instructor (Appendix J).
  • To complete assignments for the internship seminar.
  • Participate in an end-of-term discussion and complete the Skills and Services Feedback form (Appendix K).
  • To evaluate the Field Director / Course Evaluation (Appendix L).
  • To provide evidence of having completed the 480 hours, including attendance at a minimum of one workshop or conference and two agency visits.

Problem Solving Expectations

  • Suppose the agency site supervisor or the student experiences a problem during the internships. In that case, the first step is to talk about it. The most common problems related to job duties, relationships with co-workers or misunderstandings between the supervisor and the intern.
  • If the problem is not resolved promptly, the Faculty Liaison should be notified as soon as possible.
  • The Faculty Liaison will collaborate with the Field Instructor, site supervisor and intern to resolve the problem professionally and expediently.

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What Does a Social Work Internship Do?

  • Career Path
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Social work interns are students who chose to do their on-the-job training in the field of social work. They apply for an internship at social services facilities. They are usually assigned to do administrative or clerical activities such as sorting through files, updating records, organizing documents, and filing reports. Aside from clerical tasks, they also get exposed to program or project management by working on program-specific initiatives. They get exposed to planning, resource managing, implementing, and evaluating. They may also join their supervisors during field activities.

Social work internship responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real social work internship resumes:

  • Collaborate with partners including public and private agencies to achieve permanency for children.
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary team to provide necessary referrals and counseling to achieve establish patient goals.
  • Participate in program development relate to identify needs of oncology population
  • Provide emotional support and referrals to veterans and family members/ significant others in support of veteran's treatment.
  • Utilize Kenshoo to build and optimize Facebook campaigns.
  • Monitor timely completion of all reports, progress notes and maintenance of chart to ensure DHS compliance.
  • Assess parents/caregivers compliance with task and goals on the service plan agreement and provide DHS court recommendations.
  • Attend to educational and vocational needs by attending IEP meetings, assisting with summer job applications and assisting with college applications.
  • Facilitate family collaboration, and participate in IEP meetings.
  • Develop and facilitate a successful parent and child oncology support group.
  • Complete program documentation as well as participate in supervision under MSW supervisor.
  • Participate in multidisciplinary case conferences and develop permanency and disposition treatment plans.
  • Participate in multidisciplinary team meetings, and make recommendations to physicians regarding treatment plan for discharge.
  • Collaborate with MSW colleague and deliver a bullying psycho-education workshop for parents of students experiencing behavioral problems.
  • Conduct structured reminiscences and life review techniques with seniors to increase cognitive stimulation while promoting self-esteem among Alzheimer's patients.


Social work internship skills and personality traits

We calculated that 16 % of Social Work Interns are proficient in Patients , Social Work , and Intake Assessments . They’re also known for soft skills such as Compassion , Time-management skills , and Communication skills .

We break down the percentage of Social Work Interns that have these skills listed on their resume here:

Co-facilitated support group meetings for cancer survivors and caregivers; Assisted in development of Radiation Therapy Orientation class for new patients.

Collaborated with multidisciplinary team of clinical social workers, school psychologists, and teachers to identify and resolve learning barriers.

Administered clinical intake assessments, formulated accordant 5-axis diagnoses, and integrated salient data into comprehensive reports and treatment plans.

Provided case management and mental health treatment to families with children with developmental disabilities, managed a shared and independent caseload.

Mobilized hospital and community resources to meet individual and family needs for transportation, housing and nutrition and specialized medical care.

Worked in a hospital setting, providing therapeutic services to individuals assessed and admitted for substance abuse detoxification or psychiatric services.

Most social work interns use their skills in "patients," "social work," and "intake assessments" to do their jobs. You can find more detail on essential social work internship responsibilities here:

