Fieldwork is an out-of-classroom learning opportunity where students integrate academic knowledge into real life and treatment situations. Occupational therapy fieldwork enriches the coursework and shapes students into entry-level clinicians. Fieldwork is similar to a residency program for physicians or student teaching for classroom teachers.
Placement settings for occupational therapy fieldwork may include:
- Public and private schools
- Sensory integration or privately owned pediatric clinics
- Outpatient or hand therapy clinics
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Summer camp programs
- Mental health settings
- Community-based or home-based programs
- other traditional and non-traditional locations
As students move through the two levels of fieldwork (Level I and Level II), they will have increasingly complex experiences. Early experiences start with guided observation and hands-on practice of concepts intended to reinforce course content that the student is learning during the particular semester. Later experiences involve students taking full responsibility for assessment and intervention of their supervising therapist's case load and all the multitude of additional responsibilities related to being an entry-level occupational therapist.
Check out the video below for a closer look at the type of work you can expect to do during your fieldwork experience.