(OTA) has you excited and laser-focused. After earning your occupational therapy assistant degree, you’ll be carrying out treatment plans for children with developmental challenges, employees eager to return to work, and senior adults who want to remain in their home as long as possible. The classroom learning and time in OTA labs make sense, but what happens during those four to five months of required OTA fieldwork? The answer: OTA fieldwork gives you the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in class to real OTA work environments – all before you graduate!
Like any other profession, OTAs become proficient in applying learned knowledge, skills, and methods through plenty of guided practice and exposure to real-world treatment scenarios. In a two-year occupational therapy assistant program, interacting with individuals begins quickly – as soon as the second semester.
The expertise you’ll have as a professional OTA will be enhanced through the structured fieldwork experiences. Trained fieldwork educators will coach you and provide graded feedback on your performance.
There are two fieldwork levels, each with different objectives defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
The goal of Level I fieldwork for the occupational therapy assistant degree is to help you be comfortable in a client setting and understand the methods used to evaluate progress toward treatment goals.
You won’t be working directly with individuals in Level I, but your classroom and lab learning will gain deeper meaning through observation and discussion with OTAs and supervising Occupational Therapists.
In Level I, you’ll gain an introduction to the entire scope of the occupational therapy profession. Work settings will be as wide as the occupational therapy assistant program’s network allows. If possible, the range will include
Student schedules for fieldwork vary with the OTA program and are tailored to the needs of the practitioner network. Options can be full days within a school term, full days in alternating weeks, half-days, or one-week periods.
The goal of Level II fieldwork in an occupational therapy assistant program is to develop occupational therapy skills and sharpen clinical reasoning.
Much time is spent delivering various occupational therapy services to individuals, guided by the fieldwork educator. Additional time is spent thinking through the activities used, evaluating their effectiveness, and discussing ways treatments could be enhanced.
Within the Level II framework, students in an occupational therapy assistant degree program are exposed to many client scenarios and both traditional and emergency environments.
Although fieldwork is just one component of an OTA’s education, it’s a critically important one in the journey to becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The quality of the fieldwork instruction, together with your coursework and lab training, helps ensure success on the OTA certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
You already know becoming an OTA is for you, and you like that it’s a top-25 health care role with a competitive salary. If you have questions about your career journey, like how to pay for your occupational therapy assistant degree, Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) can help provide the answers.
Cleveland University-Kansas City is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC has a well-planned, comprehensive OTA program leading to the Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree.
In as little as two years, you can be prepared for national certification, licensure, and employment as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Each class size is limited to allow for personalized instruction. You can select a spring or fall start date.
For detailed information about the OTA profession, download the free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.