Field Education Frequently Asked Questions

When does field placement begin and end?
Field placement begins approximately two weeks after the start of classes and ends the Friday of the last week of spring semester classes, usually the last week in April or first week in May.

Can I choose my field placement?
No, the Placement Committee will select your first-year field placement based on your departmental choice, prior experience, expectations, specific circumstances and geographic location while striving to provide an internship that will broaden your educational and life experiences.

Can I do my field placement where I work?
Only in special circumstances may you be assigned to the agency in which you already work. We cannot guarantee that your employment can serve as your placement. For further information please contact sswfield@usc.edu.

Will my field placement be close to where I live?
We make every attempt to locate an educationally appropriate placement as close to your residence as possible. At times, the best placement match is further from your home than you may prefer. We will confer with you before confirming such a placement. Students are responsible for transportation to and from the field placement site up to 30 miles in one direction.

Do I get paid?
Most of our field placement agencies do not provide a stipend or salary for students. While some offer stipends based on language ability or other special circumstances, a stipend is never guaranteed.

What days am I in the field placement?
Students are in placement a minimum of 16 hours per week, with at least one full work day on Wednesday during regular business hours. The additional day(s) will be coordinated with your Field Instructor. Field placements occur on weekdays during regular agency business hours.

Are there weekend and weeknight placements available?
Field placement agencies are not able to accommodate interns on weekends.

How many hours a week will I need to commit to my field placement?
You will need to complete a minimum of 16 hours per week for a total of 450 hours for the first-year placement and 20 hours per week for a total of 550 hours for the second-year placement.

How many hours a week will I need to commit to my field placement if I am pursuing the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC)?
You will need to complete 20 hours per week for a total of 600 hours. The breakdown of the 600 hours is as follows: 450 hours of school-based practice activities, the hours must be conducted in at least two of grade range populations and 150 hours of Child Welfare Attendance activities.

Will I receive a grade for the field placement?
Field Practicum is a three-unit (first year) course and a four-unit (second year) course for which you may receive a CR (credit) or an NC (no credit). An IP (in progress) may also be given if all of the field requirements have not been met, but only if due to extenuating circumstances and there is every indication that they will be met with an extension of time. You will receive an evaluation and a grade for each semester you are in field placement.

If I do not have a car, will I be assigned to a field placement site?
Yes. While we can accommodate you, the number of field placement options for non-driving students is limited.

Will I be placed with the target population of my choice?
In the first year, the Placement Committee assigns your placement based on your designated department. The purpose of the first-year placement is to expand your knowledge base and offer you an area of learning that may be different from your past experiences. However, in the second year, you will participate in selecting your own internship and have the opportunity to choose a placement in your department.

Can I do an administrative placement in the first year?
A strictly administrative placement is reserved for second-year students in the Department of Social Change and Innovation (SCI). As a first-year/first-semester COBI student, you will practice clinical work with individuals, families and groups. In the second semester of your first year, your internship experience will include a combination of both macro work and direct clinical practice. It is important for macro practitioners to have a strong base of clinical skills, and the first-year placement is intended to provide that experience.  

How will I be notified where I have been placed?
You will receive an email notification with the placement information and a request to contact your assigned agency for a pre-placement visit so you can begin satisfying the specific agency requirements. Some agencies may require an interview prior to placement confirmation. Please keep us informed of your current email and mailing addresses.

What specific requirements must be completed prior to my starting the placement?
Many field placement agencies require fingerprinting, criminal clearance and TB testing. Some agencies require proof of car insurance, a good driving record, a medical evaluation and/or drug testing. Cost of preplacement screening is student’s responsibility. You will be notified as to which of these your assigned field placement requires.