VA Traineeships - VHA Social Work
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VHA Social Work


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VA Traineeships

Universities and Colleges with Affiliations
Many universities and colleges with social work programs have affiliation agreements for students to complete field placements at VA facilities.  Contact your local university or college Field Placement Coordinator to inquire if your school has an affiliation agreement with a VA facility in your geographic area

Clinical Traineeship/Graduate Program
The VA operates the largest and most comprehensive clinical training program for social workers.  The VA is affiliated with over  230 graduate schools of social work and trains approximately 1500 MSW interns a year.  Overall the VA’s impact on social work education effects the current health care curriculum, standards for clinical practice and in expanding the roles and functions of clinical social workers.  The Social Work Intern Program Coordinator is the primary liaison for schools of social work who place master’s-candidate and/or bachelor of social work-candidate interns with social work field instructors (supervisors) in the VAMCs and community clinics. Typically, the coordinator links with schools of social work, identifies appropriate field placements and field instructors, assists in selection through interviewing and applications, and assists in facilitating required paperwork. She/he may also provide group supervision and orientation for the interns. His/her duties may be a collateral duty or part of an administrative position.

VHA as a whole operates the largest and most comprehensive clinical training program for social work graduate students, training approximately 1500 students each year.

VA offers one year of special hiring consideration to those who complete an internship.

How to Apply for Field Placements
Have your Field Placement Coordinator contact the Social Work Education Coordinator at the VA facility where you are interested in completing your internship.  Your Field Placement Coordinator will provide you the application to complete for a VA field placement.

Availability of Stipends
Some VA facilities have stipends available for students completing field placements.  Please have your Field Placement Coordinator contact the VA Social Work Education Coordinator to determine stipend availability and application procedures.

Applying for VA Employment Post Internship
Students who complete field placements at VA facilities are encouraged to discuss employment opportunities with the Social Work Chief or Executive.

To learn about national vacancies and how to apply, visit the website USA Jobs. link picture You may also contact the Human Resource office at the facility of your interest.

Social Work Licensure
In compliance with Public Law 106-419, VA social workers appointed after August 14, 1991, must be licensed at the master’s level to independently practice social work in a state.  Reference VHA Handbook 5005/23: Social Worker Qualification Standard Including Licensure and/or Certification Requirement. This handbook sets forth the qualification for appointment as a social worker in VHA.  It includes recent changes to the licensure and/or certification requirements for DVA social workers made by section 205 of Public Law 106-419, the Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act pf 2000, November 1, 2000.

VA social workers have a master's degree in social work (MSW or MSSW). Some are also licensed master social workers (LMSW) or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW).

Our social workers are committed to providing field instruction to undergraduate and graduate level social work interns. We provide field training for selected interns from accredited schools of social work with whom we have approved affiliation agreements

Helpful Sites for Interviewing Skills - Performance Based Interviewing

Social Work Links:

Association of VA Social Workers link picture The Association, the VA professional organization for social workers, has as its  purpose to encourage development of comprehensive Social Work services to veteran beneficiaries through education and training, leadership promotion, and the sharing of information to enhance the effectiveness of Social Work.  The Association will advocate for the recruitment, retention, and increased recognition of VA Social Workers.

CSWE-Gero-Ed Center link picture The mission of the Council on Social Work Education Gero-Ed Center (National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education), funded since 2004 by the John A. Hartford Foundation, is to promote gerontological competencies in baccalaureate and master’s level social work programs nationwide to prepare students to enhance the health and well-being of older adults and their families. The website is an online resource for social work faculty, students, and practitioners who are committed to enhancing their gerontological competence

National Association of Social Workers link pictureThe National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with nearly 150,000 members.  NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.

Association of Social Work Boards link pictureThe Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is the association of boards that regulate social work.  ASWB develops and maintains the series of social work licensing examinations used by every state except California.  ASWB is a central resource for information on the legal regulation of social work.  Through the association, social work boards can share information and work together.  ASWB is also available to help individual social workers and social work students with questions they may have about licensing and the social work examinations.

Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care link picture The Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC) is a professional organization, 1300 members strong, dedicated to promoting the universal availability, accessibility, coordination, and effectiveness of health care that addresses the psychosocial components of health and illness.

Association of Oncology Social Workers (AOSW) link picture Oncology social work is the primary professional discipline which, as part of the oncology team, provides psychosocial services to cancer patients, their families, and caregivers.  The Association connects patients and their families with essential community, state, national, and international resources.  As advocates, AOSW and its members are dedicated to increasing awareness about the social, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of cancer patients through research, writing, presenting workshops and lectures.  The organization is involved in collaborating with other patient advocacy groups, national and international oncology organizations with the primary focus access and quality care for cancer patients.

American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers link picture The American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers (AASCIPSW) is an organization of psychologists and social workers who provide for the emotional, behavioral and psychosocial care of persons affected by spinal cord impairment (SCI).  AASCIPSW, incorporated in 1986, operates exclusively for scientific, charitable and educational purposes.  AASCIPSW provides members the opportunity to develop and refine leadership skills through active participation in the Association.

The New Social Worker Online link picture This site was developed in 1995 as an avenue to disseminate information to social workers and those interested in social work careers.  As the technology grew and developed, we added interactive features to make the site a full-fledged social work community.

link picture Disclaimer: Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites