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ASOT OTD Student Handbook: Fieldwork

This FW handbook is a part of the overall ASOT OTD Program Student Handbook
Level I Fieldwork

Goals and Purpose of Level I Fieldwork:

Level I Fieldwork provides students with a view of occupational therapy practice while still completing academic coursework. The goals of Level I Fieldwork are to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of clients (ACOTE Standards, 2018). The purpose of Level I Fieldwork is to provide practice application experiences designed to enrich didactic course work through directed observation and participation utilizing the occupational therapy process in diverse settings which serve client needs spanning the age range, diagnoses, and populations. These experiences are not intended to emphasize independent performance but promote and facilitate the development of professional and clinical skills essential for engagement in Level II Fieldwork. Level I Fieldwork experiences allow students to develop beginning level skills and to apply theoretical concepts and his/her knowledge base to practical experiences, but Level I Fieldwork experiences do not substitute for any part of any Level II Fieldwork course

Students will be provided with supervision from qualified Level I Fieldwork Educators. Fieldwork Educators for Level I experiences may be licensed Occupational Therapists as well as other qualified personnel like Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapists, Teachers, Psychologists, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Social Workers, Activity Directors, even Level II Fieldwork students - with guidance from their Level II Fieldwork Educators. (ACOTE Standard C.1.8.). 

The role of the Level I fieldwork student is observer and participant in the delivery of healthcare services for developing beginning level competence of becoming an occupational therapist. ASOT students will complete five Level I fieldwork experiences that are strategically designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process (ACOTE standard C.1.9.). ASOT Level I fieldwork experiences are:

• OT 745, Level I A – Work, Industry, and Orthopedic Practice Fieldwork
• OT 755, Level I B – Rehabilitation and Disability Fieldwork
• OT 765, Level I C – Psychosocial Practice Fieldwork** (ACOTE standard C.1.7.)
• OT 775, Level I D – Children and Youth Practice Fieldwork
• OT 795, Level I E –  Productive Aging (Elder Mentor Project)

Students will practice effective professional behavior and communication skills with fieldwork professionals/team personnel and clients as well as ASOT faculty, staff, and student peers. Students will continue to develop observation, assessment, planning, and intervention skills for all clients served who may have physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and/or developmental disruptions/conditions, which may negatively impact the person, environment, and functional process. Level I Fieldwork includes ethical considerations in service delivery settings as well. 

**OT 765 will be completed in collaboration with Jefferson Community and Technical College Occupational Therapy Assistant program to promote the OT/OTA professional relationship through real experiences. Assignments for this course will guide experiential learning and relationship development of the OT and OTA student practitioners.**


Level I Fieldwork is coordinated with its respective occupational therapy evaluation/intervention course offered concurrently. Successful completion of all classes prior to each Level I Fieldwork experience and its respective evaluation/intervention course is prerequisite for engaging in fieldwork. 

Level I Fieldwork typically occurs during the last three weeks of trimesters 3, 4, and 5 in the ASOT OTD curriculum. Students are expected to complete at least 40 on-site hours (e.g. 8 hrs/day, Monday through Friday) for each Level I fieldwork experience and must make arrangements with their Fieldwork Educators to complete extra fieldwork days if they do not meet the 40 hour expectation or if course-specific learning experiences are assigned (specifically OT 765). Typical start times are between 7:30-9:00am, and typical stop times are between 3:30-5:30pm. Fieldwork Educators will inform their students of specific start/stop times based on their agencies’ operations. Students must arrange their personal schedules on fieldwork days so they may arrive early at their agencies to avoid being late and to stay as late as needed when learning opportunities present themselves, if outside the typical work day schedule.

On occasion, unique schedules for fieldwork experiences may be arranged to best meet the operational needs of the fieldwork site, to accommodate the curricular design, and/or to provide students with rich clinical experiences. When this occurs, students will be matched with the fieldwork agency on a volunteer basis due to experience being different from what they originally registered. When these unique fieldwork learning experiences occur, communication between all parties will occur to agree on alternate arrangements/ dates for Level I Fieldwork experiences so as to provide adequate time for planning and implementation.

Students will engage in documentation lab before Level I Fieldwork begins in trimester 3 and will practice their newly acquired documentation skills during each Level I Fieldwork experience. Additionally, students will engage in seminar discussions during and/or after the Level I Fieldwork experience to share learning experiences with peers. Seminars and documentation labs will occur via in-class and on-line delivery methods.  In support of current methodologies of student learning and instructor teaching, the on-line learning platform, Canvas, will be utilized as a means for seminar delivery at identified intervals during the session. The purpose of using Canvas as a part of Level I Fieldwork experiences is to continue seminar discussions and documentation practice, but in a way that facilitates learning using technology. This method supports the current use of technology at Spalding University, and it also provides another means for course participation that will help meet the needs and comfort level of all students (in conjunction with seminars and documentation labs scheduled in the classroom). 

Student/Fieldwork Agency Matching Process:

The selection of settings for Level I Fieldwork will be varied, reflecting the numerous service delivery models within the practice community and service provision for clients across the lifespan continuum. Students will be placed in settings by the ASOT Academic Fieldwork Director.  Students may not request agencies for Level I Fieldwork experiences. On occasion, the Fieldwork Director will request volunteers for unique learning experiences; the student selected will typically be on a first come, first serve basis, per the discretion of the Fieldwork Director based on a student's individual learning needs.  


For each Level I Fieldwork course, an orientation session will include in-depth review of the purpose, objectives, learning assignments, and evaluation methods. This orientation session is held prior to beginning each Level I Fieldwork.  Attendance for all fieldwork orientation sessions is mandatory.  


1. Gateley, C., Borcherding, S, (2017). Documentation Manual for Occupational Therapy, Writing SOAP Notes (5th ed.), Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Incorporated. (ISBN: 978-1-63091-231-4)

2. AOTA Practice Framework, 3rd Edition

3. Conners, R., Smith, T., Hickman, C., (1994). The Oz Principle, Getting Through Individual and Organizational Accountability. New York, NY: Portfolio. (ISBN: 978-1-59184-024-4)

4. Spalding University Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Student Handbook

5. Texts required for the corresponding evaluation/intervention course


1. Reed, K. L. (2014). Quick Reference to Occupational Therapy (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. (ISBN: 978-1-4164-0545-0)

2. Zoltan, B. (2007). Vision, Perception, and Cognition, A Manual for the Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult with Acquired Brain Injury (4th ed.), Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Incorporated. (ISBN: 978-1-55642-738-1)

3. Sladyk, K. (2002). The Successful Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Student. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Incorporated. (ISBN: 1-55642-562-7)

4. Kasar, J., Clark, E. (2000). Developing Professional Behaviors. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Incorporated. (ISBN: 978-1-55642-316-1)

For a quick reference of the general guidelines of how to be a successful fieldwork student, please visit "The Dos and Don'ts of ASOT Fieldwork Students" found in the Level I Documents and Forms section of this Fieldwork Handbook.