Practicum Search & Placement Process
After the Practicum Application is completed and submitted, the process for obtaining a practicum placement is one of matching the needs and learning goals of students with learning opportunities provided by collaborating practicum agencies. Placement in areas of students’ practice interests and geographical location will be accommodated, if possible.
A request for an Employment-Based Practicum should be indicated in the practicum application. The Practicum Coordinator will contact the student to discuss the requirements, provide the appropriate guidelines and proposal form, and carefully review the request for final approval.
When a Practicum Coordinator is assigned, the coordinator will begin consultation with their students—via U of L email communication, only, no personal/work emails—to discuss potential placement options. Practicum sites, preferably those affiliated with Kent School, will be selected which most appear able to meet students’ learning needs and interests. Practicum Coordinators make initial contact with any/all prospective agencies to ensure they are able and willing to host students.
Students are NOT authorized to discuss the Affiliation process with an agency who is not affiliated with Kent School. The Practicum Education Office and/or the assigned Practicum Coordinator will initiate contact and guide the agency through the process to secure practicum placement on the students’ behalf.
Students will be emailed a Referral letter from their assigned coordinator with direct contact information for one prospective agency. The students will be responsible for scheduling a placement interview with the prospective agency by a specified date to determine the suitability of matches. The students should treat these interviews, whether in-person or virtual, like a job interview: early/timely arrival, appropriate appearance/attire, and an updated professional resume in-hand or sent prior via email.
The students and prospective agency will complete an Agency Practicum Placement Agreement form indicating their respective placement decisions by specified dates. If either party declines the placement, the coordinator notifies students of further practicum options, and the referral process repeats.
If both parties agree to placement, a Confirmation letter advising finalized practicum assignment will be emailed to students and agency. This letter will also include important next steps to be carried out by either the students, the agency, or both to successfully onboard the students to begin practicum.
When working with your Practicum Coordinator on placement, you will want to clarify what the required “checks” are for placement—including (but not limited to): Criminal Background Check, Fingerprinting, Drug Screen, Vaccinations, etc.—to ensure you understand the process, should this apply to a site you are interested in. There are some practicum sites that require completion, either at the cost of the site or the student, of such medical clearances. In instances that you may be required to provide a Criminal Background Check or Drug Screen, the University contracts with a third-party vendor to help you obtain such clearances. The cost is significantly less that you might pay a provider for the same services.
Practicum and Agency Orientations
The Practicum Education Office requires BSW, 1st Year MSSW Generalist, and 2nd Year MSSW Specialized students complete an online orientation, prior to the start of each academic year. The orientation will be available, and students notified via UofL email to complete the orientation, one month prior to the start of semester. Upon completion of the orientation, instructions to upload certificates and submit orientation hours in SONIA, as ONE block of time, will be provided to the student. The Practicum Education Office will approve the online orientation hours in SONIA which will be your clearance to begin practicum.
If an agency requires a student complete an agency orientation, prior to the start of the semester, the student must attend the orientation, but may not begin their on-site practicum until the start of the semester. Agency orientation hours will be approved by the Practicum Instructor.