  • Compassion. The most essential soft skill for a social work internship to carry out their responsibilities is compassion. This skill is important for the role because "social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations." Additionally, a social work internship resume shows how their duties depend on compassion: "conducted stroke assessments and delivered compassionate counseling to patients suffering with cognitive issues and depression. "
  • Time-management skills. Another essential skill to perform social work internship duties is time-management skills. Social work interns responsibilities require that "social and human service assistants often work with many clients." Social work interns also use time-management skills in their role according to a real resume snippet: "counseled veterans on time and work management. "
  • Communication skills. This is an important skill for social work interns to perform their duties. For an example of how social work internship responsibilities depend on this skill, consider that "social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help." This excerpt from a resume also shows how vital it is to everyday roles and responsibilities of a social work internship: "provide support to assist with family needs including insurance, medications, school communication, and financial assistance. "
  • Interpersonal skills. For certain social work internship responsibilities to be completed, the job requires competence in "interpersonal skills." The day-to-day duties of a social work internship rely on this skill, as "social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues." For example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies to what social work interns do: "facilitated process groups with adult clients, which lead to enhancing interpersonal skills and building rapport with clients. "
  • Organizational skills. Another crucial skill for a social work internship to carry out their responsibilities is "organizational skills." A big part of what social work interns relies on this skill, since "social and human service assistants must often complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients." How this skill relates to social work internship duties can be seen in an example from a social work internship resume snippet: "act as organizational representative at community outreach and resource fairs. "
  • Problem-solving skills. While "problem-solving skills" is last on this skills list, don't underestimate its importance to social work internship responsibilities. Much of what a social work internship does relies on this skill, seeing as "social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems." Here is a resume example of how this skill is used in the everyday duties of social work interns: "assisted agency psychologist with intake assessments and providing culturally competent cognitive-behavioral solutions-focused therapy for individuals and families. "

All social work internship skills

The three companies that hire the most social work internships are:

  • Washburn Center for Children 8 social work interns jobs
  • Community Medical Center 7 social work interns jobs
  • State of Georgia: Teachers Retirement System of Georgia 6 social work interns jobs

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Social work internship vs. mental health professional.

The duties of a mental health professional will revolve around observing the behavior of patients. They are responsible for knowing their medical history, conducting consultations and assessments, diagnosing conditions, devising particular treatments and prescribing medication, and providing emotional support to patients. Furthermore, a mental health professional must coordinate with families and other mental health experts to monitor patients' behavior and develop care plans to help them in their road to recovery.

The annual salary of mental health professionals is $11,941 higher than the average salary of social work interns.

Even though social work interns and mental health professionals are distinct careers, a few of the skills required for both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require patients, social work, and intake assessments in the day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

There are some key differences in the responsibilities of each position. For example, social work internship responsibilities require skills like "child abuse," "bio-psychosocial assessments," "mental illness," and "veterans." Meanwhile a typical mental health professional has skills in areas such as "cpr," "excellent interpersonal," "clinical supervision," and "clinical documentation." This difference in skills reveals the differences in what each career does.

Mental health professionals tend to make the most money working in the finance industry, where they earn an average salary of $49,393. In contrast, social work interns make the biggest average salary, $40,948, in the government industry.

On average, mental health professionals reach higher levels of education than social work interns. Mental health professionals are 20.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.9% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

Social work internship vs. Family counselor

A Family Counselor treats married couples or family members in order to help them overcome mental or emotional problems. They provide effective treatment measures to help the family members resolve their issues.

Family counselor positions earn higher pay than social work internship roles. They earn a $4,332 higher salary than social work interns per year.

While the salary may differ for these jobs, they share a few skills needed to perform their duties. Based on resume data, both social work interns and family counselors have skills such as "social work," "mental health," and "community resources. "

While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, resumes show us that social work internship responsibilities requires skills like "patients," "intake assessments," "group therapy sessions," and "bio-psychosocial assessments." But a family counselor might use other skills in their typical duties, such as, "poc," "family support," "dod," and "group supervision."

Family counselors earn a higher average salary than social work interns. But family counselors earn the highest pay in the professional industry, with an average salary of $40,967. Additionally, social work interns earn the highest salaries in the government with average pay of $40,948 annually.

Average education levels between the two professions vary. Family counselors tend to reach higher levels of education than social work interns. In fact, they're 19.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.9% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Social Workers in the next 3-5 years?

