Fieldwork will provide an opportunity for you to apply the professional reasoning and practice concepts learned in class through hands-on practice.
Also, your fieldwork experiences will:
- Prepare you as a future leader in occupational therapy to work in a variety of practice settings such as skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, public schools, behavioral health centers, rehabilitation centers, adult day programs and other community-based programs.
- Prepare you to act as role models for providing occupation-based services to clients across the lifespan using evidence to guide decision-making.
- Enable you to practice occupational therapy by engaging clients to optimize human performance and participation in everyday occupations and contexts across the lifespan.
Fieldwork More Information
Forms and resources
- E*Value Fieldwork Student Training Manual
- CSU OT Criminal Background Check, Drug Test, HIPAA, OSHA Policy and Procedures
- CSU Student Authorization of Information Form 2019
- Student Authorization to Release Records
- Equipment Resource Use Agreement Form
- Photo Release Form
- Physical Exam Note
How does fieldwork progress over the program?
- Fieldwork is integrated with occupational therapy coursework to apply course concepts in practice with mentorship from occupational therapy faculty and fieldwork educators.
- Students gradually acquire performance competencies and professional behaviors expected of an occupational therapist through progressively greater responsibility and independence during supervised fieldwork experiences.
- Fieldwork is divided into two stages of professional performance with progressively higher expectations, level I and level II fieldwork.
- There are three level I fieldworks, each one for 40 hours, and two level II fieldworks, each for 12 weeks full-time.
Where are the fieldwork sites located?
- There are in-state and out-of-state fieldwork placements available in our network of over 280 contracts. The fieldwork office does ALL recruiting of ALL Level I/II placements.
- Because of limited availability of fieldwork sites; however, and to ensure the best possible fit between you and a fieldwork site, you may be required to commute up to 1½ hours OR to relocate to another region for level I and level II fieldwork.
What are the financial aspects of fieldwork?
- You are responsible for the financial aspects of doing fieldwork, including but not limited to:
- Relocation expenses
- Commuting expenses
- Professional liability insurance
- Access to the E*Value fieldwork database system
- Annual criminal background checks through CastleBranch
- American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) training
- Prerequisites including immunizations that are required by fieldwork sites
What immunization, health and student records are required for fieldwork?
- DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus) or TD (Tetanus, Diphtheria)
- Hepatitis B (3 shot series)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
- Negative Two-Step PPD (TB test). X-ray may be required if test is positive
- Varicella vaccine, varicella titer, or date of chicken pox documented by medical records
- Photo Release Form
- Student Authorization to Release Records, OT Policies and Procedures for Fieldwork
- Student Authorization Information Form
- Equipment/Resource Use Form
- CastleBranch Package OK30: Criminal background check, drug test, HIPAA and OSHA eLearning package $93
- CSU OT Student Name Badge $10
- Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification ($70)
Medical documentation is required for each immunization.
Note: Costs for immunizations, titers, and health checks vary across the country, check your local healthcare provider for information in your area.
How am I assigned my fieldwork?
- To achieve a successful learning experience, we are committed to matching your interests and abilities with characteristics of the fieldwork sites.
- You are provided group and individual advising for fieldwork site selection.
- We provide regularly scheduled fieldwork meetings to guide you during the fieldwork program.
Character requirements for fieldwork and NBCOT certification
You may be required by fieldwork sites to complete screenings including but not limited to: criminal background checks, drug screenings and health/immunization requirements. Failure to successfully complete such requirements may lead to limited options for fieldwork. Contact Debi Krogh-Michna in the fieldwork office if you have questions about the criminal background check process to meet fieldwork requirements.
You must also pass similar requirements imposed by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy to be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam.
Prospective students are encouraged to participate in NBCOT’s Early Determination Character Review prior to applying to the program. If you have questions or would like additional information you may visit the NBCOT web site or contact them at 301-990-7979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To practice occupational therapy, you must pass NBCOT’s national certification exam. After successful completion, you will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Many states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam and continuing education requirements that are unique from state to state.
Additional information about occupational therapy can be obtained by contacting the American Occupational Therapy Association at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, phone (301) 652-2682.
CSU OT policy on fieldwork sites charging fees for student placements
Since the inception of the profession, The American Occupational Therapy Association has required fieldwork internships as part of the comprehensive educational preparation for occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant students. Fieldwork is provided through contracted partnerships between OT/OTA academic programs and fieldwork sites in medical and community practice settings serving clients across the life span. These educational partnerships are based on a shared commitment to the next generation of entry-level practitioners to support the values and beliefs of the profession and create a diverse workforce to meet the health needs of society. The benefits of fieldwork partnerships extend to students, practitioners, employers and clients. Fieldwork bridges academic and professional practice by developing students’ clinical skills, professional reasoning, professional behavior, theory and evidence-based practice. And, by being continually engaged with student questions, practitioners engage in active clinical reasoning, which might otherwise become habitual. Fieldwork also strengthens the professional competence and continuing education of the fieldwork educator through academic faculty partnerships in practice and scholarship. Fieldwork increases therapist recruitment and clinical productivity for many sites. Therefore, fieldwork is perceived as a professional responsibility and service whereby experienced practitioners contribute to the ongoing development of their profession.
Charging fees for fieldwork threaten the historical values and beliefs of the educational partnership between academic programs and fieldwork sites, including the professional responsibility to promote continuation of the profession through educating upcoming practitioners. Further, charging fees introduces a risk of students expecting favorable outcomes with the exchange of money for fieldwork, an educational service. There are equity issues for students whose economic status presents barriers for the means to fund the fieldwork fee. Fieldwork fees create an elitist exception for those students who cannot afford fees, creating an environment of education at a price. Thus, not all students enrolled in the same program are eligible for a particular site, and not because of a perceived mismatch between the skills of a student and the needs of a facility. Rather, some students are able to access sites charging fees only because of personal economic resources. Fees are not value added, but only add burden to the student. There should be a level playing ground to give access to all students for fieldwork opportunities, not just for a few students who can “afford” the experience. Students should not have to fundraise or take out more loans to pay for foundational educational, clinical experiences and requirements for the degree. Most of all, it negates the educational partnerships supporting the mutual benefit of the student, fieldwork educators, and academic faculty who thrive with a lively professional discourse about evidence-based practice, clinical reasoning, and scholarly endeavors.
There is the possibility that sites expect academic programs to assume the financial responsibility to pay for students to do fieldwork, which is unrealistic and impossible given the sheer numbers of students in academic programs and financial hardship it entails.
Recipients of service, vested stakeholders in the fieldwork education process, also lose opportunities to influence and guide future OT practitioners. Many clients value the opportunity to work with energetic students who bring fresh ideas and new ways of doing into the traditional practice environment. Students motivate and invigorate clients in the therapeutic context with mutually valuable learning and service provision.
The CSU OT Department renounces and discourages fieldwork sites from charging fees for placements by not paying fees charged for fieldwork placements. The CSU OT Department neither supports nor endorses fieldwork sites charging fees for student placements. We stand united, alongside other fieldwork education consortiums (e.g., California OT Fieldwork Council, New England OT Education Consortium), against this threat to the fieldwork education partnerships in occupational therapy. Asking for payment from OT students, whose earning power will never even approach that of other professionals who have traditionally paid for internships is a travesty.
Fieldwork Additional Resources
Sequence of Fieldwork
Students complete five fieldworks throughout the program. Learn more about these fieldwork requirements.
As a fieldwork educator you provide an important and unique role supporting the educational bridge linking our occupational therapy academic program with practice.