Field Education

Hermila Melero portrait

Welcome to our returning students and all new students to Cal State LA School of Social Work. 

Field Education plays an integral role in the total curriculum for social work students. The experience offers an opportunity for students to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and social work practice. Fieldwork experience is a vital dimension of students’ undergraduate and graduate social work education. It is designed to provide new and challenging experiences to the students and to maximize learning opportunities.  The hours of field practice prepare students to enter the workforce as professional social work practitioners.

The social work profession promotes social change, problem-solving, and empowerment of people to enhance overall well-being.  We are change agents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families, and communities we serve. It is a privilege to support and guide you into the rewarding field of social work.  

Hermila Melero, MSW, LCSW
Field Education Director
School of Social Work
California State University, Los Angeles

Field Instructor Training

On behalf of Cal State LA’s School of Social Works’ Field Education department, we welcome you to our BSW and MSW Field Instructor Certification Training.  We appreciate your willingness to work with our students, especially now as we have mostly transitioned back to in-person/in-office. 

Throughout the year, we are available for consultation, and we look forward to working closely with you and your student. 

The modules have been developed to provide Field Instructors with knowledge and skills rooted within the BSW and MSW mission, goals, and objectives to effectively supervise social work interns.

The Field Instructor Certification Training is reciprocal with other schools of social work in the region; therefore, you may take our online training if you have students from other schools.  However, we ask that you check the policies, procedures, and formats for your student’s school to be sure that you are following the school’s requirements as they may be different from those of the School of Social Work at Cal State LA. 

We thank you for your interest in training our Social Work students!

Please note that our online Field Instructor Certification Training is only open to those who have pre-registered with our department. 

Unfortunately, we will be unable to provide CEU credit for the completion of the Field Instructor online training.

 Thank you for understanding!


1. Begin by clicking on the first of the eleven training modules below.
2. Read through each module.
3. Once each module has been read and reviewed, please complete the Field Instructor Certification Training Comprehensive Exam found after the 11th module below.
4. Please make sure to include your name and title on your exam.
5. After completing the comprehensive exam, we ask that you also complete the Field Instructor Certification Training Evaluation found after the comprehensive exam below.

6. Email your completed comprehensive exam and evaluation document to Nelly Carrillo Barajas at [email protected] by August 25th, 2023. 

Field Training Module 1

Goals, why is important, and why do we need it? 

Module 2: Field Instructor Roles and Responsibilities

Expectations, commitment to educating versus supervising, the role of liaison, school, etc.  

Module 3: Principles of Effective Supervision

Define the function of supervision, identify and review approaches to supervision; Expand understanding of the focus of supervision under the different approaches to supervision. Overview of Stages of Internship and Strategies to address the various stages of the internship; Review general principles of supervision; clarify student and field instructor expectations. 

Module 4: Targeted Strategies for Field Instruction

Review supervision tools to promote process in supervision, Key Components for Solution focus, Motivational Interviewing, and Trauma-Informed Approaches to Supervision; Identify strategies for integrating these approaches into supervision. 


Module 5: Field Documentation

Provide an overview of the integrated Learning Agreement and Comprehensive Skills Evaluation. Clarify student and Field Instructor roles in the process. Offer concrete examples for constructing effective and appropriate learning activities to address desired CSWE competencies. Overview of student timesheet. Overview of Process Recording and Process Recording Log.

Module 6: Common Rater Errors and Biases

Review the most common performance rater errors and biases including unconscious biases toward those being evaluated; understand how personal perceptions and biases may influence how students' behaviors/performance are evaluated; encourage awareness when rater errors are in play and how to correct it. 

Module 7: Ethical and Legal Issues

Understand the ethical and legal issues in field supervision; understand the areas of potential liability in field education; identify strategies for incorporating ethical and legal responsibilities into practice. 

Module 8: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Review of definition and concept of diversity, equity, inclusion in practice, and supervision. Define the practice of cultural humility and its application to social work practice. identify strategies to assist in enhancing the student learning experience. 


Module 9: Resolution of Problems in the Field 

Provide an understanding of the progressive steps involved in resolving a student issue in the field and an understanding of the outcomes involved in resolving a student issue in the field. 


