What is a “Field Experience?”
Sometimes called field placement or field practicum, this is the agency at which a student completes the required hours of social work practice.
What type of placement agencies exist?
We have placements at agencies that focus on administration, policy or program development; American Indian family services; corrections and probation; crisis intervention/domestic violence; family and children; international, immigrants, or refugee services; public and independent schools; substance abuse/addictions; aging/gerontology; child welfare; communities and social systems; disabilities, health, and mental health; research; and youth services.
Will I need a car?
No. Many of our agencies are located within the metro area and are accessible by public transportation. Agencies that do require a vehicle will specify this in their agency descriptions. Non-metro MSW students are more likely to need vehicles.
How do I find a placement?
BSW Students: Juniors year placements are sought by attending a field fair at the end of the sophomore year. Here students will meet with agency representatives and find field placements that are mutually agreeable. Senior year placements are sought out at the end of junior year. Students will receive a list of all the possible agency placements and it is the responsibility of the students to contact agencies, set up interviews, and find placements that suite them by the end of June. Field staff are to be notified when placements are found.
MSW Students: MSW students seek out their placements in the spring, prior to beginning their practicum hours in the fall. Students attend a MSW field fair in April where they meet with agency representatives and set up interviews. (Not all agencies are represented at this fair, so students will be given additional information, via email, on contacting other available agencies.) Once students interview with agencies, they fill out a “choice form” listing which agencies they would and would not like to work, and return it to field faculty. Agencies also fill out choice forms, listing which students would and would not like to work with. Field coordinators (from several twin cities institutions, as this is a collaborative effort) come together to match students with agencies. Students are notified of their placements in the middle of May.
Will I get my first choice?
Field coordinators do their best to place MSW students with one of their most preferential agency choices. Because students’ choices, as well as agencies’ choices, don’t always match up, there is no guarantee that you will get your first pick. You will not be placed at an agency that you do not want to work with though. The more agencies you interview with and the better prepared you are for your interview, the more likely you will receive one of your highest choices.
Are students ever not placed?
If MSW students do not get a placement during the first round of interviews, you will be notified when agencies open up for second round interviews and you will be given a list of accepting agencies. It is then your responsibility to find an agency and let your field coordinator know about the placement.
Can I seek a field placement with my employer?
We generally encourage students to look outside their places of employment to seek field agencies, but occasionally exceptions can be made. For guidelines on doing your practicum at your place of employment, the Field Manual pdf (BSW Manual: Appendix D; MSW Manual: Employer as Field Placement Site, pg. 15), located on the Forms/Documents page.
How many hours of field work must be completed?
BSW students must complete at least 480 hours of field work in order to graduate. 240 hours are completed junior year (120 hours first semester, 120 hours second semester) and 240 hours are completed senior year.
MSW students must complete at least 920 hours in two field placements. Foundation students must complete 420 hours, while concentration year students must complete 500 hours. Advanced standing students will only be required to complete the 500 hours in concentration year.
Are there any paid field placements?
There are a few agencies that offer stipends to students and these tend to be more competitive placements.
Will a background check be required?
Some agencies require background checks and others do not. Check with the agencies you are interested in to find out and also see who must pay for the background check. Agencies are at liberty to refuse students who have criminal records.
Are the field placements accessible for people with disabilities?
Some field placements are accessible while others are not. Check with the agencies to find out.
Can I have a field placement at an agency that is not on Augsburg’s list?
We encourage students to use our list of approved agencies, but in the case that a student wishes to work with an unlisted agency, he or she must contact the field coordinator, prior to making any arrangements with the agencies, to see if it is an acceptable placement.
Can I do my field placement over the summer?
No, Augsburg does not offer block placements
More questions? Please see your field manual or contact our field staff.