Fieldwork experience is crucial to the preparation of an occupational therapist and is an integral part of the occupational therapy curriculum at Spalding. When students engage in fieldwork, they apply their classroom knowledge to real-life situations by serving clients at fieldwork agencies with whom the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) strategically partners.
Fieldwork learning occurs under supervision by an on-site fieldwork educator, who will act as a professional mentor to each student. Fieldwork educators are identified by the agencies as qualified leaders and supervisors.
The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy has a team of faculty, who are experts in a variety of content, to coach and mentor students through the fieldwork process.
Future and Current Students
All students will engage in two types of fieldwork education: Level I and Level II Fieldwork.
Level I fieldwork
All occupational therapy students at Spalding University complete a minimum of four Level I fieldwork experiences and one specialty Level I fieldwork focusing on productive aging. These Level I fieldwork experiences take place one day a week for approximately 25 weeks during the second year of the program linked with academic learning experiences. The fieldwork experience is embedded within local pediatric settings, schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term skilled nursing facilities, community agencies, and with private practitioners. Weekly seminars occur on campus after the fieldwork visit has occurred for students to share and discuss learning experiences with each other as well as to begin learning how to document the occupational therapy process.
Level II fieldwork
Upon successful completion of all Level I fieldwork experiences and preparatory coursework, occupational therapy students are required to complete 24 weeks of full-time Level II fieldwork to be eligible to take the national certification examination in occupational therapy and to become licensed to practice in the United States. The MSOT program divides the 24 weeks into two (12) week experiences.
Students in the MSOT program at Spalding University complete Level II fieldwork experiences in numerous practice environments. ASOT has strategic fieldwork partnerships with practice settings in and around the Louisville-metro area as well as out-of-state locations including Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, California, Oregon, Colorado, and other states. International students may be able to set up one Level II experience in their country of origin in qualifying agencies in order to facilitate an experience that will support their return home. All agencies working with Spalding University for the education of the MSOT students have entered into contracts assuring that missions are aligned and educational standards for high-quality experiences are achieved.
For each fieldwork experience, each student is carefully matched with fieldwork agencies to provide well-rounded learning experiences. For Level I fieldwork, students may be expected to travel up to an hour and a half driving radius from Spalding University’s campus. For Level II fieldwork, students will be matched with settings inside and outside of the Louisville-Metropolitan area. Students are responsible for all fieldwork-related expenses, including but not limited to housing, transportation, meals, and additional fieldwork agency requirements.
In order to ensure the safety of and reduce risks to clients, students, faculty, affiliating agencies, and Spalding University, students must comply with the following requirements prior to and during any off-campus learning experience (unique learning experiences, service learning, observations, fieldwork, etc). Failure to comply with any of these requirements may jeopardize a student’s enrollment status in the program.
- Complete criminal background checks upon admission into the program, at the beginning of Level I fieldwork, and per request of the fieldwork agency as stated in the ASOT student handbook.
- Background check results must be clear of felonies
- Maintain current immunizations, CPR certification, and proof of health insurance. Complete drug screens upon request of the fieldwork agency.
- Complete education on infection control and prevention.
- Complete education on corporate responsibility and HIPAA/HITECH compliance.
- Disclose health conditions/disabilities to the Office of Student Accessibility prior to any fieldwork experience (especially Level II Fieldwork) and must seek accommodations for conditions that have potential to impact their ability to perform fieldwork (if these conditions have not been previously disclosed and formally accommodated through the University).
Learn more details about fieldwork in this curriculum.
No occupational therapy educational program could be complete without support from and the assistance of the Level I and Level II Fieldwork Educators. A Fieldwork Educator is a title given by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) that describes the individual(s) identified by the fieldwork agency as the lead person who guides and supervises students of occupational therapy during onsite learning experiences.
Being a fieldwork educator is an exciting opportunity and skill builder. Upon meeting qualifications to be a Level I and/or Level II Fieldwork Educator, you are provided with support, tutorials, and resources to prepare you for hosting and supervising students from this program. Below are only a few of many benefits of being a Fieldwork Educator:
- Professional growth and enhanced competency as a practitioner
- Professional experience as a teacher, coach, and supervisor
- Earning professional development/continuing competency units for certification and licensure renewal
- Direct relationship with academic institutions and faculty
- Access to university library resources
- Professional education opportunities
Learn more about Level I and Level II fieldwork, view the online Fieldwork Educator Resources and Information for helpful tips and strategies when supervising students.