Sarah Christa Butts MSW

Director of Public Policy, National Association of Social Workers

Telehealth and specifically teletherapy, including audio-only telephonic services, have been largely enabled because of the pandemic public health emergency. We have an opportunity now to embrace telehealth and ensure much greater access to services for clients and patients. These developments and the shift to many students learning virtually may also result in support for internet access as a public utility--which would be great for underserved communities. We should embrace technology and ensure that no one is left behind. Show more

Social work internship vs. Substance abuse counselor

Substance abuse counselors act as a support system for people with drug and alcohol problems and other behavioral issues. They help the patients control their behavior until they achieve a full recovery. The mental health counselors aid patients to overcome their chemical dependencies and become self-sufficient individuals. Part of their duty includes meeting clients to evaluate their health and substance issues while creating goals and treatment plans. They teach clients coping mechanisms, refer them to support groups, and engage them in group therapy sessions. Once the patient is stable, they help them re-establish their careers and give updates and reports of progress to the courts. Requirements for the job include a master's degree in counseling and social work.

On average scale, substance abuse counselors bring in higher salaries than social work interns. In fact, they earn a $5,891 higher salary per year.

Social work interns and substance abuse counselors both have job responsibilities that require similar skill sets . These similarities include skills such as "patients," "social work," and "intake assessments," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

Some important key differences between the two careers include a few of the skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of each. Some examples from social work internship resumes include skills like "mental health," "substance abuse," "child abuse," and "bio-psychosocial assessments," whereas a substance abuse counselor is more likely to list skills in "substance abuse treatment," "rehabilitation," "excellent interpersonal," and "criminal justice. "

Substance abuse counselors earn the highest salary when working in the non profits industry, where they receive an average salary of $41,273. Comparatively, social work interns have the highest earning potential in the government industry, with an average salary of $40,948.

When it comes to education, substance abuse counselors tend to earn higher degree levels compared to social work interns. In fact, they're 11.9% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.6% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

Social work internship vs. Mental health counselor

A mental health counselor is responsible for helping patients deal with their emotional and mental disorders by developing treatment plans and conducting regular counseling to track the patient's progress and condition. Mental health counselors encourage active communication from their patients, provide coping strategies for triggering situations, seek advice from other health care professionals, and guide patients on doing other activities that would help them relax. A mental health counselor must have excellent knowledge of the mental health disciplines to assist patients in their healthy lifestyle development.

Mental health counselors average a higher salary than the annual salary of social work interns. The difference is about $12,293 per year.

While their salaries may vary, social work interns and mental health counselors both use similar skills to perform their duties. Resumes from both professions include skills like "patients," "social work," and "intake assessments. "

While some skills are required in each professionacirc;euro;trade;s responsibilities, there are some differences to note. "substance abuse," "child abuse," "bio-psychosocial assessments," and "social services" are skills that commonly show up on social work internship resumes. On the other hand, mental health counselors use skills like rehabilitation, cpr, substance abuse issues, and therapeutic environment on their resumes.

In general, mental health counselors earn the most working in the health care industry, with an average salary of $52,181. The highest-paying industry for a social work internship is the government industry.

The average resume of mental health counselors showed that they earn higher levels of education compared to social work interns. So much so that theyacirc;euro;trade;re 17.9% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 1.4%.

Types of social work internship

Social worker, how to become a social worker, substance abuse counselor, how to become a substance abuse counselor.

  • Mental Health Counselor

How To Become a Mental Health Counselor

  • Clinical Social Worker

How To Become a Clinical Social Worker

  • Medical Social Worker

How To Become a Medical Social Worker

School social worker, how to become a school social worker, what similar roles do.

  • What a Behavioral Health Specialist Does
  • What a Case Planner Does
  • What a Clinical Social Worker Does
  • What a Community Health Counselor Does
  • What a Community Health Internship Does
  • What a Counselor Internship Does
  • What a Family Counselor Does
  • What a Family Therapist Does
  • What an Intensive In-Home Counselor Does
  • What an Internship Coordinator Does
  • What a Licensed Social Worker Does
  • What a Medical Social Worker Does
  • What a Mental Health Counselor Does
  • What a Mental Health Professional Does
  • What a Mental Health Specialist Does

Related Job Descriptions

  • Behavioral Health Specialist Job Description
  • Case Planner Job Description
  • Clinical Social Worker Job Description
  • Community Health Counselor Job Description
  • Community Health Internship Job Description
  • Counselor Internship Job Description
  • Family Counselor Job Description
  • Family Therapist Job Description
  • Intensive In-Home Counselor Job Description
  • Internship Coordinator Job Description
  • Licensed Social Worker Job Description
  • Medical Social Worker Job Description
  • Mental Health Counselor Job Description
  • Mental Health Professional Job Description
  • Mental Health Specialist Job Description

