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What is Field Placement?

At The Catholic University of America, our Field Education program provides students real-world application, where classroom preparation and in-field situations coincide. The Field Education program offers a safe, supervised environment for students to develop the skill necessary for a successful career in social work. Cohort members are granted the prospect to personally experience how they can make a difference in the lives of others by learning and working with an approved, socially-focused organization or agency.

Where will I do my field placement work?

The Catholic University of America’s field placement opportunities allow you to deepen your knowledge and skills in a variety of structured supervised settings. Your community assessment will aid you in learning the social work landscape within your community. For example, agencies may include (but not limited):

  • Public or Private Schools
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Healthcare Facilities

Completing Field Placements

If you’re a student in the full MSW program option, you’ll complete two field placements. If you are an Advanced Standing student, you will just complete the 600 hour advanced placement. Field Placements are completed concurrently with your coursework and each is described below:

*Foundation placement takes place during the fourth and fifth semesters of study. The placement is a total of 480 hours (16 hours per week) and usually completed during business hours.

*Advanced placement takes place during the ninth and tenth semesters of study, for students who are enrolled in the full MSW program. For students enrolled in the Advanced Standing option, the placement will take place over the course of the fourth and fifth semesters of study. This placement is a total of 600 hours (20 hours per week) and is usually completed during business hours.

What is the process for getting a field placement?

Each placement begins with obtaining information from the Office of Field Education regarding the application process. This is typically completed approximately six months before placement begins.

For placements, the Office considers prior experience, interests, and educational goals as indicated in your field application. Students research agencies of interest that are appropriate based on the required learning objectives, then submit preferences, and other supplemental documents to the Field Office. From there, the following steps happen:

  • Field office reviews and follow-up with you and agencies
  • Additional research is conducted if necessary
  • Agency affiliates and field office emails official referral
  • Student interviews, confirm and prepare to begin placement

3 Things to Know

  1. If you are already employed and want to perform your field placement with that agency, you must complete a proposal for approval, be employed at least one year with employer, the assigned field instructor must be someone other than your employment supervisor. The request must go through the same approval process as all other field placements.
  2. A limited number of flextime placements are available for students, as most social agencies, as well as social work professionals, tend to operate during typical business hours.
  3. Some of the requirements during your field placement may include furnishing proof of health insurance coverage and meeting any additional requirements (i.e. immunization verification, drug screening, background clearance, etc.) set forth by the agency.

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If you are eager to learn about the Field Placement process at The Catholic University of America, call 855-295-5711 or request more information regarding the online MSW program.