Petra, Megan M; Tripepi, Sherry F; Guardiola, Louis
The field practicum is social work’s signature pedagogy, but no empirical research has established how many hours students need to develop professional competence. Extensive hours pose hardships for working students, so research should determine minimum and optimal numbers of practicum hours. This quasi-experimental study evaluated changes to required field hours for BSW and both Foundation and Advanced MSW students. Reduced hours did not harm BSW and Advanced students’ preparedness. However, increased hours may have aided Foundation students’ skill development. Social work programs should consider students’ professional development and their other obligations when setting field practicum hours requirements.