Field Education

Field education provides the student with the opportunity to reinforce identification with purposes, values, and ethics of the profession, integrate empirical and practice-based knowledge, and promote development of professional competence. In short, Field education allows students the opportunity to link classroom knowledge with direct delivery of services.

Eligibility for Field Practicum

The criteria for remaining in the program and entering field practicum include:

1. Maintain an overall minimum GPA of 2.0, with a minimum GPA of 2.75 or better in required social work courses.

2. Adhere to all academic expectations of the University and the Social Work Program.

3. Adhere to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

Field Practicum Manual

Criteria for Admission into Field Practicum

The field practicum allows the student opportunities to link and apply theories learned in the classroom in a structured and educationally directed environment. The student must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 in required social work courses. The integrated liberal arts perspective and social work curriculum, with exception of SW 4916 Field Practicum I and SW 4926 Field Practicum/Seminar II which comprise the 12-hour block practicum, must be completed before students apply for admission into field practicum.

Students enrolled in SW 3533 Social Work with Communities and Organizations must complete a membership application to the National Association of Social Workers. The semester prior to practicum, students complete three field placement orientation classes. The purpose of these classes is to discuss field education and the field practicum process, to distribute the Mississippi State University Social Work Student Field Practicum Manual, and to review field practicum information, forms, and the field syllabus. Prior to agency interviews students must complete Form D, Authorization for Background Check/Child Abuse/Neglect Central Registry Check. Form E, Authorization to Release Non-Public Information is completed and retained in the student’s record. Students are required to complete Form A, Application for Field Practicum and Resume’, and three preplacement interviews with approved field agencies (Form B and Form C) which ranks the students’ agency choice(s). In the preplacement interviews, the student and agency field instructor are encouraged to explore the placement fully before ranking the choice of agency placement.

Students are required to complete Forms A, B, C, D, and E and turn them into the Director of Field Education. Information shared by the students pertaining to their learning needs, interests, wants, and personal considerations concerning the field practicum are discussed with the Director of Field Education in an established office interview. The decision concerning choice of agency placement is based on the shared student information and agency field instructor interviews. The Director of Field Education has the final approval of the field placement agency.

Social work majors are required to complete a minimum of 450 hours/twelve (12) hour block practicum Monday through Thursday 8 am – 5 pm in an agency setting. No EXCEPTIONS are made based on prior work experience. Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience shall not be given, in whole or in part, in place of the field practicum or of the courses in the professional foundation areas. A student employed in a social service agency is strongly encouraged to complete the required 450-hour Monday thru Thursday 8 am – 5pm field practicum in another approved agency. The field practicum agency must be approved by the university and program. In the rare case that a student must remain employed in the agency at which the student is currently employed, there must be clearly written objectives, the required field practicum hours (450) Monday through Thursday 8 am –

5pm must be completed in a unit other than their work unit, and a social worker other than the current instructor must provide supervision. Both the Director of Field Education and Program Director must approve such field practicum arrangements.

Students are required to attend and actively participate in the field seminar that meets every other week. Students are required to complete registration and payment of tuition prior to entering the practicum agency and to provide evidence of malpractice insurance.

At the close of the fall semester students are required to obtain malpractice liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000.00 or more prior to their first day of placement. Applications for malpractice liability insurance may be made through the National Association of Social Workers.

Social Work Licensure

Social work students are eligible to take the licensing examination during their last semester of course work, if they are classified as Senior in a CSWE accredited BSW program and their course load does not exceed fifteen (15) semester hours. Students must complete the Student Application to take the ASWB Social Work Exam as instructed, mailing the application, and the initial licensure fee to the Mississippi State Board of Examiners, P. O. Box 4508, Jackson, MS 39236-4508.

Upon receipt of the fee and completed application, the Board will approve the student to set for the exam, mail the student an approval letter, and the ASWB Candidate Handbook. The Candidate Handbook provides instructions on the ASWB exam process. The exam fee must be paid to ASWB. The exam fee is a separate cost from the initial licensure fee. The student should contact ASWB fourteen (14) days after issuing their payment for the exam, to schedule a day to take the exam. The exam is given daily at approved sites (Contact ASWB for list of approved exam sites).

Upon graduation, the Board requires the student to complete an Initial Licensure Application and Verification of Education for Licensure in Social Work mailing it to the Board. After receipt of the completed initial application, verification of education, and passing exam score the student's application packet shall be presented to the Board at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting, held on the second Friday of each month. Social Work Candidates for Licensure receive written Board approval of their application and license number.

A complete guide of licensing policies and procedures is available through Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists: P. O. Box 4508 Jackson, MS 39236-4508 Telephone: (601) 987- 6806 

The Social Work Program offers a preparatory licensure exam workshop for social work students and graduates prior to the licensure examination.