Overview of Field Experiences at WGU

Western Governors University (WGU) provides a scaffolded clinical experience that spans each licensure program of study. The purpose of the developmental progression is to provide opportunities for candidates to complete increasingly more intensive and extensive experiences as the candidates’ knowledge and skills continue to develop. As part of the clinical curriculum framework, experiences offer increased teacher candidate decision making, focus on child and youth development, illustrate positive behavior support within the classroom, and reveal research-based, high-impact instructional practices for impacting student achievement.


Clinical Framework

WGU offers field experiences (preclinical and clinical experiences) in three phases that span program preparation.

Phase 1:  Early to Mid-Level Preclinical Experiences (total of 30 hours).

Course-embedded virtual preclinical experiences provide virtual observations and opportunities for reflections on collaborative teaching, technology, positive school environments, and diversity from multiple settings and exemplars of best practice.

Phase 2: Preclinical Experiences (minimum of 75* hours).

Classroom-based settings in the field, which enable the candidate and host teacher to collaborate and co-teach. The candidate presents lessons in small- and large-group authentic teaching situations to further develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. The host teacher provides feedback to and completes an evaluation of the candidate. Review the PCE Placement Guidelines and Requirements (opens new window) article for information about placement for preclinical experience.


Phase 3: Clinical Experiences (minimum of 480* hours).

WGU's program consists of a minimum of twelve weeks (or a minimum of 480* hours) of full-time supervised “Demonstration Teaching” as the culminating clinical experience supported by several co-teaching models:

  • Candidate and teacher co-teach,
  • Candidate teaches, and teacher purposefully observes, and
  • Candidate teaches independently with host teacher support.

Candidates are expected to follow the same school calendar as the host teacher, attend all professional development meetings or any required school activities, and display consistent attendance. Review the DT Placement Guidelines and Requirements (opens new window) article for information about placement for demonstration teaching.


WGU only considers classrooms with educators who have ratings on evaluations of “effective” or “highly effective” to supervise the candidate in the role as the host teacher to ensure that teacher candidates are provided a model of effective teaching.


The following table provides an overview of the phases and hours of preclinical and clinical experiences following a developmental progression across the span of the preparation program.


Phases of the Three-Step Clinical Framework

WGU Requirement

Preclinical and Clinical Experiences

Clock Hours

Phase One:

Virtual Preclinical Experiences

Preclinical experience hours embedded in early to mid-level coursework


Phase Two:

Extended Preclinical Experiences

Preclinical experiences (targeted for each licensure area) prior to demonstration teaching



Total Preclinical Experiences Hours at WGU


Phase Three:

Culminating Clinical Experience

Candidates complete a minimum of 12 weeks of demonstration teaching (student teaching) with a master teacher to monitor and assess



Total Preclinical and Clinical Experience Hours at WGU



*WGU TC candidates complete a minimum 105 hours in preclinical experiences and 480 hours (or 12 weeks) in demonstration teaching. Candidates participating in states that have additional hours for clinical experience complete the prescribed hours for that state. The Field Placement Team monitors and tracks all clinical experiences to ensure candidates complete all appropriate hours.


Diversity of Placements

WGU Licensure Programs, in general, are designed to provide intentional opportunities at each phase of the candidate’s field experience to ensure diverse experiences in the field. Beginning with the course-embedded virtual experiences in Phase One, strategically chosen videos representing students in diverse classroom settings are important resources for candidates to use as they work through their performance assessments.


During the face-to-face extended preclinical experiences in Phase Two, candidates have a placement in two classrooms, and document the demographics of both classrooms in their preclinical experiences log to demonstrate the diverse settings.


Culminating with demonstration teaching in Phase Three, the Field Placement Team ensures that the primary placement assignment, aligned to the student’s program and area of licensure, is different in either grade or school location than the documented preclinical experience assignment. Finally, candidates must observe in classrooms other than the primary assignment during the last two weeks of demonstration teaching to add further diversity of the experience.

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