Practicum and Internship

Welcome Statement

Welcome to the Department of Counseling Field Placement Web Site. We hope to provide current and prospective students and field placement supervisors with information about our philosophy and our requirements.

It is our view that counseling proficiency, professional values and knowledge of community agencies cannot be learned in a classroom alone. We are deeply committed to a partnership of field and coursework and have designed our program so that fieldwork is emphasized as an essential two-year long part of our student's education. Each practicum course is accompanied by a field placement so that skills learned in the classroom can be practiced in the field. Students take four practicum courses in sequential order and are required to experience two different field placements each spanning an academic year. The field supervisor is central to learning, serving as teacher, role model and mentor. The faculty liaison serves as the link between the counseling program and the field, monitoring the student's progress, helping to ensure the integration of coursework and fieldwork and collaborating with the field supervisor.

The following pages are designed to provide information about our fieldwork program for both students and agencies. Our practicum and trainee handbook, which details all of our fieldwork policies, can be accessed as well as all of the forms used by the students and those used by agency supervisors.

Potential field sites wishing to apply to this program may access the field placement application forms and learn about our requirements by reading the handbook for a detailed description, or accessing Field Placement Guidelines for a brief overview.


Trainee placements are an integral part of the graduate program--the student's opportunity to gain direct experience with clients and to develop skills. The Department has prepared a separate handbook detailing all policies, procedures, and expectations relating to trainees. Students will acquire a copy of the handbook at the time they enter the program and will be responsible for its contents. The following are some of the general policies regarding trainee placements about which students should be aware: (The Practicum & Trainee Handbook should be consulted for a full description of all policies and practices.)

Placements are for the full academic year (two semesters). Exceptions are made only in consultation with area coordinators and the Department Chair.

Students should expect to have two different one-year placements during their graduate program. A student must spend two consecutive semesters in each specialized trainee placement.

Students using their place of employment as a traineeship setting cannot expect to fulfill all four semesters in the setting--at least two semesters must be in a placement other than the one in which they are employed. Authorization from the field placement coordinator is required and conditions must be met in order to use work as a field placement.

Students must put in 840 hours of field placement for each specialization, with at least 280 hours of direct client contact.

Students completing a school counseling credential must divide their trainee placements between both elementary and secondary school levels. The ratio of this division will be determined by the student's adviser and Department Coordinator for School Counseling.

A traineeship setting is considered appropriate if it meets a variety of criteria:

  1. An identified supervisor with a Master's Degree in Counseling or its equivalent and two years of experience in the field. 
  2. Availability of regular (at least 1 hour per week) supervision. (For each 12 hours of trainee placement, students must receive 1 hour of individual supervision per week spread out over the entire semester.)
  3. Location within a 30 mile radius of the campus of San Francisco State University or faculty liaison approval.
  4. Approval by trainee placement liaison faculty, and trainee placement coordinator.

Trainee placements are developed by the Coordinator of Field Placements in conjunction with practicum and trainee instructors. Students will be asked to specify preferred geographical locations and areas of specializations. Students need to check with the coordinator of field placements for each specialization to get approval of any particular setting for a specialization. The final selection of a placement is a matter of negotiation between the student and Coordinator of Field Placements.

Liaison Faculty

Each student is assigned a liaison faculty who is his/her contact between the fieldwork site and the University. The instructor acts on behalf of the student to ensure an optimal learning situation.

Liability for Professional Practice

The CSU provides liability insurance for students in field placements. Some agencies request additional coverage.

Several professional associations in the area of guidance and counseling offer inexpensive professional practice insurance coverage, either as a part of general membership or through additional coverage which can be purchased. As specific rates and options vary from time to time, we recommend that you consider requesting information from one of the following organizations:

Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO)

American Counseling Association (ACA)  

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (CAMFT)


Practicum and Internship Placement Coordinator
Kwong-Liem Karl Kwan, Ph.D.
Burk Hall, Rm 524
(415) 338 - 2005