Module 10: What are your personal pronouns and why do they matter: Creating a Safe and Inclusive Space

Provide a definition of personal pronouns and their importance. How the use of inclusive language as it relates to gender and sexual identity can provide a sense of safety and inclusion for clients, staff, and interns. 



Module 11: Putting it all together

Why we do it, understanding the next generation of social work students; finding common ground; maintaining a positive outlook of the value and need of field instruction. 


*We also have a mandatory half-day Field Instructor Orientation for individuals who will supervise Cal State Los Angeles social work student interns during the upcoming academic year.  Please email Nelly C. Barajas at [email protected] to obtain more information.

The Field Instructor Orientation will take place online Friday, Aug 25th.  A flyer with the Zoom link will be emailed to all Field Instructors.

Stipend Programs

The School of Social Work (SSW) is excited to open the call for application to recruit the first cohort of the HCAI Fellows who are passionate and committed to serving underprivileged individuals, families, and communities challenged by behavioral health issues.

Supported by the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) Social Work Education Capacity Expansion (SWECE) Grant Program, selected fellows will be awarded with the stipend amount of $10,000 per academic year, pending meeting all the HCAI Fellowship requirements.

Please look at the following details of the HCAI Fellowship information & Application Instructions.

Who Can Apply?

  • Full-time MSW students entering in the Fall of 2023 for the MSW 2-Yr program; and
  • Enrolled in social work practicum focusing on behavioral health (mental health and or substance use)

What is the HCAI Fellowship Award?

  • Stipend for those in behavioral health focused practicum ($10,000 per academic year).
  • An effort to increase the behavioral health workforce upon graduation from the MSW program.

What are the requirements to maintain the HCAI Fellow status?

  • Maintain a good academic standing, including practicum (GPA 3.0 or higher and pass Practicum-SW 5950A, SW 5950B, SW 5950C, and SW 5950D).
  • Meet and complete all the stipend requirements, including training and related events.
  • Be in a behavioral practicum setting during the entire MSW program.
  • Make and demonstrate a commitment to work in behavioral social work practice settings upon graduating from the Cal State LA MSW program.
  • Complete thesis/project in behavioral health (i.e., mental health and/or substance use).
  • Must take two elective courses directly relating to behavioral health as the required elective course (SW 5802: Empowerment and Recovery in Mental Health and SW 5804: Trauma, Substance Abuse & Violence)

How do I apply for the HCAI Fellowship?

  • Complete a short application online. Answer a few questions in the application and upload your resume. 
  • Applications will be reviewed, and the top 25% of candidates will be invited for interviews. [Tentative interview schedules: Tuesday, July 18; Wednesday, July 19; & Thursday, July 20, 2023.]

Whom I contact if I have questions?

For the HCAI Fellowship Application, please get in touch with Ga-Young Choi, Ph.D., Professor & HCAI SWECE Project Coordinator [email protected]

The MSW Practicum within the HCAI Fellowship Program, please get in touch with Hermila Melero, LCSW, The Director of the Social Work Practicum Education, at [email protected] 

We look forward to hearing from many of you!


Siyon Rhee, Ph.D., Professor & Director of the SSW

Ga-Young Choi, Ph.D., Professor & HCAI SWECE Project Coordinator

Hermila Melero, LCSW, Director of the Social Work Practicum Education

Anh-Luu Huynh-Hohnbaum, Ph.D., Professor & MSW (2-Yr & 3-Yr) Program Director

Taqi Tirmazi, Ph.D., Associate Professor & ASP Director

Important Documents and Links

The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) Title IV-E Program at CSULA’s School of Social Work began in 1999. CalSWEC is a partnership among the Schools of Social Work, public human services agencies, and other related professional organizations that facilitates the integration of education and practice to assure effective, culturally responsive service delivery to the people of California. CalSWEC provides professional education and monetary support to social work students who intend to pursue or continue a career in the field of public child welfare upon graduation. Funded through Title IV-E monies from the federal government, CalSWEC provides stipends to MSW students in exchange for a commitment to work in a public child welfare agency, within the State of California, for a minimum of two years and the opportunity for a fulfilling lifelong career in public child welfare.

