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Field Education Program FAQs

How is field at TSSW unique?

The Tulane School of Social Work Field Placement Program is designed to offer one field placement experience of over 900 clock hours broken into a three semesters for full-time students and six semesters for part-time students.

How are students placed at agencies and can I choose my field placement?

Students are introduced to the wide range of field placement opportunities in the foundation field course, Professional Foundations. Through class assignments, the Field Open House, the Field Application process and individual interviews, the Office of Field Education will work with you to select your field placement based on your goals and interests, prior experience and expectations, and geographic location, striving to provide one that will broaden your educational and life experiences. The primary role of the Office of Field Education during the placement process is to serve students, agencies, and field instructors in finding the best "goodness of fit." Social-service agencies, government entities, schools, hospitals, and businesses throughout southeast Louisiana participate in our field-internship program

When does field placement begin and end?

For full-time students preparation for the field experience begins in the first semester, with the field placement starting in the second semester, lasting three consecutive semesters (Spring I through Fall II). Advanced standing students begin field placement immediately upon their enrollment at TSSW. Part-time students begin preparation for the field experience in their first and second semesters with field placement beginning in their third semester and remaining in placement for six consecutive semesters. All students complete more than 900 hours in the field.

How many hours a week will I need to commit to my field placement?

Full-time students must complete 24 hours per week for three 15-week semesters. Part-time students must complete 12 hours per week for six semesters. All interns complete over 900 hours in the field.

What days am I in the field placement?

Full-time students are in field placement Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 24 hours per week, with classes held Tuesdays and Thursdays. Part-time students’ field placement schedules vary depending upon their employment schedules.

Are all field placements completed in New Orleans?

Although most field practice sites are in the metropolitan New Orleans area, sites are available throughout the surrounding parishes as well as in coastal Mississippi. For questions about these options, contact the TSSW Director of Field Education, Dr. Heather Gillis at 504-865-5313 or at hgillis@tulane.edu.

Do I get paid?

Most of our field placement agencies do not provide a stipend or salary for students. While some might offer stipends, those are never guaranteed. Most students who attend our MSW program receive Federal Need Based Financial Aid (student loans). Students must complete a federal application called the FAFSA. These applications can be obtained from the Admissions Office at the School of Social Work or online here. In addition, all applications are automatically considered for scholarships by the Tulane School of Social Work Admissions Committee.

Can I do my field placement where I work?

For students employed with human service agencies, it may be possible to complete all or part of your internship requirements at your place of employment. The Council on Social Work Education recognizes and permits the use of such field placements so long as the educational integrity of the field practicum is preserved. A work-based internship requires a written plan that specifies the differences between the student's responsibilities and tasks as an employee and the new responsibilities and tasks as a student and a different person as a field instructor than the employee supervisor to assure the integrity of the educational purpose of the placement.

To discuss a potential exception, please contact the Tulane School of Social Work Director of Field Education, Dr. Heather Gillis. She can be reached at 504-865-5313 or at hgillis@tulane.edu.

Will I receive a grade for my field placement?

Agency-based field instructors complete a detailed written evaluation of every intern each semester. Grades are satisfactory (S), unsatisfactory (U) or incomplete (I).

What specific requirements must be completed prior to my starting the placement?

Students must successfully complete all Foundation semester courses with a B average, meet the School's standards for professional behavior before entry into field placement, and obtain liability insurance. Field placement agencies may require a criminal background check, drug test and proof of immunizations and Tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis B testing. You will learn about these requirements as part of the placement process.

Is there a list of agencies? May I see it?

The Office of Education maintains a database, which includes over 150 agencies in the Greater New Orleans area, as well as agencies in surrounding Parishes. Students are given access to the database during the Professional Foundations course as they seek to identify areas of practice interest and potential field placements. The database fluctuates regularly, we identify and partner with new agencies continuously and existing agencies may not be available for various reasons for a given semester. Some of the most important data (e.g. the type of intern accepted, the field instructor teaching style and temperament, the available educational experiences, and the typical daily activities) are not catalogued in this database. It is important for students to utilize the opportunities provided through the Professional Foundations course and meetings with their instructor and the Office of Field Education to identify their best options for their field placement.

I want to make sure I go to a certain agency for my internship. Should I contact them?

No. Direct agency requests for field instruction are only made through the Office of Field Education. Agency and field instructor circumstances vary widely and may change rapidly, so the Office of Field Education will approach agencies to determine appropriateness and ability to meet learning requirements. We appreciate being made aware of new opportunities and are willing to explore student requests. Please be prepared to share information about the agency with the Office of Field Education.

Will my field placement be close to where I live?

Every effort is made to place students in field placements geographically convenient to them. Although most field practice sites are in the metropolitan New Orleans area, sites are available throughout the surrounding parishes as well as in coastal Mississippi. For questions about these options, contact the TSSW Director of Field Education, Dr. Heather Gillis at 504-865-5313 or at hgillis@tulane.edu.

If I do not have a car, how will I get to my field placement site?

Every effort is made to place students in field placements geographically convenient to them. However, it is the student's responsibility to make arrangements to get to your field placement. Students will be placed in agencies they can access through public transportation.

Will my personal circumstances affect my placement in certain agencies?

Discussion of any personal circumstances which may impact the field placement is always a part of the pre-placement process for the protection of all involved. Should relevant personal information not be forthcoming, it can impede your successful progression through the program.

Where can I get a copy of the TSSW Field Education Manual?

The Field Education Manual is available online here.