MSW Field Education Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I learn about Prospective Agencies?

A.  There are Manuals in the SOWK office that describe agencies and learning opportunities for students.  In addition, please contact the Director of Field Education to discuss your areas of interest and agencies you may have an interest in a placement. The Field Agency Manual is also posted on the Moodle Page for matriculated MSW students.

Q. Where are most Field Placement Agencies located?

A. The UNCC Social Work Field Education Office seeks placements within a sixty (60) mile radius of the campus.  Any agency placement further than that must be approved by the Field Education Committee in advance..  Most agencies are located in Mecklenburg County, but there are opportunities offered in Cabarrus, Rowan, Gaston, Union, and Lincoln, Davidson, Stanly and Catawba counties.  If an agency has the capacity to do virtual visits, then placements at sites that are further than sixty (60) miles may be considered.

Q. How am I placed in an Agency?

A.  Students submit an MSW Field Application, Resume and may have to complete additional forms for a specific agency.  The Director of Field Education sends the application electronically to the agency contact and then the student is notified electronically that they will need to schedule an interview.  Based on the interview, the Agency may decide to offer you a placement or not accept you.  It is strongly encouraged that you also do research on the agency before you interview.

Q. Do I have to interview for a field placement?

A.  Yes.  Students should submit their MSW placement application and Resume as early as possible and contact the Director of Field Education to discuss agencies where the student may potentially be considered for placement.

  1. I’ve been accepted by my agency!!!!  Is there special documentation that must be submitted prior to my Field Placement starting?
  1. Once Accepted in a Field Placement by the Agency, students must do the following:
    1. Complete a Field Placement Agreement, obtain the signature of their field instructor, and return it to the Field Education Office to be placed in your file.
    2. Review the College of Health and Human Services Drug Screen and Criminal Background Check Policy, sign it and return to the field education office to be placed in your file.
    3. Complete the on line Blood Bourne Pathogens Tutorial/Test and submit proof to the Director of Field Education that you have passed.  This is required on an annual basis.
    4. Submit a copy of your current immunization records  and the CHHS Clinical Agency Requirements form to Sandra Mann in the College of Health and Human Services  (Room 103)with all immunizations up to date (
    5. Submit any additional testing that may be required by your agency.  Some Agencies that do require that the Student pay for the cost of tests are Carolinas Healthcare, Novant (Presbyterian Hospital), CaraMont (Gaston Hospital), and Mecklenburg County Health Department.  Please check with the Field Education Department about your specific agency.

Q.When does my field placement begin?

A.  Advanced Standing Students will begin their field placement on Tuesday during the first week of class.  The first day of class for Advanced Standing students is usually reserved for a MSW Program-Field Education Orientation at UNC Charlotte.     

The Social Work Department schedules MSW Program-Field Education Orientation the Friday before classes begin for first year MSW students and all graduate students will begin their placement on the first day of class if all compliance documents are submitted.

Q. How many days/hours are required for MSW field placements?

A.   First year full time MSW students are placed in their field agency for two (2) days a week for sixteen (16) hours during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year.  Placement days are Monday and Tuesday.

Second year full time MSW students are placed in their field agency for three (3) days a week for twenty-four (24) hours during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year.  Placement days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Q. How many days/days are required for Advanced standing MSW field placements?

A.   Advanced Standing MSW students are placed in their field agency for two (2) days a week for sixteen (16) hours during the during the summer sessions.  The placement begins immediately after being accepted and starting the program.  Placement days are Monday and Tuesday.

During the fall and spring semesters, the advanced standing MSW students are placed in their field agency for three (3) days a week for twenty-four (24) hours.  Placement days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  1. Can students complete their field hours at different times?
  1. Students generally complete field requirements on the days noted, but if the agency can provide the learning opportunities at different times and there is clinical supervision available during the non traditional hours, the change may be discussed with the field office.  Students may not do partial days in field education placements.
  2. Do I get any time off from field during the school year?
  3. Students do not have to be in field education during school holidays, days the university is closed for “inclement weather” or school breaks with the following exceptions
    • School placements will not be in field education during the spring break of the school district, but must be there during UNCC spring break
    • Advanced standing students are in field during the break between summer sessions

Q.  Can I do an Employment Paid Field Placement?

A.  UNC Charlotte Department of Social Work has an Employment Field Placement Policy and Procedure which may be accessed on the website.  Placements must be approved by the Field Education Committee and must be in a different area at the agency than where you currently work, thus meeting your learning needs.  In addition, a student must have been employed at the agency for a minimum of one (1) year to be eligible for an employment based field placement.

Q.  Are there any paid internships?

A.  The VA offers stipends and this is a very competitive process.  Due dates for the following academic year are generally in October students should attend an information session on this placement option.    New Alternative Home Care has also offered stipends in past academic years.

Q.  Do I need to purchase Liability Insurance?

A.  UNC Charlotte has secured insurance and this is covered by your fees.  It is important to note that the insurance only covers you in your SOWK Practicum coursework.  If you decide to take an elective in the Counseling Department, students must secure  their own malpractice insurance. 

Q. What is the UNC Charlotte Child Welfare Collaborative Program?

A.  BSW or MSW students who are currently matriculated in the UNC Social Work Programs are eligible to participate in the Child Welfare Collaborative.   Students must interview and be accepted at a DSS placement.   Funding for the Collaborative has been approved on a yearly basis and is under review each academic year by State DSS.  During 2014-2015AY  MSW students who were selected as scholars receive a $4000 stipend each semester of their placement.  This does require that you do the following: 

  • Take the UNC Charlotte approved Child Welfare Class and receive a (B) or higher for the coursework; and
  • Complete a one year placement in DSS-Youth and Family Services. 
  • Seek employment at a DSS-YFS anywhere in the State of North Carolina on graduation and work a year for every year funded or the scholarship will revert to a loan which must be paid back with interest.

Please contact Ms. Marchetti or Dr. Ezell  if you would like to discuss the requirements for the CWC which may have changes in the 2015-2016  academic year and to verify if it has been funded by the Legislature.

Q. What is the difference between a waiver student and Child Welfare Scholar in the UNC Charlotte Child Welfare Collaborative Program?

A.  Both waiver students and scholar students must take the Child Welfare Class and have a one year field placement in DSS-YFS.  However, if funding is received from DSS for scholars, there is a competitive process for a student to be selected for a scholar slot.  This is generally completed during the spring semester or summer for the following academic year.  Students who are funded as a scholar must seek employment at graduation with any DSS-YFS in the State of North Carolina or else they are responsible to pay back any funds received with interest.  Please contact the Director of Field Education for further information.

Q.  I am interested in DSS- Youth and Family Services for a placement site?

A.  DSS has very specific requirements for placements which include taking the UNC Charlotte Child Welfare Class and receiving at least a (B) in the course prior to the placement.  Please contact the Field Office for further information.

Q. What are the requirements for an Agency to be a field site?

A.  Most importantly, the agency must be willing to provide positive learning opportunities for social work students.  They must also have an MSW who is a graduate of a CSWE accredited institution and has had two (2) years practice experience.  Each agency has a site visit from the field education office, must sign and affiliation agreement with UNCC and any new field instructor attend new field instructor orientation

It is strongly recommended to make this a priority when you are accepted for admission since we compete for placements with other universities and the earlier in the process you submit, the more choices the student may have for placements.