OT Program Information

Occupational Therapy

American Council on OT Education (ACOTE)

Standards for Fieldwork

Fieldwork education is a crucial part of professional preparation and is best integrated as a component of the curriculum design. Fieldwork experiences should be implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness by the educational institution. The experience should provide the student with the opportunity to carry out professional responsibilities under supervision and for professional role modeling. The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the program’s compliance with fieldwork education requirements.

Standard B.10.1. Document the criteria and process for selecting fieldwork sites. Ensure that the fieldwork program reflects the sequence, depth, focus, and scope of content in the curriculum design.

Standard B.10.2. Ensure that the academic fieldwork coordinator and faculty collaborate to design fieldwork experiences that strengthen the ties between didactic and fieldwork education.

Standard B.10.3. Provide fieldwork education in settings that are equipped to meet the curriculum goals, provide educational experiences applicable to the academic program, and have fieldwork educators who are able to effectively meet the learning needs of the students.

Standard B.10.4. Ensure that the academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for advocating the development of links between the fieldwork and didactic aspects of the curriculum, for communicating about the curriculum to fieldwork educators, and for maintaining contracts and site data related to fieldwork placements.

Standard B.10.5 Demonstrate that academic and fieldwork educators collaborate in establishing fieldwork objectives, identifying site requirements, and communicating with the student and fieldwork educator about progress and performance during fieldwork.

Standard B.10.6 Document a policy and procedure for complying with fieldwork site health requirements and maintaining student health records in a secure setting.

Standard B.10.7 Ensure that the ratio of fieldwork educators to student(s) enables proper supervision and the ability to provide frequent assessment of student progress in achieving stated fieldwork objectives.

Standard B.10.8 Ensure that fieldwork agreements are sufficient in scope and number to allow completion of graduation requirements in a timely manner in accordance with the policy adopted by the program.

Standard B.10.9 For programs in which the academic and fieldwork components of the curriculum are provided by two or more institutions, responsibilities of each sponsoring institution and fieldwork site must be clearly documented in a memorandum of understanding. For active Level I and Level II fieldwork sites, programs must have current fieldwork agreements or memoranda of understanding that are signed by both parties. (Electronic contracts and signatures are acceptable.)

Standard B.10.10 Documentation must be provided that each memorandum of understanding between institutions and active fieldwork sites is reviewed at least every 5 years by both parties. Programs must provide documentation that both parties have reviewed the contract.

Standards Specific to Level I Fieldwork:
The goal of Level I fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of clients.

Standard B.10.11 Ensure that Level I fieldwork is integral to the program’s curriculum design and include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process.

Standard B.10.12 Ensure that qualified personnel supervise Level I fieldwork. Examples may include, but are not limited to, currently licensed or credentialed occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, nurses, and physical therapists.

Standard B.10.13 Document all Level I fieldwork experiences that are provided to students, including mechanisms for formal evaluation of student performance. Ensure that Level I fieldwork is not substituted for any part of Level II fieldwork.

Standards Specific to Level II Fieldwork:
The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Level II fieldwork must be integral to the program’s curriculum design and must include an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services. It is recommended that the student be exposed to a variety of clients across the life span and to a variety of settings.

Standard B.10.14 Ensure that the fieldwork experience is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, to transmit the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice, and to develop professionalism and competence in career responsibilities.

Standard B.10.15 Provide Level II fieldwork in traditional and/or emerging settings, consistent with the curriculum design. In all settings, psychosocial factors influencing engagement in occupation must be understood and integrated for the development of client-centered, meaningful, occupation-based outcomes. The student can complete Level II fieldwork in a minimum of one setting if it is reflective of more than one practice area, or in a maximum of four different settings.

Standard B.10.16 Require a minimum of 24 weeks’ full-time Level II fieldwork. This may be completed on a part-time basis as defined by the fieldwork placement in accordance with the fieldwork placements usual and customary personnel policies as long as it is at least 50% of a fulltime equivalent at that site.

Standard B.10.17 Ensure that the student is supervised by a currently licensed or credentialed occupational therapist who has a minimum of 1 year of practice experience subsequent to initial certification, and is adequately prepared to serve as a fieldwork educator. The supervising therapist may be engaged by the fieldwork site or by the educational program.

Standard B.10.18 Document a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of supervision (e.g., student evaluation of fieldwork) and for providing resources for enhancing supervision (e.g., materials on supervisory skills, continuing education opportunities, articles on theory and practice).

Standard B.10.19 Ensure that supervision provides protection of consumers and opportunities for appropriate role modeling of occupational therapy practice. Initially, supervision should be direct and then decrease to less direct supervision as is appropriate for the setting, the severity of the client’s condition, and the ability of the student.

Standard B.10.20 Ensure that supervision provided in a setting where no occupational therapy services exist includes a documented plan for provision of occupational therapy services and supervision by a currently licensed or credentialed occupational therapist with at least 3 years of professional experience. Supervision must include a minimum of 8 hours per week. Supervision must be initially direct and then may be decreased to less direct supervision as is appropriate for the setting, the client’s needs, and the ability of the student. An occupational therapy supervisor must be available, via a variety of contact measures, to the student during all working hours. An onsite supervisor designee of another profession must be assigned while the occupational therapy supervisor is off site.

Standard B.10.21 Document mechanisms for requiring formal evaluation of student performance on Level II fieldwork (e.g., the American Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student or equivalent).

Standard B.10.22 Ensure that students attending Level II fieldwork outside the United States are supervised by an occupational therapist who graduated from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and has 1 year of experience in practice. Such fieldwork must not exceed 12 weeks.