All OT students get experience in multiple settings. You will:

  • treat clients in several Nazareth on-campus clinics under faculty supervision
  • do fieldwork at off-campus sites, gaining supervised experience working with clients ranging from infants to elderly adults

Fieldwork is designed to meet all of the standards required by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and has two levels.

Level I Fieldwork

As ACOTE explains, "The goal is to introduce students to the fieldwork, apply knowledge to practice, and develop understanding of the needs of clients." (ACOTE, 2018).

Level I fieldwork is not intended to develop independent performance, but to "include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process." (ACOTE, 2018).

Several Level I fieldwork experiences are interwoven throughout the OT curriculum. In addition to on campus observations in the labs and clinics, you will have the opportunity to observe at sites in the community. These experiences will introduce you to the types of individuals served by occupational therapy and how those services are delivered across the age spectrum. Written assignments evaluate your observational experiences and how your observations relate to occupation. 

Level II Fieldwork

The Level II fieldwork experiences, which begin the graduate phase of study, are scheduled for 12 weeks in the summer following your fourth year and for 12 weeks in the fall of your fifth year, for 24 weeks total. Level II fieldwork is a crucial part of professional preparation. 

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, the goal of Level II fieldwork is “to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists.” (ACOTE, 2018). 

The Level II Fieldwork experience, an integral part of OT education, should be designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, to support ethical practice through transmission of the values and beliefs of the profession, to communicate and model professionalism as a developmental process and a career responsibility, and to expand knowledge and application of a repertoire of occupational therapy assessments and interventions related to human occupation and performance. Through the fieldwork experience, students learn to apply theoretical and scientific principles learned in the didactic portion of the academic program to address actual client needs and develop a professional identity as an occupational therapy practitioner within an interdisciplinary context. The fieldwork experience shall meet requirements in accordance with the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist and/or the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (ACOTE, 2018).

You can choose different settings/experiences:

  • site serving adults with neurological, physical, and cognitive/perceptual disabilities
  • pediatric or school-based site
  • psychosocial site

During the two fieldwork experiences, you will work with an occupational therapist and be expected to use evidence-based evaluation and treatment methods and apply information learned in the classroom.

occupational therapy clinic at Nazareth College