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Social Work

What is field placement?

Field placement is the required experiential learning component of Cleveland State University’s online MSW program. Whether you follow the Traditional or Advanced Standing track, you will apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world situations to prepare you for your future in social work.

How does the field placement process work?

Your dedicated CSU field placement team collaborates with you to secure quality experiential learning sites that reflect your educational goals and desired practice specialty. They ensure all experiences meet CSWE accreditation standards and that the agencies and field instructors are approved before you start your fieldwork.

How do field placement services help me?

Concurrent coursework and field experiences connect theory with practice. Field placement provides 900 hours of real-world, hands-on social work experience. Your field placement team helps coordinate required paperwork and can assist with identifying placement sites that meet program requirements as needed so you can focus on your coursework and build your skills.

Do I have to pay extra for Field Placement Services?

No. Support to find field placement sites in your community that align with your career goals is integrated into the program cost.

How should I prepare for my field placement?

Your Student Online Experience Coach and faculty guide you through the entire process. They give you a realistic idea of the field experience to ensure you are ready to work independently in a fast-paced environment.

Can I arrange my own field experiences?

Students are strongly encouraged to conduct outreach to secure a placement site and are responsible for key parts of the placement process. However, the University is required to review and approve the agency before the start of any fieldwork.

What am I responsible for to ensure a timely field experience?

Completing the field placement intake form initiates the field placement search process. Upon completion of the form, you will be required to complete all field clearance requirements (by the University and agency) prior to the start of your first field experience. Most agencies have additional requirements for the University and/or interviews that students must complete prior to starting field hours. As active participants in the placement process and to help focus the placement team’s search, students are encouraged to provide any local sites where they would prefer to complete their field hours.

In what types of agencies do students complete their fieldwork?

Typically, students complete their field hours at: 

  • Community centers/organizations 
  • Human service agencies 
  • Counseling and therapy centers 
  • Addiction and mental health treatment facilities 
  • Adoption agencies 
  • Senior care facilities, such as nursing homes 
  • Correctional facilities 
  • Hospitals/clinics
When will I be informed of field placement details?

You will receive a notification from your dedicated field placement team before each field experience start date.

Do I get paid or reimbursed for my travel expenses during my fieldwork experience?

No. Due to the educational nature of the fieldwork, sites do not pay students. You are responsible for your transportation and travel expenses.

Can I complete my fieldwork at my current place of employment?

If you currently work in a social service setting and have a licensed social worker who supervises you, then yes. As of 2022, the Council on Social Work Accreditation now supports the use of employment hours as fieldwork hours, though there are field placement learning contracts and related follow-up required to make sure that CSWE education competencies are incorporated and part of the employment.