Fieldwork & Experiential Education
Fieldwork Education: ACOTE Standards & Definitions
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) establishes Fieldwork Education Standards for entry-level OTD programs (ACOTE, 2018). As defined by ACOTE, “Fieldwork education is a crucial part of professional preparation and is best integrated as a component of the curriculum design. The fieldwork experience is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, transmit the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice, and develop professionalism and competence in career responsibilities. 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 the supervision of qualified personnel serving as a role model. The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the program’s compliance with fieldwork education requirements.” [Standard C.1.0] (ACOTE, 2018).
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” (ACOTE, 2018, p.41).
Level I Fieldwork Supervisors - Ensure that personnel who supervise Level
I fieldwork are informed of the curriculum and fieldwork program design and affirm their ability to support the fieldwork experience. This must occur prior to the onset of the Level I fieldwork. Examples include, but are not limited to, currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, physicians, speech language pathologists, nurses, and physical therapists. [Standard C.1.8] (ACOTE, 2018).
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 lifespan and to a variety of settings.” (ACOTE, 2018, p.42)
The WNE OTD student shall complete “a minimum of 24 weeks’ fulltime Level II fieldwork. This may be completed on a part-time basis, as defined by the fieldwork placement in accordance with the fieldwork placement’s usual and customary personnel policies, as long as it is at least 50% of an FTE at that site. 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 C.1.10] (ACOTE, 2018, p.42)
Level II Fieldwork Educators – The WNE OTD fieldwork educator is the occupational therapist currently in practice who serves as the primary experiential educator for the WNE OTD student. The fieldwork educator “that the student is supervised by a currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist who has a minimum of 1 year full-time (or its equivalent) of practice experience as a licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist prior to the onset of the Level II fieldwork…..and is adequately prepared to serve as a fieldwork educator prior to the Level II fieldwork. The supervising therapist may be engaged by the fieldwork site or by the educational program.” [Standard C.1.11] (ACOTE, 2018, p.42)
Role Emerging Level II Fieldwork – WNE OTD students can also complete Level II fieldwork in a practice setting where OT services are emerging to serve a specific population. Is this circumstance, the WNE OTD clinical faculty develop and implement a “documented plan for provision of occupational therapy services and supervision by a currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist with at least 3 years’ full-time or its equivalent of professional experience prior to the Level II fieldwork. Supervision must include a minimum of 8 hours of direct supervision each week of the fieldwork experience. An occupational therapy supervisor must be available, via a variety of contact measures, to the student during all working hours. An on-site supervisor designee of another profession must be assigned while the occupational therapy supervisor is off site.” [Standard C.1.14] (ACOTE, 2018, p.43)
2018 Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Standards and Interpretive Guide (December 2020 Interpretive Guide Version). (2018). AOTA