How to Secure a Field Site
Start early! Preparation for field experience should start in the first year of your program, and you should start actively seeking out a field placement at least 1 year before the expected start of the field experience. Refer to the Field Experience Student Checklist for your program of study for suggested activities to complete during each quarter of enrollment to help ensure that you are prepared for field experience at the time prescribed by your program of study.
First, learn about your program’s field experience requirements by reading this manual in detail. You will need to ensure that the site you select offers experiences in line with your program of study and that your site supervisor meets the site supervisor requirements. Also be sure to know your state’s requirements for licensure—your field experience should meet the more stringent requirements. Be familiar with your program of study to ensure that you are clear on the timing of your field experience (contact your student success advisor for assistance).
In preparation for contacting potential field sites, it is highly recommended that you join a professional association as a student member for networking opportunities, as well as for your own professional development. You will also need a quality résumé or curriculum vita as well as a cover letter that will help you stand out. Walden’s Career Services Center is an excellent resource.
After familiarizing yourself with your field experience requirements, start to consider potential field sites in your community. You can search for potential field sites online and use your networks to identify possible locations. Walden also keeps a database in Meditrek® of sites where the university has current affiliation agreements.
Note: The Meditrek® affiliation agreement database includes all field sites covered under current active affiliation agreements between Walden University and various entities for programs requiring a field experience component. A site being on the list does not guarantee field experience placement for Walden University students, and not all sites where Walden has affiliation agreements have placements appropriate for all programs.
Important Notes for Contacting School Counseling Sites
- The process for school counselor intern placement varies by district. For example, oftentimes, individual school counselors are not in charge of the field experience placement process; it is usually handled by an administrative person at the district level. When seeking placements, it is best to contact the district office to find out what the placement process is for that district, rather than contacting individual school counselors or school office staff.
- Summer placements can be difficult to come by as most school settings are closed for a significant portion of the summer and are not serving students. You should know when your field experience falls within your program of study before you reach out to potential field sites so that you can check into whether summer placements will be an option for you, should you need it.
- Some states require students to complete placements at multiple levels (i.e., elementary, middle school, high school). While this is not a Walden requirement, it may be a state requirement of which you should be aware before contacting potential sites.
- Some districts require that you apply with them for each quarter of field experience. Be sure you are clear on the application and documentation requirements of your site.
- School districts sometimes require that requests for placement be made directly by the university, instead of by you as the student. If this is required for your prospective field site, complete the Request for School Counseling Site Outreach form and one of our academic coordinators will contact the district on your behalf and work with you throughout the placement as required by your site.
If you need assistance with navigating the placement requirements of your prospective field site, please join our weekly Drop-In Field Experience Support Call.
Assistance With Securing a Field Site
Walden’s goal is to assist every student in identifying and securing a field experience that meets the requirements for their degree programs, while giving students flexibility to conduct field experiences in locations and with site supervisors that best meet their needs. Walden commits significant human and technology resources to this effort.
The SOC-OFE website offers a variety of resources for students searching for field experience sites. The SOC-OFE also offers several weekly drop-in calls with field experience academic coordinators where you can ask questions about field experience matters, including your site search process. See the SOC-OFE website for call times and information.
If you feel like you have used all the resources provided on the SOC-OFE website, and you still have been unable to secure a field site, you may request additional assistance from a field experience academic coordinator. During this self-referral process, you will be required to complete the Field Experience Site Contact Record (available on the SOC-OFE website) to demonstrate your outreach efforts and to give the academic coordinator important information to support you. You will need to demonstrate that you have made at least three good-faith attempts to contact at least 10 sites prior to contacting the SOC-OFE to request additional support in securing a field site.
Note: Inability to locate an appropriate site and/or site supervisor will not result in an alteration or extension of any university deadlines.