1. How is my Field placement determined? Do I get to choose?
The final decisions on where students are placed for their Field internship experiences rest with the Directors of Field Education. However, students' preferences are strongly considered, as well as the students' interests, strengths, educational needs, and feedback from other faculty and supervisors who are familiar with the students' work. For more information see the Field Application Process for the BSW or MSW program.
2. What if I want to complete my Field placement at an agency that has not been used before?
Students can note an agency on the Field application and/or to the Director of Field during a scheduled interview. The Director of Field will explore the agency possibility, and if the agency meets the learning needs of the internship experience and is both able and willing to provide social work supervision for a student, a Memorandum of Agreement will be sent electronically. Once the signed agreement is submitted, then the agency is approved and the student can be considered for placement there.
3. How many hours are required for the Field Placement?
The BSW and MSW Foundation internship requires two semesters of completing 240 hours at the Field placement, for a total of 480 hours. The MSW Advanced internship requires a total of 550 hours.
4. When can internship hours be completed?
Students in the BSW or MSW Foundation Field placements begin their internship hours during the first week of classes for the internship semester (first semester is fall, second semester is spring), and can complete their time at their Field placement no earlier than one week before classes end. Students in the MSW Advanced internship start hours in the first week of the fall and end in the spring as well. However, students in the spring semester will finish before the last week of the semester in order to complete the Capstone course. Most internship hours are completed during the normal work-day schedule, though there are some placements that will involve the student in evening or weekend activities or responsibilities. If you are concerned about how your own schedule will allow for field placement hours to be completed, you should make that known during the Field application process.
5. Will I be paid for the work I do at my Field placement?
The Field Education office is committed to securing compensated internships when possible, though the majority of internships are not compensated. However, the Field Education office is committed first to the educational integrity of the internship and does not guarantee any student the possibility of a compensated Field internship. Some internship stipends will be provided through the agency directly to the student while others are provided through the agency to Baylor and then to the student. Others may be provided through grants in the Garland School of Social Work. Students with special needs or interest in compensated internships should discuss these needs with the Director of Field Education. Like uncompensated internships, when more than one student is interested in a particular opportunity, the students will interview with the organization itself, and the organization/subsidizing entity will have significant input in making the final decision about the placement.
6. Can I still work at my current job while I complete my Field placement?
The Garland School of Social Work recommends not having a job while in your internship semesters, due to the amount of time and energy that the Field placement requires. However, we also understand the financial needs that can exist and recognize that there have been students who have been able to hold an outside job and successfully complete the Field placement/internship. All students should consider the number of hours and the need for schedule flexibility when trying to balance work, courses, and internship requirements.
7. What if I am employed by an agency that takes interns? Can I complete my placement there? Is it possible to have my internship in my place of employment?
In order to ensure an educationally directed Field experience, students complete Field instruction in an agency or organization in which they are not employed. In special circumstances, the Field Education office may consider an exception to the policy contingent upon the agency or organization meeting the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) standards. These standards specify that the agencies provide social work students with a qualitatively different experience from that provided by regular employment and the student must answer to a different supervisor than the work supervisor. The Field Education office requires that the agency must meet all requirements of any agency site for Field placements including affiliation with the GSSW and that the employment work hours and internship hours must be clearly articulated ensuring release time for course and Field instruction. Under no circumstances will a student do more than one Field placement at the place of employment. For more details on requirements and the process to request such an exception, see the Field Education Manuals or contact the Field Education office.
8. Will I need to have my own car?
All students will be expected to secure reliable transportation to and from their Field placements when completing hours for their internships. Some placements may prefer students to have a car to conduct particular duties of the internship, such as hospital visits or community outreach. If a student does not have a car available to him or her, this would be important to communicate during the Field application process so that transportation needs can be taken into consideration when assigning Field placements. *The Garland School of Social Work does not reimburse students for the use of their automobiles in conducting agency business, nor does it provide liability insurance coverage for agency-related travel.
9. What is the difference between a Field placement and an internship?
The terms Field placement and internship are used interchangeably. The Field placement or internship is the heart of social work education. It is the mode of study that emphasizes the practical application of professional knowledge and values to the real-life problems and concerns of individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations under the supervision and instruction of competent social work practitioners and educators.
