FAQs for BSW Field Placements

Field Placement agencies determine how many students can be accommodated in a given year.  Please keep in mind that many agencies can only accommodate one student per year.  In addition, each agency also determines whether or not it will accept BSW students, MSW students or both.  For a variety of reasons, too, an agency that has an affiliation agreement with the university may decide not that they cannot accept any students in a given year.  An interview with an agency is not a guarantee of placement.  The agency decides whether or not to accept the student, so prepare for your field placement interview.

Due to the factors above, students may not end up being placed in the agency or service area they hoped for.  The student being open to a variety of placement options is helpful in the field placement process.

The field placement agency determines whether or not BSW students can be accommodated, not the field education office.  Therefore, it is unlikely that this will change.

One factor that is often considered by both the field education office and the agency is whether the student would gain knowledge, values, and skills appropriate for generalist practice areas.  For example, we would not place a BSW in a clinical setting that requires advanced practice skills.

There are many agencies that require advanced practice skills more appropriate to an MSW.  These agencies have specifically indicated that they will only accept MSW students.

The field education office encourages student involvement in the field planning process.  We consider such aspects as your practice area of interest, desired distance to your field placement, etc.  We make efforts to ensure your satisfaction with your field placement.  Many of our placements, though, are in surrounding counties, including Union, Iredell, Cabarrus, Gaston, Cleveland and more.  Students are not guaranteed a field placement close to their home or to the university.

If there is an agency that is not listed, please ask about it.  We can inquire as to whether or not the agency has a social worker who could provide supervision and whether or not the agency would like to partner with the College of Health and Human Services at UNC Charlotte by developing an Affiliation Agreement.  This process takes time, though, so please inquire about this early on in the field planning process.

The university does not reimburse for mileage.  Some agencies reimburse student’s for mileage accrued during placement hours, such as when completing home visits.  Others do not reimburse.  Many agencies are community based, meaning that the services are primarily delivered in the community.  Please ask at your agency interview what the expectations are with respect to driving your vehicle.  Please note that students are not permitted to drive clients.

The university does not reimburse for parking at an agency.  Please ask this question at your interview, so that you understand the expectations with respect to parking fees.

Though students are not permitted to drive clients during their field placement, some agencies permit students to use agency vehicles for home visits or community appointments.  In such cases, your driving record may be a factor as to whether or not you would be granted permission to drive an agency vehicle.  Please ask about this at your interview.

There are a number of questions that you are encouraged to ask at your field placement interview.  They include:

  • What would a typical day be like at this field placement?
  • How much client contact will I have?
  • Are most of the services provided at the agency or in the community?
  • Would I be expected to drive my own vehicle during this placement?  If so, would I be reimbursed for mileage?  Are there any fees to park at the agency?
  • Do I need to participate in any activities before my field placement begins, such attending a summer orientation or meeting with Human Resources?
  • Is the majority of work accomplished with clients during traditional business hours?

You will attend your Field Placement on Thursdays and Fridays during the fall semester and Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during the spring semester.  Your senior-level social work classes will intentionally be scheduled on non-field days.  It is important for you to work with your advisor to make sure that you have a plan to complete your earlier required courses (i.e. – Foreign Language and Quantitative Analysis), prior to your senior year, so that your coursework does not conflict with field days.