Application and Admissions

  • Interested candidates must first apply to the CSULA MSW Program. A CalSWEC application will be sent upon acceptance to the MSW program.
  • Complete the “Application for Public Child Welfare Stipend Program” included in the acceptance packet.
    • At CSULA School of Social Work, we offer a full-time/2 year CalSWEC IV-E program and a part-time/3year CalSWEC Title IV-E program. The part-time/3-year CalSWEC program is for current county child welfare employees who are eligible for release time.
    • To be eligible for CalSWEC, you must be able to pass a criminal background check.
    • If you are unable to successfully complete any of the program requirements, you must repay the stipend.

CalSWEC Internships

For their first year of internship, students are placed in a community-based organization that serves Title IV-E children and families.  During their second year of internship, students are placed with Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services, where they have the opportunity to practice and develop skills and tasks consistent with those of Children’s Social Workers in public child welfare. Students who are LA County DCFS employees are assigned to a placement that is different from their assignments as employees.

  • Full-time CalSWEC IV-E Stipend Program (2-year students only)
  • Stipend Recipients receive $18,500 per academic year (totaling $37,000) and upon graduation, must obtain a position in public child welfare for a minimum of one year for each year of financial support received.  This employment obligation must be fulfilled within the state of California, at a county public child welfare agency (including LA County) for two (2) years.
  • Part-time CalSWEC IV-E Stipend Program (3-year students who are current employees of a county Public Child Welfare Agency)
  • Recipients receive reimbursement for tuition and fees, and the cost for required textbooks, travel for each day of class or fieldwork (up to $14,164 per year). A public child welfare employee who has received a letter of support and release time agrees to return to the agency of employment immediately after MSW graduation and render two years of continuous and satisfactory full-time employment in a position that is at least at a level appropriate to a new MSW in child welfare services. 

Program requirements:

  • Maintain a B (3.0) average in all coursework.
  • Successfully complete the first year of fieldwork, placed in a non-profit agency serving IV-E eligible children.
  • Successfully complete the second year of fieldwork placed in a public child welfare agency.
  • Have a valid driver’s license, current automobile insurance, and secure the use of a car as required by field work.
  • Completion of a Child Welfare elective course, which takes place in the concentration year.
  • Undergo pre-screening for county employment including fingerprinting, psychological examination, and medical examination.

The LA County MSW DCFS Stipend Program is a federally funded program and partnership between the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and seven MSW programs in Southern California. Under the Title IV-E provision of the Social Security Act, the goal is to improve the professional preparation of public child welfare workers. The collaborative offers a DCFS Internship Program for MSW students. CSULA provides up to eight stipends annually. The DCFS Internship is a one-year stipend program offered in the second year of field (2nd year in the 2-year program and 3rd year in the 3-year program). MSW students receive a stipend in the amount of $18,500. Upon graduation, students are required to work at L.A. County DCFS for one year. The goal is to have students commit to a career with DCFS.

Who may apply?

  • Eligible students must submit a DCFS Stipend application.
  • The application and instructions are sent in the admissions packet for 2 year program students.
  • Applications for 3 year students are made available at the 1st year placement orientation.
  • Selected students will be invited for an interview.

DCFS Stipend Brochure 2021

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Valenzuela portrait

Lisa Valenzuela, MSW
LA DCFS Stipend Coordinator
[email protected]


Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium

The Southern California Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) is the nation's first major regional consortium consisting of GSWEC-accredited graduate social work programs, geriatric social work agencies and a variety of health and social aging service providers.  Funding for student stipends comes from private foundations with a goal of creating a replicable and sustainable model for integrated field and academic graduate geriatric social work education. The goal is to advance preparation of geriatric social workers in order to strengthen the quality of care available to older populations.

Stipend:  Students are selected directly through GSWEC and receive a stipend varying from $4,000 to $6,000.  A primary field placement is customized to students' geriatric practice interests.  A secondary case-based experience complements the continuum of care and offers opportunities for specialized learning needs and a macro project.  Students receive competency-based training, a certificate upon program completion and participate in a special graduation program at the end of the year.

Admission:  Students must be in the Aging and Family Concentration to apply.   The application process starts every January during the 2nd year field education placement process (during the first year of field education).  Students are selected and matched with a GSWEC agency through the 2nd year interview process.