Social Work Internship Related Jobs

  • Behavioral Health Specialist
  • Case Planner
  • Community Health Counselor
  • Community Health Internship
  • Counselor Internship
  • Family Counselor
  • Family Therapist
  • Intensive In-Home Counselor
  • Internship Coordinator
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • Mental Health Professional
  • Mental Health Specialist

Social Work Internship Jobs By Location

  • Alpharetta Social Work Internship
  • Amherst Social Work Internship
  • Arcata Social Work Internship
  • Camden Social Work Internship
  • Charlotte Social Work Internship
  • Chicago Social Work Internship
  • Fresno Social Work Internship
  • Graham Social Work Internship
  • Margate Social Work Internship
  • Newark Social Work Internship
  • North Lindenhurst Social Work Internship
  • Peoria Social Work Internship
  • Virginia Beach Social Work Internship
  • Whitman Social Work Internship
  • Woonsocket Social Work Internship
  • Zippia Careers
  • Community and Social Services Industry
  • Social Work Internship
  • What Does A Social Work Internship Do

social work intern tasks

Your Guide to Social Work Internships

Explore our comprehensive guide to the best social work internships for college students.

Internships for social work majors

As a major with so many career path options, choosing to study social work gives you many types of internships to consider. While both psychology majors and sociology majors are both related, what they have in common is interest in understanding and helping others. There will always be openings for social work internships for undergraduates, as the field is always looking for capable social work focused college students to help and hire.

In your social work internships you’ll gain skills in communication, de-escalation, teamwork, organization, accountability, and problem-solving among many others. Internship opportunities for social work students can foster a great exploration of the field, since there are so many paths in social work to consider and understand.

How do I get a social work internship?

Getting an internship in social work is very exciting considering the sheer amount of opportunities in different health and science departments. During undergraduate social work internships in summer 2021 will provide you with many valuable experiences, giving a real taste of what it’ll be like to work in social work down the line. You’ll connect with potential mentors , learn social work trade secrets, and build relationships with coworkers with a range of expertise. It’s also a plus if it’s a paid social work summer 2021 internship!

The best social work internship programs strengthen resumes, provide valuable avenues to letters of recommendation , and can even turn into full-time jobs . If you consider all of these perks of a social work internship and add the benefit of exploring different facets of one field, then start your social work internship search now!

Tips for your resume and profiles

Before you get started on sending out applications, make sure that you have your resume up to date and have fully filled out all your Handshake profile details. With a complete profile, an impressive social work internship is more attainable than ever. Recruiters are much more likely to message a student with a complete profile that says you want to work in social work than an unfinished one.

Tips for your internship interview

When you do land your first interview, be it a virtual interview or in person, make sure to come prepared and dressed to impress. Review your resume and cover letter to make sure you have specific examples of your experience to share, from clubs or coursework. You can even schedule a mock interview with your university’s career center or, if you’re tight on time, ask a trusted friend to grill you on some common interview questions .

Tips for networking at your social work internship

Once you’ve landed an internship in social work and settled into the flow of day-to-day life at the office, start chatting with your coworkers. Whether they’re industry professionals or fellow interns, it’s important to treat them with equal respect. You never know what insights they could lend, or who could be a valuable connection down the line, five or ten years from now. Don’t be afraid to ask your new colleagues out for quick coffee chats, or request 15-minute informational interviews about their career trajectory.

Want more tips for getting the most out of your internship?

Looking for specific advice before your internship begins? Or are you hungry for further information even after your internship is over? A good way to delve even deeper into your career path growth is to attend a virtual event or two. Not only will you be learning more about your own career, but there will also be chances to network with employers, industry specialists, and other students sharing different perspectives.

Jobs you can get as a social work major

Wondering where the “human services internships near me” are? Internships for social work majors can fall under any of the following roles we’ve listed here for you! Internships are meant to guide you towards your true desired career path and your summer 2021 social work internship could kick it off in the right direction.

For internships, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the hunt for clinical social work internships, social work internships, paid social work internships, social work internships in NJ, or social work internships in NYC. The following job roles and suggestions on where to apply for social work internships can guide you in the right direction for whatever you’re looking for.