10. When and how do I obtain a Field placement?
The process for being placed at an agency for an internship takes place the semester before the internship will begin. For more information see the Field Application Process for the BSW or MSW program.
11. Will I have to transport clients during my internship?
It is the strong recommendation of the Garland School of Social Work that interns not transport clients in their own vehicles. Baylor University does not provide any coverage for transportation of clients. Interns who transport clients do so under their own automobile insurance and at their own risk.
12. What is the difference between a Field Instructor, Task Supervisor, and Field Liaison?
The Field Instructor, Task Supervisor, and Field Liaison have distinct and complementary roles and responsibilities in Field Education. Each comes alongside the student, in their respective roles, to assist the student in realizing their educational goals.
- Field Instructor - A social worker who possesses the BSW (for BSW students only) or MSW degree from an accredited school of social work and has at least two years post-BSW or post-MSW experience. The Field Instructor is in good standing as a social worker in the state in which he/she practices. The Field Instructor supports the intern in developing the learning contract, instructs the intern in integrating theory, values and practice and, when possible, also, supervises the day-to-day activities of the intern.
- Task Supervisor - An employee of a Field agency who provides day-to-day supervision of a social work intern when the agency does not have a BSW or MSW staff to provide supervision of the social work intern.
- Field Liaison - Seminar faculty member in the Garland School of Social Work. The Liaison provides the primary linkage between the GSSW and the Field agency; contributes to the development of the student's learning contract; focuses on monitoring the student's education progress and performance; consistently maintains a working relationship between the student, school, and the Field agency; and is responsible for the final Field grade.
13. Will I have to purchase my own professional liability insurance?
The University provides limited professional liability insurance coverage for students involved in professional Field internships in the United States. This insurance includes coverage for professional activities required as part of the educational experience only. The Garland School of Social Work has been assured by duly appointed University administrators that this coverage is adequate and will cover both in compensated and uncompensated placements. However, the faculty strongly recommends each student also purchase his/her own professional liability insurance through NASW or a comparable professional group or private insurance firm. Students should also ask the agency about availability of professional liability or malpractice insurance coverage provided by the agency.
14. What happens if I am unable to complete my internship?
Completing the hours and tasks for the Field placement experience, in addition to passing the internship academic course, are required for successfully completing the internship. Two semesters each are required for completing the BSW internship, MSW Foundation internship, and MSW Concentration internship, and the internships are required for completing the degrees. These two semesters are expected to happen consecutively, with the first semester in the fall and the second semester in the spring.
15. Am I restricted to Waco or Texas for my Field placement?
Both levels of internships happen in surrounding areas of the campus itself (Waco or Houston). For the Waco campus, area placements shall be those within Waco, McLennan County, and within a 90-mile radius (driving distance for seminar) of Baylor University. For the Houston campus, area placements shall be those within the city of Houston as well as within a 75-mile radius of the GSSW's Houston campus. Most Houston campus students will be placed in sites within Houston and Harris county. Students will be expected to return to the campus each week to attend integrative Field seminars. See the catalog and the Field Education Manuals for further detail. If students are interested in placements that are not on the approved list of Field placements, the student should communicate this to the Field Education office right away and follow the protocols as directed by the Field Education Manuals and/or Director of Field Education. Students interested in out-of-state internships or those outside driving distance of the Waco or Houston campus should seek information about completing the MSW online.
16. Are there international internships?
Currently, international Field internships are not offered for students in the BSW or MSW program other than those for the Global Mission Leadership Scholars returning to their home regions. Smaller-scale global experiences may be possible depending on the agency setting. See the Field manuals and Field Education office for more information.
17. What is the process for approval of Field faculty?
Field Instructors and Task Supervisors must be approved to serve as Field faculty. For more information see the Field Faculty page.
18. What are the benefits for serving as Field faculty?
Field Instructors and Task Supervisors receive several benefits for serving as Field Faculty. For more information see the Field Faculty page.
19. How can I receive information as Field faculty?
Once a person is approved as Field Instructor or Task Supervisor, he or she is added to the Garland School of Social Works mailing list and will receive electronic newsletters and emails from the Field Education office.