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Social Work Health Professions Trainee Program

VA's Social Work Service is designed to help Veterans, and their families, resolve emotional, economic, and psychosocial problems associated with the stresses of illness. The Social Work Health Professions Trainee Program at the Washington DC VA Medical Center offers qualified students an opportunity to gain real-world experience in the field of social work.

Program Description

Washington DC VA Medical Center Social Work Health Professions Trainee (SW HPT) Program is committed to providing quality field instruction to social work trainees. The goal is to train and mentor future generations of social workers to become effective, ethical, clinically and culturally competent practitioners with the tools necessary to enter the social work profession.

The VA program offers ten stipend-paid SW HPT position allocations each traditional academic year. The positions pay $7,500.00 for 500 field hours. Any additional hours needed to meet school field program requirements will be uncompensated. The VA program can offer uncompensated placement opportunities.

The SW HPT program focuses on the generalist scope of clinical practice that social work offers to Veterans and their families. This clinical generalist focus provides trainees with a unique opportunity to explore and learn many areas of social work in one agency setting. VA offers a diverse and wide variety of placement opportunities in various treatment settings, including outpatient, inpatient, specialty, and primary care, as well as treatment for substance abuse, mental health interventions and support around housing stability.


Expectations and Evaluation Criteria

The trainee program hours typically fit into a regular work week but may be flexible within those parameters. The hours may vary based on the trainee's course schedule, VA assignment and university requirements. In addition, trainees will observe the following 11 holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

The trainee program follows a traditional academic calendar, starting at the end of August or beginning of September and ending in late April or early May. The Social Work Service is unable to accommodate summer placements. New personnel and trainees are required to come to the medial center for occupational health examinations before reporting to work. Social work trainees will be required to complete a security clearance, background check and attend New Employee Orientation.

Trainees will be formally evaluated  on their performance two time. Also, the trainee will be assessed on an Individual Case Presentation and their participation in the designated group project.


The Washington DC VA Medical Center Social Work Health Professions Trainee Program accepts applicants who are qualified advanced-standing or second-year, master-level graduate students enrolled in programs accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Washington DC VA Medical Center currently has agreements with five schools. Students from George Mason University; Howard University; The Catholic University of America; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Virginia Commonwealth University may apply to them Washington DC VA Medical Center Social Work Health Professions Trainee Program.

Application Process

All referrals to the program must be made through a university liaison. Each educational institution liaison submits the student's application. The liaison must submit a screened resume to determine if the DC VA Medical Center suits the student's learning goals. Screened applicants will interview with the Social Work Health Professions Trainee Committee.

Social Work Health Professions Trainee Program Benefits

During their placement at the VAMC, social work trainees have the opportunity to listen to lectures and participate in a variety of training sessions to bolster their professional knowledge and skill-base.

Trainees are not eligible for the Federal Employee Retirement System. However, if a trainee later becomes a federal employee, time spent in the trainee program status can be credited toward retirement. The DC VA is interested in offering jobs to former trainees, and they are encouraged to apply for federal employment, which would begin after completion of degree requirements. Learn more about possible job opportunities with VA. 

Learn more about education and training opportunities available to trainees:

Internships And Fellowships | VA Washington DC Health Care | Veterans Affairs

For more information contact:

Cynthia M. Glenn, LICSW 

Social Work Education & Health Profession Trainee Program Coordinator

For More Information Contact:

Cynthia M. Glenn, LICSW -