Social Worker

Social workers help and advise people in many different situations and fields with their lives.

Companies you can apply to: NYC Health, Youth Villages, Parsons

Average pay: $50,470

School Psychologist

School psychologists offer mental health and therapy services to students facing emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges. As they work at a school, they help students with any issues they may be encountering both in their academic and personal lives by offering support and advice backed by their background in counseling social work. Child social work internships are a great way to start on this path.

Companies you can apply to: Youth Villages, Autism Society of North Carolina

Average pay: $45,000

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical and counseling psychologists provide therapy to patients looking to improve an aspect of their lives. They utilize different cognitive and behavioral techniques to help clients work through any issues they may be going through.

Companies you can apply to: Kennedy Krieger Institute, KGS Technology Group

Average pay: $87,450

Human Resource Manager

Human resources managers recruit, interview, and hire employees for an organization. They are responsible for training new employees, evaluating current employees, and ensuring a cooperative, comfortable workplace environment.

Companies you can apply to: Target, Amazon, Ignite Mental Health

Average pay: $43,000

Tips and tricks for your social work internship

Want tips for getting and acing your social work internship? Look no further.

How do you get a social work internship in college?

When searching for social work student internships, it’s key to use the location filters provided on Handshake . You’ll be able to pinpoint social work internships exactly where you want to intern just by selecting the city you want in the search bar. Easy social work internships in your preferred city are just a search away.

You can even research possible job roles that you might want to explore during your social work internship. Handshake also makes it easy to learn about roles in social work simply by using the job role search bar .

And if you want to take your research one step further, you can even research top employers in the social work field on Handshake. Just by using the Handshake employer search feature you can discover companies that are hiring in your specific field by filtering by “Industry.”

Where can I intern for social work?

Some companies that would be great for social work majors looking for internships: Ignite Mental Health, Youth Villages, or NYC Health–great for social work internships in NYC.

social work internships for college students can be found all over! Even companies that don’t seem to have a main focus in social work are looking for bright interns to help them develop a voice.

Are social worker internships paid?

Yes, you can find paid social work internships on Handshake by using the search filters!

The average annual pay for full time social work jobs range from $43,000 to $87,450.

How much does a social work intern make?

The average annual pay for full time jobs in social work range from $43,000 to $87,450.

Are internships necessary for social work majors?

While it's not required, internships are great opportunities for growth and experience. From internships for social work interns to great forensic social work internships, you’ll be able to build both hard and soft skills and even network.

What do social work interns do?

Along with networking and gaining mentorship, social work intern duties include spending time working on skills great for later in their career journeys. Social work interns will learn how to communicate advice to others, communicate their plans effectively, research and collaborate with colleagues in a positive way.

Some companies that would be great for social work majors (or psychology and sociology majors) looking for internships: Ignite Mental Health, Youth Villages, or NYC Health.

What can you learn from an internship in social work?

During your social work internship, you’ll learn some great generic skills like time management, accountability, organization, and teamwork. Additionally, you’ll be immersed in the world of social work which will help you develop your knowledge of quantitative aptitude, how to manage social work projects effectively, and about your company’s supply chain.

What should social work interns put on their resume?

When putting together your resume, make sure to have all your skills, courses, and accomplishments laid out for employers to view. Also having your preferred job role and location on your Handshake profile is a great way to signal your interest to potential recruiters. If a cover letter is required, a previous social work internship experience essay would be beneficial.

For social work interns, some great skills to list would be specific technical skills, time management, ability to follow through and execute, and ability to both lead and listen. It’s also key to mention organizations or projects that you led and can explain thoroughly.

Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

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Social Work Internships and Practicums

Students pursuing social work degrees often complete social work internships or practicums. A social work internship is a professional program offered by organizations to students who are almost finished completing an educational program or to degree holders seeking experience. Typically, candidates are completing their undergraduate or graduate degree. Social work internships for undergraduates focus on relevant, entry-level experiences that mirror job duties, while internships for graduate students prepares them for more advanced job roles. Internships can be paid or unpaid and provide networking opportunities that may lead to a permanent position.

Social work internships for undergraduates focus on relevant, entry-level experiences that mirror job duties

Students should know the speciality field they plan to enter before considering an internship to ensure relevant placement. Students should research nonprofits, public welfare courts, or geriatric systems when considering how to find social work internships.

