Occupational Therapy – Fieldwork Education

What is fieldwork?

Fieldwork is an integral part of the professional education to become an occupational therapist. During fieldwork, students are assigned to practice sites in the community and are trained by working clinicians. Fieldwork provides an opportunity to apply and integrate academic learning.


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. Level I fieldwork is completed in the summer between the first and second years of didactic coursework. Students complete two 40 hour experiences in two different practice settings: one in an adult physical disabilities and another in mental health.  An optional Level I fieldwork is offered in pediatrics. Level I fieldwork is a hands-on opportunity for students to practice observation skills, professional behaviors, and application of occupational therapy theory. 

Students comlplete Level II fieldwork following two years of didactic coursework. Level II fieldwork includes three-month rotations at two different clinical sites, totaling six months. Level II fieldwork is designed to transition a student to the full responsibilities of an entry-level occupational therapist. 


Who are academic fieldwork coordinators (AFWC)?

Liz Kleine
Liz Kleine, MOT, OTR/L
AFWC Level I

Domenique Embrey, MS, OTR/L
Domenique Embrey, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Academic fieldwork coordinators are the faculty members who oversee fieldwork education. The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for Level I fieldwork is Liz Kleine, MOT, OTR/L. She can be reached at lkleine@samuelmerritt.edu  or 510-879-9200 x7519.

The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for Level II fieldwork is Domenique Embrey, OTD, MS, OTR/L.  She can be reached at dembrey@samuelmerrritt.edu or 510-510-879-9200 x7520. 


Who are fieldwork educators?

A fieldwork educator is the clinician who directly supervises a student on site during fieldwork. For Level I fieldwork, the educator is often an occupational therapist, although this is not required by ACOTE. A student could be supervised by an individual in another health profession (such as a recreation therapist, physical therapist, or social worker) during Level I fieldwork.

Level II fieldwork educators are occupational therapists who have at least one year of full-time practice experience. The supervising occupational therapist must be licensed to practice in his/her state. 

If you have any questions about qualifications to be a fieldwork educator, or if you are interested in supervising a fieldwork student, please contact us at otfieldwork@samuelmerritt.edu

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