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Occupational Therapy – Fieldwork Education

What is Fieldwork?

Fieldwork is an integral part of the professional training to become an occupational therapist. As stated by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), "the purpose of fieldwork is to propel each generation of occupational therapy practitioners from the role of student to that of practitioner" (AOTA, 2009).  The Accreditation Committee for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Standards require all occupational therapy students to complete rotations for Level I that occurs in the summer in the program at Samuel Merritt University.  The Level II fieldwork placements are three month rotations completed at two different clinical sites usually taking place in the summer and fall of each year to allow the didactic theory to be applied in a real setting. 

What are the fieldwork requirements at Samuel Merritt University?

Fieldwork education at Samuel Merritt University is designed in accordance with the Accreditation Committee for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards of education. Level I Fieldwork is completed in the summer between the first and second years of didactic coursework. Students complete at least a total of 120 hours at two different practice settings. Level I Fieldwork is a hands-on opportunity for students to practice observation skills, professional behaviors, and practical application of occupational therapy theory.

After completing two years of didactic coursework, students begin Level II Fieldwork, three-month rotations at two different clinical sites, totaling six months as required by ACOTE Standards. Level II Fieldwork is the final stage of professional education, designed to transition a student to the full responsibilities of an entry-level occupational therapist. 

All occupational therapy students must successfully complete Level I and Level II fieldwork prior to graduating and becoming eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination.

Who are the Academic Fieldwork Coordinators (AFWC)?

Beth Ching
Beth Ching M.Ed, OTR/L
Donna Berger Stanton
Donna Breger Stanton OTD, OTR/L,
CHT, FAOTA

The Academic Fieldwork Coordinators are the Samuel Merritt University faculty members who oversee the fieldwork education. The Level I Fieldwork Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC) is Beth Ching, MEd, OTR/L. She can be reached via email: bching@samuelmerritt.edu or by telephone: 510-869-6511x4918.

The Level II Fieldwork Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC) is Donna Breger Stanton, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, FAOTA. Dr. Breger Stanton can be reached via email: dbreger@samuelmerritt.edu or by telephone: 510-869-6743.  In addition, Goli Hashemi, MPH, OTR/L, adjunct occupational therapy faculty, is assisting with securing placements and other relevant duties.

Who are the Fieldwork Educators (FWE)?

A Fieldwork Educator is the clinician who directly supervises a student on site during fieldwork. For Level I Fieldwork, the Fieldwork Educator is often an occupational therapist, although this is not a requirement per ACOTE standards. A student could be supervised by an individual in another health profession (such as a recreation therapist, physical therapist, or social worker) for one of the two Level I Fieldwork placements.

For Level II Fieldwork, occupational therapists with at least one year of experience post-graduation are qualified to supervise a student.

How to use this site?

Please use this site to learn more about requirements for fieldwork, how to complete and access forms, and how to locate other resources. Information is included for both fieldwork students and fieldwork educators.  Please link to either for paperwork or forms that have been posted for your convenience.

For questions or suggestions about this webpage please contact:

Donna Breger Stanton at dbreger@samuelmerritt.edu.