Social work students must often complete a practicum. This is a type of professional work experience that allows students to study, observe, and document the performance of other professionals in the field. Student participation is limited and supervised. Practicum experiences are paired with a course containing milestone assignments to analyze the experience. Students must satisfy a certain amount of hours, and a professor typically chooses placement.

What to Expect from Your Social Work Internship or Practicum

What will i do for my social work internship or practicum.

Social work internships vary depending on a student’s level of education and specialty. Interns perform duties such as preparing agendas and discussing details with directors or field instructors. Other intern duties include case management, evaluation of client needs, and treatment options. Interns may also propose solutions to current challenges. While interns gain practical experience and complete independent tasks at times, they work under the guidance of licensed social workers.

In Which Type of Setting Will I Work?

Students should only consider internships relevant to their career goals as specialty experience hours are necessary for licensure. Social work experience settings include hospitals, social service organizations, schools, government agencies, businesses, correctional facilities, courts, and retirement homes. Distance learners can also complete internships and a practicum. Counselors work with agencies across the nation and email students about nearby internship opportunities.

How Long Will My Internship or Practicum Last?

Internships and practicum experiences vary in length of time. Practicum experiences are typically a semester long due to the course it is linked with. The course syllabus details mandatory hours and requirements. Practicum courses rarely meet to provide students with time to visit their practicum site. Internships vary in length. Some organizations list internship requirements, while others negotiate program hours and length. Internships are more like part-time jobs where students have set schedules.

Will I Get Paid for My Social Work Internship or Practicum?

Interns assume more independent responsibilities and complete tasks that benefit the organization. Therefore, many of them receive some sort of payment. Social work practicums are attached to programs and are typically unpaid.

Will I Get Academic Credit for My Internship or Practicum?

Because a social work practicum is part of a class, students receive academic credit. In some cases, the actual class is worth a certain amount of credit hours and the practicum itself is listed separately with its own credit hours. Class coursework attached to the practicum analyzes what students are learning and tends to build up to a larger project or essay. Internships are often required to graduate.

How Will My Social Work Internship or Practicum Help Me?

In a social work practicum experience, professionals understand that students are there to observe and, in relevant instances, apply their knowledge in a professional setting. Students learn how to identify proper conduct of a social work professional in real-world settings, while implementing the same behavior. Students also learn to identify ethical dilemmas based on their foundational knowledge, understand ethical conflict, and identify assessment processes. Social work practicum students apply critical thinking to support and communicate professional-level judgment.

In social work internships, interns concentrate on autonomy and fulfilling tasks independently. This can be accomplished by demonstrating depth and understanding of theoretical frameworks that determine intervention strategies. Interns also practice leadership skills by advocating for clients in ethically and socially just ways.

While practicum experiences can be listed for professionals with no other experience, internships are often acknowledged on resumes as relevant experience.

How to Find Social Work Internships

Many students wonder how to find social work internships. Universities can help direct students to common, local resources.

Your School’s Career Center

Career centers help students find placement in professional settings. Counselors identify student career goals to identify the most suitable organizations.

Professional organizations seeking emerging talent attend these events at universities to meet students who are graduating soon.

Recruiting Events

Hosted by professional organizations, these events cater to specific professional target audiences. This is a marketing technique used when standard talent pools are not bountiful.

Alumni Network

These networks often show members how to apply to internships and provide a list that is affiliated with the organization.

Job Boards and Internship Databases

Organizations seeking talent establish relationships with job boards and intern databases to draw talent that has already been screened.

Social Work Internship Opportunities


This general internship site boasts a social work-specific page where students can find social work internships across the U.S.

Professional organizations use this search engine to post jobs and internships. Interns have access to local and global internships.


This website lists internship opportunities outside of the U.S. and boasts a page dedicated to social work experiences.

While many use this site as a living resume, organizations heavily rely upon LinkedIn. Students can find social work internships across the nation listed on this site.

National Association of Social Workers

NASW is one of the most relied upon resources for social workers, providing students with a list of reputable internship opportunities.

Center For Child Protection

For interns interested in working with younger populations, this organization specializes in children and adolescent social work.

  • The New Social Worker Since 1944, this magazine has been dedicated to publishing practical and current social work information.

Internships and Practicums

All accredited social work programs require field placement, although the specific types of placement and hours required vary by program and degree level. Field experience enables social work students to practice skills learned in their coursework and observe professionals at work. Social work field placements give students a leg up in their profession, providing them with practical work experience and practice dealing with challenges and issues they are likely to face on the job. Social work interns also give back to their communities while they hone their skills.

Social work field placement may be either a practicum or an internship. During a social work practicum, the student follows and observes a social worker on a limited basis, usually once a week. The student may take on some responsibilities under the close supervision of a trained social worker. A practicum is generally part of a course that requires reporting and reflecting on experiences in the field to combine theory and practice. Students typically begin social work internships after completing all, or a significant amount of, their coursework. Internships can be completed on a part-time or full-time format. Interns take on more responsibilities independently as they put their classroom learning into practice.

Typically, program staff help students find field placements that match their area of interest or specialization within social work so that they are better prepared to find their desired job after graduation. According to a NACE Journal report in 2017, recent studies show that students graduating with internship experience are more likely than those without it to find employment.

What to Expect From Your Social Work Internship or Practicum

What will i get to do for my social work internship or practicum.

Social work interns work under close supervision of on-site professionals in the agencies where they are placed. Interns also receive ongoing guidance and support from off-site educators who supervise their field placements. During a social work practicum or internship, students observe and assist professional social workers. They learn to apply their academic training to the real world as they observe trained professionals and practice skills.

Interns have little discretion, but they do act independently for some tasks. They may assess client needs and help them obtain needed resources. In a school setting, for example, an intern might work with a group of students on identified skills or help the school social worker find resources for families. A clinical social work intern may provide counseling to clients, collect medical histories, and help maintain client records.

In What Type of Setting Will I Work?

Social work students gain field experience in many settings, such as schools, hospitals, community service agencies, correctional facilities, and therapy practices in their local community. Colleges place students in social work internships that match their professional goals. A student wishing to specialize in substance abuse counseling might complete a social work practicum or internship in a social service agency, hospital, or therapy practice that offers drug and alcohol counseling to clients.

How Long Will My Internship or Practicum Last?

Social work field placements generally last one semester or one year. A practicum requires less time per week than an internship. Students completing a practicum typically work for a few hours once a week, while interns usually work full-time or part-time. Simmons College School of Social Work requires bachelor’s-level students to complete a 100-hour practicum during the spring semester of their junior year and a 425-hour, year-long practicum during the senior year. Master’s-level students must complete internships three days per week during both years of the program. Because required hours vary by program and degree level, it is important to research the specific field experience requirements of programs that interest you.

Will I Get Paid for My Social Work Internship or Practicum?

Because a social work practicum is part of an academic course and supervised by a professor, placement agencies do not pay students for their work. Some internships are paid. Whether social work programs allow paid social work internships varies by school, so it is essential to research policies at schools that interest you.

Will I Get Academic Credit for My Internship or Practicum?

Students who complete field placements as part of the curriculum for their social work program receive academic credit for their practicum or internship. A social work practicum is an integral part of an academic course, and professors build these classes based on student experiences in the field. Students are expected to turn in assignments and meet benchmarks related to their field placement and share their experiences. Internships operate in much the same way although the requirements may be more rigorous. A social work internship may require research on the field placement agency, submitting treatment plans or client case studies, and completing other detailed reports.

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How will my social work internship or practicum help me.

Social work field experience enable students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real people and communities. A social work practicum or internship allows the student to see how practicing professionals handle the situations they read about in class and then practice using these skills. Because social work involves interpersonal skills, practice is essential. During an internship, students become more aware of the challenges faced by those they plan to serve. They also become more skilled at designing interventions to help clients and more adept at implementing treatment plans.

The goal of any field placement is to help the social work student become more confident, competent, ethical, and professional. Field placements serve as the bridge between the classroom and the workforce. Students come to understand what it means to work as a professional social worker, so field experience is an important first step to becoming a licensed, employed social worker.

How to Find Social Work Internships

There are many ways for social work students to find internships in their area. Start with your program’s website or field placement office and continue your search with services such as those listed below.

