An essential component of completing a Master’s degree in social work, field placements can help prepare you become a practicing professional social worker. Throughout your field placement experience, you serve alongside professional social workers; this constant supervision and learning allows you to graduate with tangible and marketable skills specific to your area of interest.
Field placement is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of studying social work, and serves as vital experience that also helps you determine whether you’re cut out for this challenging industry. From gaining hands-on knowledge beyond online coursework to building your list of professional contacts, you’ll enjoy a wide-range of benefits throughout your field experience.
Put Theory into Practice
Your graduate-level social work professors at Rutgers can teach you a great deal about the theory of social work and its application in the real world, but a true understanding of the field is best gained on the ground, surrounded by the everyday stresses and rewards of social work. Having both classroom and real world experience allows you to immediately apply the theoretical and practical expertise to the daily challenges you face as a social worker.
Explore a New Environment
The world of social work is extraordinarily varied, so gaining exposure to as many different social work settings as possible will assist you in choosing the path you enjoy most. Through field placements, you can discover which environment is the best fit for your interests and talents. If you don’t feel quite at ease in a mental health treatment center or a home health agency, don’t worry — you’ve just come one step closer to determining where your talents can be used best.
Network with Other Professionals
Because of the direct contact with working professionals, many field placements lead directly to jobs. They also allow you to establish valuable contacts in a wide variety of settings. During the field placement, social workers and other professionals see your work on a daily basis, and can offer advice and guidance as well as solid recommendations about your potential as a social worker.
Experience the True Impact of Social Workers First Hand
The MSW program at Rutgers will make you well aware of the many challenges today’s social workers face. However, it’s impossible to truly understand the issues until you tackle them on your own. During your field placement, you’ll discover just how much work is left to do — and you’ll realize that you are better equipped than most to make the world a better place due to your advanced social work education in and outside of the classroom. You will experience first hand the power of social work in improving the lives of others.
As an online student, you have the benefit of having a field placement opportunity in your own community, regardless of the school’s physical location. Your school’s formal affiliations with a variety of field agencies likely open the door to a number of opportunities across the country. At Rutgers, students are matched with a setting that meets both their practice interests and geographic location. In addition, you will not be tasked with finding your own partnerships; field education staff will coordinate your placement.
Once you’ve gained a basic understanding of social work through your online coursework and have been able to put your theoretical knowledge to work in the field, you’ll be ready to tackle a rewarding career in social work