Social Services Worker Field Placement FAQs

If you are wanting to apply for a field placement, please read the following list of Frequently Asked Questions thoroughly.
If your question is not answered in one of these FAQs, please feel free to contact the placement officer at

SSW Program Specific FAQs

How do I request access to upload my placement paperwork?

All students wishing to apply for a field placement, must first request to be activated in their program's Pre-Placement Activation Module in order to submit the required documentation by the posted deadline.

Please complete the following steps below in order to request activation for DC Connect and access to Verified by Synergy Gateway:

Email and provide the following information:

  1. First & Last Name
  2. Student ID Number
  3. Program Name
  4. Placement level (if applicable) eg: Level 1, 2 or 3


  • Please submit your request only once.
  • Students will be required to upload pre-placement paperwork to VERIFIED by Synergy Gateway which is Durham College's third party documentation submission partner.  Once you have been activated with VERIFIED by Synergy Gateway, you must begin uploading your required paperwork to Synergy's platform.
  • Students will also be required to upload their program's field placement application in the DC Connect Placement Application module.
  • Students are required to monitor their email account during the application process and throughout placement, as placement correspondence will only be sent to the student's address.  Personal email addresses will not be used.
What documents are required for my field placement?

The following are the documents required for each of the SSW field placements.

Upload to DC Connect:

  • SSW Field Placement application form

Upload to Verified by Synergy Gateway:

  • Entry Immunization Form
  • Criminal Reference Check with Vulnerable Sector Screen (Valid within 6 months)
  • Standard First Aid with CPR – Level C
  • Four Online Health & Safety Training Modules:
    • Worker Health & Safety Awareness in 4 Steps
    • WHMIS
    • AODA
    • Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention
  • Diversity Certificate Module
I have had a criminal reference check completed in the past, do I need a new one?

The Criminal Reference Check must be valid within 6 months of your placement, and remain valid for the duration of your placement. (Note: Depending on where you are placed, your placement host may require a CRC newer than Durham College’s requirement)

Please note that you must provide a CRC for every placement.

Winter Placements:
If your placement begins in January, the CRC cannot be issued prior to August of the previous year.

Spring/Summer Placements:
If your placement begins in May, the CRC cannot be issued prior to December of the previous year.

Fall Placements:
If your placement begins in September, the CRC cannot be issued prior to April of the same year.

How many hours must I complete for placement?

Students are required to complete the minimum number of hours, as indicated below, and must be completed and must be completed by the course end date as advertised.
Students will be required to complete seminar hours online, journals  and actively participate in online discussions in order to be successful in this placement.

Each SSW Field Placement is broken down as follows:
Hours completed at the host setting: 210 hrs
Hours allotted for online seminar: 14 hrs
Hours allotted for weekly journals: 14 hrs
Total = 238 hrs
Students must complete ALL required hours & final evaluation on or before the published course end date. Failure to do so will result in the student receiving an unsatisfactory grade for the field placement course.

I work full time, how can I do a placement also?

Students may find it necessary to make personal adjustments to work and/or family schedules in order to complete the field placement. Options to be considered are: leaves of absence, use of vacation time, extended work hours to free up hours for placement, etc. We recognize that such arrangements require a great deal of time and effort on the students’ (and their families’) part and applaud their commitment to the achievement of their goals.

How many hours can I do per week?

Students should complete a minimum of approximately 15 hours, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week at the placement setting.

When arranging their schedule, students must ensure they meet the required number of hours by the end date of the course.  Failure to complete all of the required hours by the end date for the course will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the placement.

Any hours completed prior to official clearance will not be counted and must be made up before the end of the course.

Am I required to find my own placement?

Yes.  Students in the Social Service Worker program are required to research and secure each of their placements.  This may require an in-person interview with the agency supervisor prior to being accepted at the agency.

Can I do my placement in another province?

Students considering a placement in another province are required to complete the Out of Province SSW Field Placement request form and send to the Placement Officer a minimum of 3-4 months prior to the term in which they wish to do their placement course, as it may take a significant amount of time to verify and secure an appropriate out of province agency.

Students are required to research the agency, ensuring that all of the placement objectives, learning outcomes and supervision requirements can be met with that agency.

May I do my placement where I work?

Doing your placement where you work is a conflict of interest and is not permitted.

May I do my placement where a relative is employed?

Students are not permitted to complete a placement experience where they have a relative or familial relationship with anyone with supervisory responsibility at the agency. This would be considered a conflict of interest.

My agency host wants to pay me, is this allowed?

Field placements are unpaid learning opportunities, and therefore, students are not permitted to accept payment for the field placement experience.

May I do all of my placements at the same setting?

Students are required to secure a placement agency for Levels 2 and 3 that is different than the agency secured for Level 1.
In addition to meeting the learning outcomes, this also provides a greater variety in experience and greater flexibility in the job market.

Please note: Each placement level must be done in separate semesters.  Paperwork requirements and deadlines will apply to each placement/term separately.

May I begin my placement before the course begins?

Students must ensure that they have been officially cleared prior to beginning their hours at the host agency.
Clearance will not occur prior to the start date for the placement course.

Any hours completed prior to official clearance will not be counted and must be made up before the end of the course.

I would like to do my placement in a school setting. Is this allowed?

If you wish to complete your placement in a school setting you MUST NOT contact the setting directly to arrange your placement.
You are requested to provide the contact information for the School Board, on the Field Placement Application and upload to the DC Connect Pre-Placement Paperwork module.  The placement officer will contact the setting on your behalf.

Students are required to research the school setting, ensuring that all of the placement objectives, learning outcomes and supervision requirements can be met with that agency.  Students must be supervised by someone with either an RSSW designation or hold a BA in Social Work or Psychology.

Am I able to challenge any/all of my field placements?

Only level 1 and 2 placements are eligible for PLAR.  Level 3 is not eligible.

For more information on the PLAR process and eligibility, please call 905-712-3053 or email

How will I know when I can begin my hours?

Each student will receive official clearance via email to their account only advising them of placement details and official clearance date.

What is the withdrawal policy for field placements?

Students may withdraw/transfer during the first 13 days after the official start date. Once students are cleared for placement no refund or transfer will be accepted.