Military-Related Field Internships
All SSW students complete two full-time, eight-month internships in different settings. If you are interested in working with Veterans and servicemembers, during the first year, you will undertake a field internship in a non-VA setting that will give you the necessary background. This might include an internship in mental health, substance abuse, or outpatient adult major mental illness clinics, for example. In the second year, you will intern in a VA setting.
Smith has field affiliations with ten VA facilities, and our Field Office staff vets these programs to assure they have the strongest mental health and research programs. The facilities include inpatient units addressing PTSD, inpatient units for Veterans with medical issues, palliative care units, end of life units, and facilities working with families. There are also a wide range of outpatient clinics: psych ER settings, outpatient mental health, telehealth units for vets located too far from a VA campus, women’s health, women’s trauma (military sexual trauma), suicide assessment teams, and facilities for learning prolonged exposure therapy for vets with heavy combat trauma experience. Students may also be placed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland, a Department of Defense (DOD) setting, where they work with active duty servicemembers and their families.
SSW doctoral students also benefit from field internships at DOD and VA settings. In particular, their internships are located some of the most established and leading edge research and treatment facilities, including the San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the Landstuhl Regional Army Medical Center in Germany.
During their clinical internships, M.S.W. students in VA and DOD settings participate, on a monthly basis, in a telephonic integrated field seminar. Co-facilitated by Kathryn Basham and a Ph.D. student, this seminar provides case conferences to students working with military and Veteran populations throughout the US and Germany.
The VA medical centers are very committed to social work education and training. If you intern in one of these facilities, you will not only engage in extensive direct practice experience, but you will participate in multi-disciplinary teams, case seminars, and other educational opportunities. Students in these internships are often hired by the VA after they complete their degrees.