We are always looking for new partner agencies around the state so we can provide diverse and meaningful practice experiences for our students. If your agency is interested in partnering with us, please contact the practicum administrator for the center closest to your location. Click here for a list of practicum administrators and their contact information.

Below is additional information regarding considerations the school has in partnering with agencies which may help you determine if your agency is a good fit.

Continuing Education Units

If you are an Iowa-licensed social worker, and supervised or will supervise one or more University of Iowa social work students, you can earn FREE CEUs (1 per 100 hours interned, maximum of 6 per biennium) for your work.

Professional Licensure 645, Chapter 281.3(2)(k) Specific criteria: Supervision of a social work practicum student(s) from an accredited social work education program. A licensee may receive one credit for every 100 hours supervised, not to exceed six hours of continuing education credit per biennium. [ARC 3744C, IAB 4/11/18, effective 5/16/18].

If you qualify, please contact the School of Social Work with documentation of the semester(s) you supervised and the name(s) of the student(s) to request your CEU certificate.

What we look for in an agency:

  • The agency mission and programs/services offered should align with social work values and the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • Students should have the opportunity to engage in diverse activities related to social work competencies
  • Staffing levels need to be sufficient for students to have access to weekly supervision and support from staff on-site.
  • The agency hours of operation should allow students to fulfill the practicum hour requirements.
  • Students should be provided the space and supplies necessary to carry out their practicum duties, such as designated office space, computer access, etc.
  • The agency should have safety protocols in place and agree to review the protocols with the student.
  • The agency should recognize that students are learners, not yet professionals, and be committed to providing an environment where students can develop their knowledge and skills.

Administrative Considerations:

  • Agency HR requirements such as a background check, health screening, orientation/training, etc.
  • Liability coverage:
    • The University of Iowa provides liability coverage for our students while they are in placement.
    • Individual agencies and even practitioners will still want to consult their own liability coverage to ensure they are covered for supervising a student.
    • It is important for those serving as supervisors to be aware if they are liable for work completed by a student whom they are supervising.
  • Third-party reimbursement for student services (typically a consideration for clinical practice sites):
    • Third-party reimbursement may be linked to the agency’s legal charter and/or a clinician’s professional credentials and licensure.
    • To avoid lost revenue, agencies need to explore whether they can be reimbursed for services rendered by a student, or whether services could be offered through a sliding fee scale to bypass the third party.

Practicum Requirements:

  • Students complete practicum at different times of the year and have different hour requirements based on their level of study. Your agency may indicate which level(s) of students are appropriate for your setting. Students will have different needs regarding their activities based on the practicum type.
    • BA Generalist Practicum: minimum 400 clock hours in Spring or Summer semester. These students are completing their placement during their final term in the Social Work program. They have completed or will be in concurrent coursework related to basic helping skills, diversity and social justice, social work policy, research, and human behavior in the social environment.
    • Master’s Generalist Practicum: minimum 300 clock hours in Spring or Summer semester. These students enter the program without an accredited undergraduate degree in social work. They complete generalist social work coursework prior to placement, including basic helping skills, professional ethics, human behavior in the social environment, and basics of working along the micro-to-macro practice spectrum. While in practicum, most will also be enrolled in coursework on social justice, policy, and basic research skills to complete their generalist coursework.
    • Master’s Practicum with Clinical or Leadership Specialization: minimum 600 clock hours over both fall & spring semesters. Students at this level have completed generalist social work coursework either at the undergraduate or graduate level and therefore are expected to demonstrate more advanced knowledge and skills. These students have chosen a specialization and most are concurrently enrolled in specialized coursework, either clinical or leadership. These students are preparing to practice at a more autonomous level.
  • Practicum Instructor:
    • Our accreditation requires that students receive regular supervision from a social worker with an appropriate level of education throughout the practicum.
      • For BASW students, the practicum instructor must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work plus two years of social work experience post-graduation.
      • For MSW students, the practicum instructor must have a master’s degree in social work plus two years of social work experience post-graduation.
    • Practicum instructors provide a minimum of one hour of supervision to the student per week.
      • A practicum instructor’s role includes bringing a social work frame and perspective to the student’s placement experiences.
      • Supervision is a time to process the student’s practice experiences and for the student to receive feedback.
    • If the primary site supervisor for the student does not have the appropriate credentials, another agency employee, administrator, board member, or volunteer can serve as the practicum instructor.
      • In this situation, both the site supervisor and practicum instructor are responsible for providing the student the task and developmental support needed to effectively engage in learning activities and grow as a social work professional.
      • In some instances, if there is no one available in the agency to serve as the practicum instructor, the school will attempt to identify additional resources to fill this need, allowing the student to complete the placement as desired.

What to Expect - The Practicum Process

  • When your agency partners with the School of Social Work, an agency profile will be created in our online Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) database.
  • Students will use the IPT database to view agency profiles and obtain contact information for agencies. The more complete your profile is, the better chance your agency has of attracting students.
  • Specific practicum timelines vary by program center and are available here
  • In the semester before their practicum, students are responsible for identifying and contacting agencies for interviews.
    • Students are expected to provide agencies with resumes and cover letters as part of the application process.
    • Students are expected to demonstrate professional communication/correspondence and behavior in interactions with agencies.
  • Once you have agreed to accept a student, the student will provide a Placement Agreement Form to be jointly completed and signed.
  • Students and practicum instructors have an orientation at the beginning of the practicum term. The specifics of this differ across centers. The practicum administrator for the center you are partnering with can explain this process in detail.
  • Early in the practicum, the student will need to work with the practicum instructor/site supervisor to develop an initial learning plan outlining the activities the student will engage in to demonstrate required social work competencies.
    • The learning plan will be completed on IPT.
    • The learning plan is a living document that can be adjusted throughout the term to account for new learning experiences.
  • A practicum liaison from the School of Social Work will be assigned to the student and agency at the beginning of the term.
    • The practicum liaison will serve as the connection between the placement and the School of Social Work.
    • The practicum liaison will make on-site or virtual site visits) during the practicum and will be available for additional support or questions if needed.
  • Students will have additional classes while in practicum, including a concurrent practicum seminar course.
  • Evaluation:
    • The practicum instructor evaluates the student at the end of the practicum.
    • This evaluation is completed in IPT and includes a scaled rating regarding the student’s demonstration of competencies and a narrative description.
    • If there is both a practicum instructor and a site supervisor, collaboration is expected between the two supervisors in rating the student’s competencies, and each person will complete their own narrative.