CSWE Extends Field Hour Reduction to May 2022

Published on : October 22, 2020

Communications: Patrick Dunne, [email protected]
Accreditation: Mary Kurfess, [email protected]

October 20, 2020, Alexandria, Va. – Given the pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and its Commission on Accreditation (COA) announced new updates to field hours that social work programs can choose to implement.

“These updates are meant to safeguard students, faculty, clients, and communities and reflect the ways students can safely provide services and earn valuable experience in the field,” said CSWE President & CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW. “I am grateful to the COA, the CSWE Department of Social Work Accreditation, and its leaders, in its responsiveness to these unprecedented circumstances."

COA Chair Deana Morrow, PhD, LICSW, ACSW, noted that COA worked quickly to offer programs options for social work programs to provide field experience to students in a safe and responsible manner. “However, the impacts of this virus on social work education require us to plan another year in advance and the COA is announcing this extension of this decision through May 31, 2022,” she said.

Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, students who have completed 85% of the required placement hours (i.e., equivalent to 340 hours for baccalaureate programs and 765 hours for master’s programs) to a satisfactory level may, at program discretion, be evaluated as having met the field placement requirement. This reduction in field hours may be applied to field placement courses that are fully or partially completed by May 31, 2022.   

Accreditation standards require field education through “in-person contact,” but given the health and safety concerns that are still prevalent, remote field activities can include engagement such as field-related assignments, trainings, and virtual meetings through May 31, 2022.

For field placements in an organization in which the student is employed, student field assignments and employment tasks may be the same and counted toward field hours as long as the tasks have clear linkages to the nine social work competencies and their concomitant behaviors as well as any competencies added by the program through May 2022.

Site visits for accreditation and reaffirmation may continue to be held virtually through December 31, 2021.

CSWE's COA is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards. CSWE continues to support social work programs and address this critical threat to public health during the spread of the coronavirus with recommendations and guidance at www.cswe.org/coronavirus

About CSWE
Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the national association representing social work education in the United States. Its members include more than 800 accredited baccalaureate and master’s degree social work programs, as well as individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies dedicated to advancing quality social work education.