Frequently Asked Questions about the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program (VSW-CP)
What does on-line delivery mean?
The VSW-CP is delivered on-line which means all course work can be completed via the internet. VSW specific electives will be delivered in a live-on-line format which means you will log on at the same time each week to interact with the professor and other class members. There will also be self-paced on-line content to complete. Click here to review the College of Social Work Distance Education program.
Where can I do my field placement?
Since veterinary social work is new, developing field placements comes through the joint effort of several individuals including the student, Veterinary Social Work faculty and staff, animal related professionals in the student's geographical location, College of Social Work field coordinators, and UT College of Veterinary Medicine's Public Health Coordinator. The student must be proactive in developing field placements and the UT Veterinary Social Work program will provide the names of individuals who may be willing to host a student. Veterinary social work can be practiced in many varied settings. There are traditional settings as well as non-traditional settings that could benefit from veterinary social work. Some of these settings are listed below. The list, however, should not be considered exhaustive because new and innovative settings may be added based on agency needs and student interest and educational plans.
- Veterinary Hospitals
- Animal Shelters
- Domestic Violence Shelters/Intervention Programs
- Animal Assisted Intervention Therapeutic Settings ( Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, prisons, adolescent treatment facilities)
- Legal/Forensic Settings
- Public Policy/Legislative Settings
Students may also inquire about the creation of new settings. In order for initial consideration of a new setting the student must:
- Provide an overview of the proposed work the student will conduct in the proposed setting.
- Identify a M.S.S.W. from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program with a minimum of 2 years post masters work with some involvement with human-animal relationships, who be willing to provide field instruction.
- If there is no field instructor available within the agency, identify a task instructor who will oversee the daily tasks of the student.
- Identify an Animal-Related Preceptor who will be willing to consult on the animal related issues that will arise during the placement (This can be a veterinarian, a senior veterinary nurse (more than 5 years of experience), or a director/manager at an animal shelter.) The student may also propose another type of Animal-Related Preceptor. The student must include the Preceptor's resume or curriculum vita.
- A letter from the prospective field instructor, the task instructor (if these individuals are different), and the Preceptor expressing their willingness to host a VSW student.
- A signed agreement (provided by the College of Social Work) that outlines the responsibilities of the agency, field instructor, task instructor, and preceptor.
- A sustainability plan for any program the student begins.
These documents must be received at least two months prior to the start date of the field practice and will then be reviewed by the Field Coordinator, the Director of Veterinary Social Work, and the Coordinator of Public Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Field agencies must meet the criteria for selection as a College of Social Work field placement setting as specified in the M.S.S.W. Field Practice Manual. The student will be notified if the proposed placement has been accepted 1 month prior to the placement start date.
Veterinary Social Work field placements must be the concentration Field Placement for traditional and extended study students. For advanced standing students, the VSW field placement can be the primary placement during their course of study. The reason for this requirement is to ensure that M.S.S.W. students have the experience of working in a more traditional social work setting. Presumably, the advanced standing students had at least 1 prior field placement during the B.S.W./B.S.S.W. education that provided for the traditional social work setting experience.
Do I have to live in Tennessee to complete the VSW-CP?
No. If you live out of state you can still complete the entire VSW-CP through the Distance Education program at the UT College of Social Work. There are some additional responsibilities and challenges you may face. First, you will be responsible for traveling to Tennessee to complete face-to-face requirements for all courses including Veterinary Social Work courses. These face-to-face meetings generally occur on the weekends. Additionally, you also will have to take an active role finding appropriate field placements settings that meet criteria for the College of Social Work's field placement requirements.
Can I transfer to the UT College of Social Work to complete the VSW-CP after I have finished my foundational courses?
Yes, you can transfer to the College of Social Work's Distance Education program after you have completed your foundational coursework elsewhere. In order to do this you will have to submit your previous courses for credit review to the College of Social Work Distance Education Coordinator. You may be required to complete additional credits if some of your coursework does not transfer.
What if I already have my M.S.S.W. from a Council on Social Work Education accredited social work program? Can I still get my VSW-CP?
Right now in order to get your VSW-CP you must be a current UT College of Social Work M.S.S.W. student. A postmasters certificate will be forthcoming.