The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines fieldwork as practice based learning experiences that develop the students’ integration of classroom knowledge and laboratory skills. The profession uses the term fieldwork instead of internships or clinical rotations as the (OT) profession provides service in diverse sites outside of traditional hospital or medical model settings. OTs provide intervention services or practice in various community settings, rehabilitation centers, out-patient settings, school systems, private practice, long term care centers, in work and industrial settings, and in private homes.
Fieldwork experiences are designed to encompass a range of OT services. These experiences allow the student to try out concepts learned in the classroom or the laboratory. Each fieldwork experience is designed to progressively build on previous skills and knowledge. Augusta University (AU) OT curriculum design provides fieldwork experiences during each semester of the Master of Health Science (MHS) in OT program. The AU OT’s curriculum design and learning activities include supportive experiential learning experiences that progress the students’ level of knowledge, skills, and values for entry level competence.
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE, 2006) specifies fieldwork requirements for all students. The requirements are divided into two major classifications: Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. The integration of Level I and Level II experiences can be symbolized as stepping stones toward competency.