Employment Based Field Placement

The Field Office encourages students to explore learning experiences outside of their current place of employment. However, in some circumstances, the request to utilize the work setting for field placement may be granted. It is recognized that due to the increasing cost of higher education and other obligations, many students must work during their schooling, and the utilization of the work setting may become an option if the criteria outlined are met. Employment-Based Placement is defined as when the student is (whether paid or not paid) completing his or her field placement at their current place of employment and must be reassigned to a new service delivery area or new learning activities that meet the required CSWE Field Competencies. 

It is recommended that a different MSW supervisor is assigned for the field placement portion of the work hours. If this option is not available, the supervisor and student will share a plan to demonstrate how this dual relationship will be managed throughout the internship period.

The Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) standards address the need to maintain the educational focus of the field experience and to differentiate between employee and internship activities. This option is considered on an individual basis by the Field Placement Coordinator to ensure that students receive a variety of field experiences and supervision in the field internship. 

The following criteria for utilizing the work setting as a field placement has been established by the LSU's School of Social Work Office of Field Education within the guidelines provided by CSWE:

1.     Student must have been employed by the agency for six months prior to starting the internship and not be in the probationary period.

2.     The agency must be large enough to provide a move to a different department, service area of the program, or provide new and different experiences to meet the outlined competencies that are different from their normal employee role. It is required for the role of learner be                  prioritized during the internship period.

3.     This department, section, or learning activities must be able to meet the educational needs of the student, fulfill the competencies for the internship, and allow the student to complete the required internship hours.

4.     This change to a different department, section, or learning activities within the agency must expose the student to a client population/service area and responsibilities that are a significant change from the student's current employment.

5.     The agency must provide an MSW Field Supervisor who has at least 2 years post-MSW experience for MSW students. For BSW students, a BSW with at least 2 years post-BSW experience is required to supervise. If the student is engaged in clinical services, the student must be supervised by an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or equally certified MSW per the specific state regulations. A copy of the social work Field Supervisor’s current credential must be provided to the Field Education Coordinator.

6.     The request must be approved by the agency administrator that the student will be released from regular work duties at least 16-18 hours per week if a single format or 40 hours a week if a block format to engage in the outlined internship activities to prioritize their role as learner. This reflects the understanding and commitment of the agency that the student's time will be prioritized as a learner and not on work performance or work demands of the agency.

7.     Agencies must meet all the criteria for an internship setting as set forth by Louisiana State University School of Social Work and provide the agency information to be vetted to become an approved site, if the agency is not already an approved agency.

8.     Students requesting to use their current work setting for a possible internship for their second placement must submit a new Employment-Based Placement request and include what experiences will be different from their work responsibilities as well as the first internship experience. The Field Education Coordinator will review to ensure the student is meeting the required MSW Competencies.

9.     Students who are in a position of authority or who have a family member or significant personal relationship in a position of authority (CEO, Executive Director, etc.) CANNOT intern in this agency setting.

10.  If a student resigns or is terminated from the agency during the approved placement period, the student will have to submit a new application and if a placement cannot be secured within two weeks, will have to be placed the next placement cycle. Students are strongly encouraged to pre-plan to ensure they are eligible to complete all hours at the assigned agency. The field office cannot guarantee that another site can be secured within the same module and this may impact graduation date.

11.  The student, agency, and supervisors are expected to adhere to the original agreement reached during the placement process. If the Field Office determines that the student is not adhering to the proposed plan or field competencies are not being met, the Field Office will review the placement and potentially terminate the Employment-Based Placement agreement. If the student is no longer employed by the agency during the tenure of the internship but chooses to continue the internship, the Employment-Based Placement approval will be evaluated for continued placement.

Processing the Request

Students interested in pursuing an Employment-Based Placement will mark this on their Field Application.  Once applications are processed, students are assigned a Field Education Coordinator to process their application and to complete the Employment Based Placement Information Form that will be provided on Tevera. The FEC will reach out to the student, agency representatives, and Field Supervisor listed for email confirmation.  The Agency and Supervisor must meet the criteria and requirements outlined in the field manual.  

Students acknowledge that any deviation from the proposed plan without approval from the School may result in termination from the field internship.  All participants must agree to support the student in the learner role during the outlined internship experiences.

If an Employment-Based Placement is interrupted due to the student’s termination from employment at that agency, the student may be required to wait until the following placement cycle to be replaced in a new agency. This may impact the student’s Program of Study including the possibility of delaying their graduation date.