General Clinical Experience Questions

Why do I have to complete clinical experience hours?

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires that all students who wish to apply for NYS teaching certification complete a certain number of clinical experiences prior to obtaining their certification. These clinical experiences include formative clinical experiences in the form of field experience hours prior to student teaching and a culminating clinical experience in the form of student teaching or graduate practicum.

The primary purpose of clinical experience is to connect the theory and strategies learned in the Nazareth classrooms to the real world applications in public schools. The clinical experiences provide Nazareth students with a multitude of opportunities to observe and participate in classrooms to broaden their understanding of developmental levels and classroom settings.


Who will make the placement for me?

The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships in the School of Education at Nazareth University will make your placements. The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships is located in the Golisano Academic Center, Room 277.

Teacher candidates are NOT permitted to contact any school districts, administrators, or school-based teacher educators to request a placement.

Each school district has their own policy on how clinical experience placements can be made. In order to maintain our relationship and to honor the school district's policies, we request that candidates do not attempt to secure their own placement.

Where will I be assigned to fulfill my clinical experience hours?

You will be assigned to a school in the greater Rochester area. Nazareth policy is that a teacher candidate can be placed up to an hour away from the candidate's residence; although, we typically try to keep the travel time to approximately 30 minutes. The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships is responsible for providing you with a variety of experiences during fieldwork. Thus the office will place you in an assortment of settings such as urban, rural, suburban and high needs

Can I request a specific placement?

Teacher candidates are not able to request specific placements. The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships must ensure that all placements meet certain New York State Certification Requirements. In order to efficiently place all candidates, we do not honor specific requests made by teacher candidates.

The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships does understand that special circumstances do arise. If there is a special circumstance that needs to be taken into consideration when making your placement such as lack of transportation, please communicate that with the Office of Clinical Experience and Partnerships as soon as you register for the course with clinical experience hours.

Can a school-based teacher educator (SBTE) request to host me for a clinical experience?

Yes, a SBTE can request to host you for a clinical experience. The SBTE would have to fill out the Request To Host A Teacher Candidate for A Clinical Experience form.

Please note a request does not guarantee a placement can be made. There are a variety of factors that must be reviewed before a placement can be made. These factors include but are not limited to: the timing of the request, the SBTE certification area, number of years teaching, district approval, etc.

How and when will I be notified of my clinical experience placement?

You will receive an email from the Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships with the clinical experience information including name of the school based teacher educator (SBTE), their email address, the name of the school district and school, and other pertinent information during the first month of the course.

How will I get to the school where I am assigned for the clinical experience placement?

Transportation is the responsibility of the teacher candidate. The Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships does not arrange carpools.

If you plan on taking public transportation, please notify the Office of Clinical Experiences immediately so we can take that into consideration when making your placement.

What steps should I take after I receive my assignment?

When you have the name of the school-based teacher educator and their contact information, you should email the teacher with the teacher within 24 hoursIt may take you more than one attempt to reach the teacher so begin right away. If you cannot reach the teacher via email within one week of your initial communication, please reach out to the Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships.

Teachers do not usually welcome drop-ins; please visit the school only after you have successfully contacted your teacher.

What should I keep in mind when I am in a local school?
  • Remember this is a professional responsibility –-- keep and be on-time for all scheduled observations. If you cannot attend a scheduled observation, please inform the school-based teacher educator at least 24 hour in advance.
  • Always keep in mind that you are a guest in the school. As a guest you are responsible for learning, understanding and following all school policies and expectations.
  • Remember that you are representing Nazareth College, the School of Education, and yourself, who will soon be a job-seeker. Field experiences are your first opportunity to impress a school district that you may want to apply to in the future.
  • Use the internet to look up the administration's and office staff's names before you visit the first time. This will help you to make a great first impression as you meet people at the site.
  • Report to the main office, introduce yourself to the secretary, and explain why you are there. Please carry a picture ID with you when you first visit the school. Many schools now use a security system that requires you to present a picture ID on your first visit, and a sign-in process after that.

Field Experience Questions

How many total field experience hours do I need to complete to earn my teaching certification?

New York State Department of Education requires that every student completes a 100 hour of field experience prior to student teaching for their initial certification. Students must complete an additional 50 hours for each certification added beyond the initial certification. The total number of field experience hours required prior to student teaching or graduate practicum for each program is determined by the number of certifications being sought.

Example 1: If you are getting certified in childhood education grades 1 -6 and teaching students with disabilities grades 1 -6, you will need to complete 100 hours for the initial certification in childhood education and 50 hours for the additional certification in teaching students with disabilities; therefore, you will need to complete a total of 150 field experience hours prior to student teaching.

Example 2If you already hold an initial certification in Adolescence Education Grades 7 - 12 with a content area of Social Studies and are adding a teaching students with disabilities Grades 7 - 12 certificate, you will need 50 field experience hours prior to completing the graduate practicum.

When do I complete my field experiences?

Field experience hours are tied to coursework. Only certain courses require fieldwork hours. Please refer to your program requirements to see which courses require field experience hours.

If you are taking a course that requires fieldwork, you should begin your hours as soon as you receive your placement. Hours should be completed weekly over the course of the entire semester.

How many field experience hours do I need to complete each semester?

The number of field experience hours required each semester is dependent upon the courses you are scheduled to take that semester.

Please note: You cannot use the same block of hours for more than one course. Each course has a specific number of required hours.

For example, If you are taking two courses where one course requires 30 hours of fieldwork and the other course requires 20 hours of fieldwork, you must do a total of 50 individual hours of fieldwork.

Why do I have to verify my hours of fieldwork?

All hours need to be documented to meet NYS Education certification requirements as well as those of the course. Please verify your hours by filling out the Field Experience Attendance Verification Form.

If I am working in a local school district/agency can't I just stay there for my field experience?

Each Nazareth course requires a specific setting (content area, grade level and student population). In order to complete your field hours at your place of employment, the designated classroom must meet the course criteria.

Graduate students who are working in a local school district or agency may have the option of completing their field work at their place of employment through either a job-embedded or job-referenced placement.

  • Job-Embedded Placements: Graduate students who are employed by a school district and working as a classroom teacher, may have the option to complete their fieldwork in their classroom.
  • Job-Referenced Placement: Graduate students who are employed by a school district but are not classroom teachers or are classroom teachers whose rooms do not meet the placement requirements, may have the option to complete their fieldwork in a colleague's classroom.

Please meet with your Program Director to determine if you are eligible for a job-embedded or job-reference placement. If you are eligible, you will need to fill out a job embedded/job referenced form, available on the Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships website, no later than the first week of the start of the course.

Please note: Some programs may have a designated limit on the number of hours you may complete in your classroom.

What if I complete more than the required fieldwork hours for the course?

Each field work course at Nazareth University has a specific number of assigned hours. While additional hours may enhance your learning, these may not be applied to future coursework as the hours are attached to assignments within each course.

What happens if I am unable to complete the required field experience hours?

If you do not finish your required hours by the end of the semester, you will be given an "I" grade. You must then work with your professor to complete the hours within a set timeframe in order to convert your grade.

What if I withdraw from this course?

It is your professional responsibility to contact your assigned teacher and inform him or her that you will not be returning. Please advise the Office of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships as well, so we can send a thank-you to the teacher.