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Social Work Training Program

Each year the VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System offers 15 paid practicum placements to second year or advanced standing MSW students from affiliated universities.

Whereas most placements are located in the Salt Lake City area, others may be available in Saint George, Orem, South Jordan, Ogden, Pocatello, or Idaho Falls. Students are expected to complete 550 hours of training with the VA. Paid placements generally run from August to April in conjunction with the VA fiscal year and traditional academic year, though alternative schedules may be available. Being one of the nation’s largest training systems, the VA offers students a broad range of clinical experiences. Though many duties are unique to their assigned placements, all students will gain valuable experience:

  • Completing psychosocial assessments and developing treatment plans;
  • Facilitating individual and group therapies;
  • Participating on multi-disciplinary teams to coordinate services;
  • Advocating for our Veterans;
  • Establishing discharge/aftercare plans;
  • Networking with community partners;
  • Linking Veterans to services to address their psychosocial needs; and
  • Many more traditional social work services.

Student trainees will be given the opportunity to shadow and provide services in other areas of the health care system. This allows trainees to get experiences which may not be offered at their unique placement, and to tailor their experience to meet their personal goals. Opportunities are available for trainees to use evidence-based interventions under supervision, and there may be opportunities to become fully trained in using specific evidence-based interventions provided at the VA. In addition to what is offered by our practicum instructors, trainees are also given an opportunity to engage in additional mentorship from a social worker of their choice to help them grow professionally.


The United States government requires citizenship to be considered for federal employment. Students must be:

  • Enrolled in an MSW program which has received full accreditation by the CSWE;
  • Either in the 2nd year of their program or in advanced standing;
  • Eligible to be hired immediately at the completion of their practicum;
  • Physically and mentally able to perform their duties;
  • Registered for Selective Service by age 26 (Males only); and
  • Available a minimum of 18 hours per week during regular business hours.

Criminal behaviors will be considered when determining eligibility for appointment (details at Declaration for Federal Employment form). Students must pass a physical exam to include a tuberculosis screening, and hepatitis vaccination (or waiver). Students will also be required to receive an influenza vaccine by November 30th, or will be required to wear a face mask throughout the influenza season.

Application Process

Complete application packets are generally accepted during the months of January and February prior to the start of the Fall placements during any given year. Applications for non-paid positions will be considered year-round based upon each students’ eligibility and experience, as well as the availability of a placement. See the links below for more details.


University Affiliation Agreement

The VA requires an affiliation agreement to be completed with each university before offers for placement can be extended to their students. The VA uses a standard template for this agreement approved through the Office of Academic Affiliations. Limited amendments can be made to this document locally including responsibilities of both parties and termination agreement. Other amendments including liability issues must be sent from our locality to the Office of General Counsel (OGC) and can take up to 6 months or longer for a decision. It should be noted that the OGC is very strict when considering amendments to this document. To assure an affiliation agreement is in place with your accredited university, contact the Social Work Trainee Coordinator.

Contact Information

Timothy Carr, LCSW
Social Work Trainee Coordinator
801-582-1565, ext. 4272