Your field placement experiences are invaluable opportunities to put theory into action. Field placements are practica and internship classes that give you a chance to experience firsthand what you've been reading about in textbooks and discussing in class. No amount of reading, role playing, or talking "about" counseling can substitute for working with people in the "real world".
Your field placement experiences are designed to be a bridge between theory and practice. They are critical components of your graduate training. It is your responsibility to understand the expectations of the practica and internship courses and how to secure an appropriate placement site in a timely manner.
- Begin your field placement search early. Along with our department, students from various other departments and universities are vying for field placements throughout the community. Permits for field placement courses are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. These courses can fill up quickly and we cannot exceed the enrollment cap in these courses.
- All field placement hours must be accrued within the confines of the semester dates. You cannot begin to accrue placement hours prior to the beginning of the semester, and all hours must be completed by the end of finals week for the semester.
- Students are responsible for all costs associated with finger printing and background checks.
- Attempting to have a new site become an affiliated one can be a time-consuming process. Begin this process as soon as possible or you may risk being unable to enroll in a practicum or internship class.
Learn more about how to get a site approved.
How do I go about getting a site approved that isn’t on the list?
First, you would want to talk with the site and see if they are interested in taking interns. If so, you can contact me and share the following:
1. General information about the agency.
2. What interests you about this particular agency?
3. Provide the name, email, and telephone number for the contact at the agency. I will set up a phone conference with this person to determine appropriate fit.
If this is a private practice, I look extra carefully at these sites. Sometimes a private practice office will not have the caseload to support your required hours. The last thing we would want to see happen is for you to get mid-way through your practicum or internship and not be able to meet your hour commitment for the class. Do not wait until the last minute to see about getting a site approved or it won’t happen. To become an approved site, an affiliation agreement has to be signed between the agency and USF, which can be a lengthy process. The most important thing to do is to start the process early. This is the end of the info needed on that link.
- We encourage you to remain at the same site for both practicum classes. This is a recommendation, not a requirement.
Steps in the field placement process
- Please review your plan of study as that tells you when you will be taking your field
classes and read the Field Placement Handbook.
- Review the Field Placement Preparation Powerpoint
About 4-6 weeks into the Spring and Fall semesters, an announcement will go out via email stating that now is the time to secure your field placement site. You typically have a deadline of about 6 weeks to get it secured. *Important – When the announcement goes out in the Spring, this will be for those who are doing field courses during the Summer and/or Fall so you need to secure for one or both semesters at that time. When the announcement goes out in the Fall, you are securing for the Spring semester only.
- Please view the Field Information Flyer for specific details on Practicum 1, Practicum 2, and Internship requirements. You
should take appropriate flyer to your interview with potential placement sites.
- When you are ready to secure your site, you will begin looking through our approved
site list in the Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) Database to determine the sites that
are of interest to you and create a list. Finding a site is a lot like looking for
a job and you have the freedom to choose sites based on your interests and based on
your location around Tampa Bay. The IPT website is www.runipt.com. The organization ID is: usfrmhc.
- Once you have your list (it is suggested to have at least 10-15 places of interest),
you will email the sites specifying the field class you are trying to find placement
for and ask if they have availability to take on an intern. If they have availability
at their site, you will schedule an interview with them to determine if it will be
a good fit.
View example of a professional email to send to sites.
“Dear Marsha, (if the individual has a PhD, address as Dr. …..)
My name is Amanda DePippo and I am a student in the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program at the University of South Florida. I will be completing practicum 1 during the Fall 2019 semester and I wanted to ask if you had any openings for an intern at your site? I am particularly interested in your site because (fill in the blank). I am very excited about the possibility to learn from you and your team. Please find my resume and cover letter attached to this email and I am available for an interview at your convenience.
- Once you secure your site, you can complete the field placement application below.
(Securing your site means that the representative that interviewed you says that they
will accept you for your field placement experience). It is inappropriate to complete
a field placement application before this step has been accomplished. Once you have been accepted at a site, please discontinue your search and do not schedule
any further interviews as it is inappropriate to change sites once you have been accepted.
On occasion, there may be exceptions to this rule, but you would need to discuss with
Dr. DePippo. Once your field placement application has been processed, you will receive a permit
so you can register for your class through OASIS.
- All students are required to maintain professional liability coverage when completing their field classes. Each student in the RMHC program is covered through the University of South Florida Health Sciences Center Self-Insurance Program pursuant to Florida Statutes §§768.28 and 1004.24. Such professional liability protection has limits of $1,000,000.00 per claim and $3,000,000.00 per occurrence. USF will maintain such insurance in effect at all times that students are assigned to a field placement agency. If you are wanting to work at your site between semesters, you need to discuss this with your course instructor.