Placement start dates depend on full or part time status in the program, whether you are an advanced or foundation year student, and on the Field option that you choose. Please refer to the Field Fact sheet for more information on Field options. Foundation students go through a field orientation during the first week of the semester in which they will start field placement. After completing the field orientation, students are permitted to start field.
Students have various options for obtaining a field placement. Students may explore agencies on their own, following the protocol outlined in the Field Education Manual. However, OFE staff work with all students toward a suitable placement site.
Students are permitted to do employment based field under certain circumstances. The agency must be an approved placement, the student may not be on employment probation, and there must be an approved employment based field proposal in place. The field experience must be different than the student’s paid employment responsibilities.
Every effort is made to place students in agencies that do not require extensive travel. There are many placement options that do not require use of a vehicle
While there are agencies that do provide stipends for student internships, these opportunities are minimal and access to them is very competitive. Students should not expect to be paid for their field placements.
The onsite field placement schedule varies by agency, field instructor and student. There is no mandatory schedule, but a suitable schedule that allows students to complete required hours and achieve learning objectives should be established prior to the start of the placement.
Placements with non-traditional hours have limited availability. While most students in the School of Social Work at Temple Harrisburg and Commonwealth Cohorts are employed full or part time and day time placements are often difficult to fulfill, the limited availability of non-traditional placements does create some difficulty for students with rigid work schedules. The staff of the Office of Field Education will work with students who have these needs, but students in such situations must actively participate in the placement process in pursuit of a placement that meets the student’s schedule as well as the learning objectives. These placements require extensive planning.
The hours in placement vary depending on year of placement and the schedule of the student. Foundation year students must complete a minimum of 450 hours (225 per semester) in the field, and Advanced year students must complete a minimum of 600 hour (300 per semester) in the field. The weekly amount of hours also varies depending on how many weeks the student is in placement each semester. In traditional fall/spring or spring/summer options, Foundation students’ weekly hours range from 12.5 -16.5 and Advanced students’ weekly hours range from 17 - 21.5. If a student chooses summer Block placement, weekly hours range from 29 -40.
Most students do the fall/spring field placement option. However, students may choose and plan for a spring/summer option, or a summer Block placement. Students must apply for these options early in the planning process, and must work with OFE to secure a suitable placement. Students who pursue the Summer Block option must successfully complete both semesters of the appropriate level of practice courses. The summer block placement is an intensive placement, completing two semesters of field in 16 weeks or less, and requires careful planning between the student, OFE, and the agency. Not all requests for Block placement will be honored.
Students who wish to travel for field placement should explore the Summer Block option. Since practice courses are either pre or co requisite to field placement, students must successfully complete these courses first. Careful planning with OFE, as well as other departments within the University (if a students travels abroad) must occur for this type of placement.
Field Placement is a course! Students complete 4 semesters of field placement at 3 credits each, for a total of 12 credits (20% of the MSW program). Students complete several written assignments throughout the field experience and receive written and verbal feedback from their field instructors. Students also go through an evaluation process at the end of each semester of field, and a grading rubric is used to assess the students’ success in the course. A grade of “Pass” or “Fail” is assigned based on the rubric score.
Students typically stay in the same placement for both semesters of Foundation year and then switch to another placement for both semester of Advanced year. However, there are circumstances (planned and unplanned) under which students may change placements between semesters. Students may also be permitted to stay in the same agency for all four semesters, but careful planning must be involved to insure that students are able to gain new learning experiences appropriate to their advanced concentration.
All students, regardless of field level or practice area, are asked to obtain Child Abuse History Clearance, PA State Police Criminal History and the FBI Criminal History Report (cogent fingerprinting). Information for all three can be found on the internet, and all have a small cost involved that the student must incur. Some agencies might also require medical clearances, TB testing, immunizations, drug testing, proof of insurance, and other documentation relevant to the specific placement.
All students in Temple’s MSW program are covered by a comprehensive liability insurance policy during field placement. Students are also required to pay an annual fee to cover mandatory Student Accident Insurance. The School of Social Work and OFE strongly recommends that students have health insurance. Any agency requirements for students to drive or transport clients during the field placement must be addressed with the agency and the student. Temple does not provide auto insurance for its students. More information can be found in the Field Education Manual.
The most important part of the placement process is that students communicate with the Office of Field Education about any such issues. OFE will work with students to make appropriate placements that are respectful of student confidentiality as well as agency requirements. Students who choose not to be forthcoming with such information may experience further challenges with progressing through the program.
Information sessions and Field Orientations will be provided to all students prior to entering Field Placement. Tutorials, articles and other information will always be available to students on BlackBoard or other courseware platform.
Contact the Office of Field Education at Temple University Harrisburg, 717-232-6400, or TUHField@temple.edu.