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Field Instructor FAQs

May students do a placement where they work?

Yes, if the agency meets the requirements of the Employed Social Worker Option.

May students find their own placements?

No. The Campus Field Team or Distance Option Site Coordinator will work with the agency contact persons and the students to identify a suitable field placement. Click here for more information about our placement process.

May I interview several students to see which one is the best fit?

No. A campus field team member or Distance Option Site Coordinator will select a student for you to interview whose interests and learning needs match your agency’s opportunities. After that interview, if both you and the student think the placement is a good fit, you should complete the Placement Acceptance Form (available on the Field Instructor Web Center). If either party has reservations, this should be discussed immediately with a campus field team member or Distance Option Site Coordinator.

How do I let students know they need a background check and/or a drug test?

The need for a criminal background check and/or drug test should be noted on the Placement Acceptance Form, which will alert the student and field office of this requirement. Detailed policies and procedures are in the Field Handbook on the Field Instructor Web Center.

May students be paid for their field placement?

Yes. If your agency wants to offer a stipend, please discuss this with a member of the Campus Field Team or Distance Option Site Coordinator. Also, refer to the question above about the Employed Social Work (ESW) option.

Are students covered by Professional Malpractice Insurance?

Yes. Portland State University provides general liability and professional malpractice insurance ($1 million per occurrence; $3 million aggregate) for students in field.

May I allow a student to work on weekends or in the evenings?

Yes, if social work services are normally offered during those times. Approved professional staff must be present and available to respond to student questions and needs, and to provide backup if necessary.

May a student stay in the same placement for 2 years?

No. Students are assigned to a different field placement and field instructor each year in order to offer new learning experiences. Exceptions will be considered on the basis of a sound educational plan for the student and must be approved by the Director of Field Education.

How many hours do students spend in a field placement?

MSW students spend 16 hours a week or a total of 500 hours per year in field. BSW students spend 15 hours a week at the field agency and 1 hour a week on campus in a field seminar for a total of 500 hours per year.

When do field placements start and end?

Placements begin the first week of PSU’s fall term and end the final week of spring term. Under special circumstances students may end early, but not any earlier than May 15th.  See the Field Calendar for more important dates.

May a student begin the placement early or attend an agency orientation or training prior to the beginning of the fall term?

Yes. The student must submit, and get approved, a written request to a campus field team member or Distance Option Site Coordinator detailing the date and reason for the early start, and the proposed activities and hours (no more than 40 hours total).

May workshops or trainings outside the field agency count as field hours?

Yes, if it is relevant to the student’s learning goals and approved by you. Generally, up to 40 hours per year is the maximum number of training hours approved. Consult with your faculty liaison or Distance Option Site Coordinator for clarification.

What if a student misses a day or the agency is closed on a student's field day?

If a student misses a day of field, they must schedule makeup hours to meet the required 167 hours per term.

What if I miss supervision one week?

Please make sure the student has supervisory support while you are gone. If you expect to miss more than one week, discuss a plan for supervision with the student and faculty liaison or Distance Site Coordinator.

Who can provide group supervision? May interns from non-social work programs be in the group?

The person offering the supervision must be a field instructor approved by the Campus Field Team or Distance Site Coordinator. Non-social work interns may be included in group supervision.