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School of Social Work modifies practicum requirements to reduce burden for working professionals

May 28, 2024

Fieldwork provides valuable hands-on learning experiences for future social workers, which is why all social work students are required to complete practicum hours to graduate.

Practicum requirements range from 400-600 hours, depending on the student’s level of study. Previously, students who wanted to complete their practicum with their employer had to take on duties that were considered “new learning” with a new supervisor.

Moving forward, employment hours may be counted if students work in social-service-related jobs while performing tasks that are directly linked to required competencies. For a student to complete their practicum at their existing place of employment, the agency must recognize the student is a student learner and see this as different from strictly employee status.

Tiffany Bowman, field education director with the School of Social Work, said the change was prompted by feedback from agencies as well as students. This shift aligns with 2022 Council on Social Work Education policy updates that make it easier for students to integrate their work experience to meet social work competencies.

“This change will create more accessible education for our students while maintaining our high standards of practicum education,” Bowman said. “Our students often gain incredible experiences within their full-time employment sites in ways that connect to the course competencies, and this policy shift enables those students to use their existing positions for practicum.”

For a complete list of student and employer practicum requirements, contact Bowman at

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Tiffany Bowman

Tiffany Bowman

Field Education Director and Assistant Teaching Professor