  • Your School’s Career Center: Check out your school’s career center website and job boards for internship opportunities in your area. Ask a career counselor to match you with the right internship.
  • Job Fairs: Employers seeking interns often attend local job fairs and offer interviews and information. Bring your resume and seek out agencies and field placement opportunities that match your career goals.
  • Recruiting Events: Local employers such as government agencies and hospitals may hold recruiting events near you. These events are opportunities to speak with potential employers about internship opportunities.
  • Alumni Network: Your school’s alumni network is a great place to look for internships. Check with your school’s career center or alumni office for ways to access this network and search for internships.
  • Job Boards and Internship Databases: Often, employers seek interns by posting opportunities to an online job board or database. Check your school’s website or career center, or see below for suggestions.

Social Work Internship Opportunities

  • Internships.com : Students enter their desired internship location, and a list of internships appears. Students can refine their search by distance, employer type, and compensation.
  • Linkedin.com : This social networking site provides job descriptions for the prospective social work intern. However, the advanced search features are only available for LinkedIn members.
  • Indeed.com : This is one of the largest job sites in the world. The seeker needs only a job description and location to search for unpaid and paid social work internships.
  • SimplyHired.com : This website uses a two-column approach. On the left are all the internships that fulfill your search criteria. Selecting an internship displays a detailed job description on the right.
  • WorldInternships.org : This website allows students to set up internships all over the world. Locations include China, India, Nepal, and Vietnam. There is a cost to create such an internship.
  • Projects-Abroad.org : Projects Abroad is a leading international volunteer organization with projects in more than 50 countries. There is a cost associated with these internships.

8 Tips for New Social Work Interns : This article is written for the undergraduate in social work by a field placement coordinator. It provides insights into the types of emotions and experiences a student might have during their internship.

Advice for MSW Students Completing Field Education : This resource provides information to students working toward their master’s in social work (MSW), including advice from four social work professionals and several external links for further reading.

Field Placement: What Students Need From Their Field Supervisors: A Student’s Perspective : This article is written from the perspective of the MSW student, focusing on what was missing and needed during their internship.


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  1. Suggested Learning Activities for Competency Development

    Competency #1: Intern identifies as a professional social worker and conducts himself/herself accordingly. Advocate for client access to needed resources. Practice self-reflection to make changes that assure continual professional development. Attend to professional roles, responsibilities, relationships, and boundaries.

  2. What does a Social Work Intern do? - Glassdoor

    What does a Social Work Intern do? Social workers provide direct service that assists clients with their needs that pertain to everyday life issues, complications, and problems, including incidents of neglect, abuse, or domestic violence, or with mental health, and substance abuse challenges.

  3. Internship Roles and Responsibilities | Social Work | Bemidji ...

    Orientation Schedule “Nitty Gritty” info includes: parking, bathrooms, dining facilities, dress requirements, break times, holidays, telephone instructions, signing in and out, introductions to staff and how an intern should identify themselves. Instructions regarding technology. Specific recording instructions.

  4. What Does a Social Work Internship Do? - Zippia

    Social work interns are students who chose to do their on-the-job training in the field of social work. They apply for an internship at social services facilities. They are usually assigned to do administrative or clerical activities such as sorting through files, updating records, organizing documents, and filing reports.

  5. Your Guide to Social Work Internships | Handshake

    In your social work internships you’ll gain skills in communication, de-escalation, teamwork, organization, accountability, and problem-solving among many others. Internship opportunities for social work students can foster a great exploration of the field, since there are so many paths in social work to consider and understand.

  6. Social Work Internships and Practicums - SocialWork.org

    Interns perform duties such as preparing agendas and discussing details with directors or field instructors. Other intern duties include case management, evaluation of client needs, and treatment options. Interns may also propose solutions to current challenges.

  7. Internships and Practicums - SocialWorkLicensure.org

    Social work interns work under close supervision of on-site professionals in the agencies where they are placed. Interns also receive ongoing guidance and support from off-site educators who supervise their field placements. During a social work practicum or internship, students observe and assist professional social workers.

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    Contact Social Work. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 262 Danny Thomas Place, Mail Stop 141. Memphis, TN 38105-3678. Phone: (901)-595-3670. Fax: (901) 595 -3121. Email: swtraining@stjude.org. Internships for Graduate Students Expand. Internships for Undergraduate Students Expand.