Unlike many other academic programs that students may successfully complete by performing well in the classroom and in the laboratory, social work education requires application of knowledge and skills in the field. Field Education is the portion of the social work curriculum that most directly prepares students for professional practice. MSW students take 18 credit hours of Field Practicum Classes and apply their knowledge and skills in the field for 960 hours during their education.
Many organizations in Kern County and surrounding areas serve as field placement agencies. After consultation with each student, the Director of Field Education refers the student to a placement agency that offers learning opportunities in accord with the student's needs. After an interview process, the student, agency, and Director of Field Education agree on a placement, and the student begins field work in accord with the academic calendar. To assure a diverse educational experience, each student is assigned to a different field placement agency each year of field education.