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Field Education Program Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many hours are required to complete the field practicum?
TSSW’s Field Education Program provides one field placement experience of over 900 hours over the course of three semesters for on-campus or online full-time students and six semesters for online part-time students.
2. When does field education begin and end?
When field education begins and ends depends upon the student’s enrollment type:
- For on-campus and online full-time students, preparation for the field practicum begins in the first semester, and the placement starts in the second semester and lasts for three consecutive semesters.
- Advanced standing students begin field placement immediately upon their enrollment at TSSW.
- Online part-time students begin preparation for the field practicum in their first and second semesters, and the field placement begins in their third semester and continues for six consecutive semesters.
All students complete a minimum of 900 hours in their field practicum.
3. How many hours a week will each student need to commit to the field placement?
On-campus and online full-time students must complete 24 hours per week for three 15-week semesters. Online part-time students must complete 12 hours per week for six semesters. All students complete a minimum of 900 hours in the field.
4. What days will students be at their field placements?
On-campus and online full-time students are at their field placements on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 24 hours per week and have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Online part-time students’ field placement schedules vary depending upon their employment schedules.
5. What specific requirements must be completed prior to starting the placement?
The student must successfully complete all Foundation semester courses with an average GPA of 3.0 or higher, meet and maintain the School's standards for professional behavior, and obtain liability insurance. Field placement agencies may require a criminal background check, drug test, proof of immunizations, and Tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis B testing. The student will learn about these requirements as part of the placement process.
6. Do students get paid during their field practicums?
No. However, some field placement agencies may offer a stipend to their student interns. TSSW has no influence on whether the student’s agency will offer a stipend.
7. How are students placed at agencies and can students choose their field placement?
The Field Education Department will work with each student to select their field placement based on their goals, expectations, interests, prior experience, and geographic location. We strive to provide a placement experience that will broaden the student’s educational experience, and our primary role during the placement process is to support students, agencies, and field instructors in finding the best, mutually beneficial fit.
Our Field Education Department will orient on-campus students to the field placement process through a series of foundation modules. Some modules must be completed prior to attending the Field Placement Fair. For online students, a placement coordinator will contact them and assist them with their entire placement process.
8. Does a list of agencies exist? May students see it?
Online students work directly with the placement coordinator and identify agencies of interest.
On-campus students access a database which includes over 150 agencies in the parishes surrounding New Orleans. We provide this database to students during the matching process as they seek to identify areas of practice interest and potential field placements. We are continually updating our database as we identify and partner with new agencies and existing agencies may not be available for various reasons for a given semester. Some of the most important information (e.g. the field instructor teaching style, the available educational experiences, and the typical daily activities), may not be catalogued in this database, so additional opportunities can be provided. Students may reach out to the Field Education Department to receive assistance with identifying some options for their field placement using the TSSW_field@tulane.edu email address.
9. If a student wants to make sure they go to a certain agency for their internship, should they contact the agency?
Please do not directly contact any agencies. Requests for field practicums are only made through the Field Education Department. An agreement with an agency requires a legal agreement, and there are specific requirements for an agency to host a student; therefore, the Field Education Department will approach agencies to determine their appropriateness and ability to meet the learning requirements of a practicum experience. The Field Department is more than willing to explore students’ requests.
10. Are all field placements completed in New Orleans?
On-campus students will attend their field placement in New Orleans, the surrounding parishes, and counties in coastal Mississippi. Online students will complete their field placement in their own communities, wherever they are. The Field Education Department makes every effort to place students in field placements geographically convenient to them.
11. If a student does not have a car, how will they get to their field placement site?
The Field Education Department makes every effort to place students in field placements geographically convenient to them. The student, however, is responsible to make arrangements to get to their field placement. For those students who do not have a car, we will try to offer agencies that can be accessed through public transportation.
12. Will personal circumstances affect a student’s placement in certain agencies?
For the protection of all involved, discussion of any personal circumstances (i.e., past legal involvement) which may impact the field placement is always a part of the pre-placement process. Not disclosing any relevant personal information could impede successful progression through the program.
13. Can students do their field placements where they work?
Students employed with human service agencies could complete all or part of their internship requirements at their places 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 as well as a different person as a field instructor than the employee supervisor to assure the integrity of the educational purpose of the placement. A plan for mitigation of any potential challenges is also required.
To discuss a potential exception, please contact the Field Education Department.
14. Can students go to their field practicum on weekends?
Yes. If a student's supervisor is present at their field site and/or available the entire time, and they have notified their Field Liaison of this arrangement.
15. Can students complete hours during the winter break?
This is discouraged. However, if students are in a placement like a school and their “winter break” conflicts with the school’s, they should discuss and create a plan with their Field Liaison. This plan may include completing some hours of field practicum during the break.
16. Can students complete hours when the University is closed?
Again, this is discouraged. When the University is closed, students are NOT expected to attend classes, including field practicum and seminar (a class).
17. Can students count the onboarding and orientation on their timesheet?
18. Can students count the onboarding if completed virtually?
19. Will students receive grades for their field placements?
Yes. Whereas the Field Education courses are Pass/Satisfactory, Incomplete, or Fail/Unsatisfactory,, completion of assignments and attendance of 80% or more is required. As well, agency-based field instructors complete a detailed written evaluation of every intern each semester. Grades are satisfactory (S), unsatisfactory (U) or incomplete (I).
20. Where can students get a copy of the TSSW Field Education Manual?
The Field Education Manual is available online here.