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Field Instruction Standards

Qualifications of Field Instructors

Practicum 1 Practicum 2
Hold a BSW (with at least 3 years of experience), or an MSW degree from an accredited social work program, or co-supervise with a colleague who holds a BSW or MSW degree.

Review relevant sections of FIFSW Practicum Manual.

Hold an MSW degree from an accredited social work program, or co-supervise with a colleague who holds an MSW degree.

Review relevant sections of FIFSW Practicum Manual.


Learning Opportunities

Practicum 1 Practicum 2
Provide multiple opportunities for developing, demonstrating and refining a range of:

  • direct practice skills, (e.g. assessment/ intervention with individuals and/or groups)*,


  • indirect practice skills (e.g. research, program evaluation, resource development, policy analysis).
Provide multiple opportunities for developing, demonstrating, and refining a range of:

  • direct practice skills (e.g. assessment/intervention with individuals and/or groups),


  • indirect practice skills (e.g. research, program evaluation, resource development, policy analysis)
Please see the FIFSW Practicum Manual for more information on Direct and Indirect practice.

*FIFSW students in the ITR field are not required to have a direct practice experience in their practicum.

Note on Psychotherapy

As of December 31, 2019, performance of the controlled act of psychotherapy is restricted under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) to members of six regulatory colleges. This includes members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Students engaged in psychotherapy in their practicum must be under the supervision of someone holding an MSW or BSW and registered with the OCSWSSW.

According to the OCSWSSW, psychotherapy is not considered an entry to practice competency (Practice Guidelines for Performing the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy). They recommend that graduates of accredited social work programs have additional specialized training and 2000-3000 hours of supervised practice (2-3 years) beyond their educational program in order to be considered competent to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy. Students need to be aware of these recommendations and that a private practice field placement is not an endorsement of readiness for independent practice.

Note on Practicums in Private Practice

Field Instructors must ensure administrative issues to address supervision of an MSW student are in place.

Service users must be informed that an MSW Student is providing services under the supervision of a Social Worker or allied professional and of the fees.

While there are no recommended fees for services provided by students, student rates are typically significantly less than rates charged by qualified practitioners. Sliding scales and pro bono are often made available based on the service user’s ability to pay.

Field Instructors must provide significant support and training to the MSW student in recruiting clients and building a caseload, acknowledging that students may bring limited marketing, entrepreneurship, and networking experience to the practicum to establish a steady caseload independently.


  • Provide a thorough orientation to the practicum setting, the student’s role, and safety policies/procedures.
  • Support the student in establishing learning objectives, learning assignments and activities to achieve objectives, and indicators of success and methods for evaluation.
  • Assume responsibility for the practicum student at all times, or designate an alternate supervisor when unavailable.
  • Provide a minimum of one hour per week of protected time for student supervision (e.g. instructing, establishing learning objectives, integrating theory, debriefing, etc.).
  • Provide regular opportunities to be observed by the student.
  • Regularly observe the student’s work and provide constructive feedback (see “Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback: A Review Article and How-To Guide“).
  • Ensure that assignments and project work are available in the event of service user “no-shows.”


Complete the online PAS evaluation tool (mid-term and final) by the designated dates, with constructive comments for the student’s future development.


  • On the Practicum Administration System (PAS) database: provide a description of the practicum and requirements; indicate whether direct, indirect, or mixed practice setting.
  • If a Practicum 2, indicate field(s) of study (Mental Health & Health, Children and their Families, Social Justice & Diversity, Social Work in Gerontology, Human Service Management and Leadership) that most accurately reflects the practicum.
  • E-mail a resume to the Practicum Office at
  • Notify relevant personnel in the practicum setting (Education Coordinator/supervisor/manager) of intent to offer field education.
  • Inform the Faculty-Field Liaison (FFL) or Practicum Office of concerns or major changes in the practicum. See Practicum Office contact information.
  • New Field Instructors are strongly encouraged to attend the Practicum Office’s Field Instructor Professional Development Series and complete the free 10-module certificate Online Field Instructor Course with the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). For a registration code for the CASWE course, contact Alexi Sparaggis at  
  • Field Instructors are not paid for supervising a student. Practicum sites are responsible for infrastructure, training and technology (eg. internet, Microsoft Office, email etc) to support the practicum, its supervision and evaluation, and cannot charge the student a fee for such.  A Field Instructor cannot pay a student for services provided during their practicum unless approved via application to FIFSW (PDF).