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SOC-OFE Masters Students - Field Experience Manual: Applying for Field Experiences

Applying for Field Experiences

Students must receive approval from the SOC-OFE for enrollment in field experiences. The application process is multifaceted and includes all of the following:

  • Site supervisor qualifications
  • Academic quality of field experience
  • Site appropriateness for student’s program
  • Student eligibility
  • Field experience documentation
  • Field site affiliation agreement and onboarding requirements

All field experience applications are submitted in Meditrek. A link to the Meditrek website, as well as information about application submission windows, application instructions, and materials are available on the SOC-OFE website. Field experience applications must be submitted in accordance with the policies and procedures described on the website. Students are responsible for reviewing all deadlines and procedures for submitting applications. Failure to comply with policies and procedures may result in rejection of the application, delay of the field experience, postponement of degree conferment, and/or Code of Conduct inquiry.

Application Review Process

Figure 2 illustrates the application review process from selecting a field site to review.

Figure 2. Application Review Process

Application Process Overview

Students can view the status of their application at any time throughout the process in Meditrek. Detailed information about the application process, including the application status, is available on the SOC-OFE website.

Important notes:

  • School counseling students who intend to complete field experiences in the fall quarter should apply as early as possible. The SOC-OFE will need to contact the site to establish an affiliation agreement, and additional information may be needed from the site throughout the application review process. This may be challenging with schools typically closed during the summer months.
  • Students must monitor their Walden email accounts closely during the application review period to ensure that they are able to respond to requests for additional information within the time frames provided.
  • Students are informed of application submission windows at numerous points throughout the program, so unawareness of the field experience application submission window is not a sufficient reason for granting an extension.
  • Submitting a petition is not a guarantee of acceptance of an application. It is not uncommon for a petition to be denied based on timing.
  • Submission of the application does not guarantee acceptance or approval of the application.

Eligibility Audits

Operations coordinators complete eligibility audits for each student at multiple points during the application process to make sure all field prerequisites have been successfully completed. To be eligible to begin field experience, all of the following must be true:

  1. Counseling Work Sample is satisfactorily completed (if applicable).
  2. Student Support Plan (student development, skills, academic integrity) is satisfactorily completed (if applicable).
  3. All prerequisite courses and residencies/pre-practica are satisfactorily completed.

If any of the above items are not complete by 2 weeks prior to the start of field experience, the field experience will be delayed to the following quarter. Students can view the status of their application, including the details of their Eligibility Audit, any time in Meditrek.

Field Site Affiliation Agreements

The Field Site Affiliation Agreement is an agreement between the university and the field site that addresses the responsibilities of the student, the field site, and the university with regard to a field experience. A fully executed affiliation agreement must be on file with a field site before students will be enrolled to begin a field experience at the site. An affiliation agreement is not and cannot be a replacement for a supervision contract.

If (as in most cases), Walden does not already have an agreement on file for the counseling programs for the student’s chosen field site, the SOC-OFE operations coordinator will contact the site after the student submits the field experience application to establish a new agreement. The student will provide contact information for the appropriate individual at the field site for the purpose of negotiating an affiliation agreement. The appropriate signatory is determined by the site (an individual with authority to bind the field site, such as an agency director, contract administrator, or an individual from the field site’s legal office). It may be appropriate for a site supervisor who is also the agency owner or director to sign the agreement; however, in most cases, the site supervisor will not have the legal authority to sign on behalf of the agency or site. Students must ensure that the appropriate party is identified on their application to avoid delays in the application process.

Walden has a standard Field Site Affiliation Agreement that most sites are able to sign as-is, eliminating the need for an often lengthy negotiation process. Some sites, however, need to make revisions to Walden’s standard agreement or have their own agreements that they prefer to use instead of signing Walden’s Field Site Affiliation Agreement. In these cases, the operations coordinator will send the document to the Office of Applied Learning Agreements (OALA), which is part of Walden’s Office of Experiential Student Learning, for review by Walden’s contract administrators. Agreement negotiations are managed by OALA and the field site’s contracts/legal department. The SOC-OFE operations coordinator will keep the student abreast of updates as they are received.

New affiliation agreements must be submitted to OALA no less than 5 weeks prior to the start of the quarter; petitions requiring submission of an agreement beyond this point cannot be approved. If review of the agreement is required by OALA, the field experience may be delayed. The affiliation agreement must be complete and fully-signed by 2 weeks prior to the start of field experience, or the field experience will be delayed.

Professional Liability Insurance

CACREP requires all graduate counseling students to obtain professional liability insurance prior to beginning a field experience. Students are required to maintain active professional liability insurance throughout the duration of the field experiences. Walden University requires all field experience students to secure coverage limits of at least $1 million per incident and $3 million aggregate. Students must obtain their own professional liability insurance policy, even if they are covered by their site’s insurance policy. For further information, see the SOC-OFE website.

Important note: Students in the MS in School Counseling program are encouraged to join the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) for their professional development. The liability insurance included with ASCA student membership does not, however, meet Walden’s requirements for professional liability insurance. Students in this program will need to ensure additional supplemental insurance or find another insurance provider to meet the coverage requirements.

Site Onboarding Requirements

The counseling masters’ programs do not require students to submit a criminal background check or evidence of immunizations. Some organizations where students are seeking to fulfill their field experience hours may have these or other requirements. Students should be prepared to address any onboarding requirements with the field site. All requirements must be complete no less than 2 weeks prior to the start of the field experience.