Fieldwork at USC Chan
Students completing an entry-level degree at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy will complete fieldwork in a variety of settings and practice areas. Fieldwork emphasizes applying knowledge and refining skills through supervised clinical interactions and professional role-modeling with clients, families and other health care professionals.
According to the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist, Level I and Level II Fieldwork are defined as the following:
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 (2018).
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 (2018).
Fall Level I Fieldwork Dates
Typically, Level I fieldwork is one full day per week in a practice setting related to the Practice Immersion course for ten weeks with one full-time week at the same facility during the fourth or fifth week of the experience. The student will be expected to assume the schedule of their fieldwork educator during the fieldwork experience.
September 13 – November 19, 2021
Full week 2nd-year students: October 18–22, 2021
Full week 1st-year students: October 25–29, 2021
Fall Level II Fieldwork Dates
The first Level II experience is typically during the summer after the first year in the program, and the second occurs during the summer after the second year, each for 12 weeks.
August 23 – November 12, 2021
Spring Level I Fieldwork Dates
January 31 – April 15, 2022
Full week: March 7–11, 2022
Summer Level II Fieldwork Dates
May 16 – August 5, 2022
May 15 – August 4, 2023
Site Selection Guidelines
All fieldwork experiences are assigned by the Fieldwork Team. Level I fieldwork assignments correspond with your practice immersion and the following guidelines are provided to assist the student in the selection of Level II fieldwork experiences:
- You must select Level II fieldwork sites in a practice area in which you have completed the practice immersion course.
- It is strongly recommended that Level II Fieldwork be completed in more than one practice area and that the student is exposed to a variety of clients across the lifespan. For example, if you choose adult physical rehabilitation for your first Level II fieldwork experience, you may choose pediatrics for your second.
- Since all sites have a limited number of spaces, you will choose ten sites and rank them in order of preference.
- If you are matched with a site requiring an interview, you must schedule the interview as soon as possible with the site contact person. If, after the interview, it is determined that this is not a good match, please contact the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator immediately to arrange another site selection. It is appropriate to write a thank you letter following an interview.
- No fieldwork site can be guaranteed, due to center cancellations or circumstances beyond the control of the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. In the event of a cancellation, the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator will work with you to find another site.
Students have an opportunity to complete Level II fieldwork outside of the Southern California area. The out-of-area request process begins in the fall semester each year. USC has affiliation agreements with over 850 sites in 38 states across the nation, as well as the potential for developing new fieldwork sites in areas not currently represented.
Please keep the following in mind:
- Students must be registered for fieldwork to receive a grade. For full-time fieldwork, students register for OT 586 (2 units). Follow the Schedule of Classes for registration deadlines.
- Second year MA-II students who are doing a summer fieldwork must register for OT 586 (2 units) before completing spring classes and prior to the date of graduation.
- If it is necessary for you to repeat a fieldwork, you will need to register for OT 586 in the corresponding session. Consult with the Division Fieldwork Coordinator should this occur.
- The spring USC student health insurance fee covers summer fieldwork. If students are enrolled for a fall fieldwork, they will automatically be enrolled in student health insurance as well. Student Health Services works in conjunction with student health insurance; therefore those fees will also be charged. Consult with the Eric Cohen Student Health Center about further coverage questions.
- Students are responsible for living expenses and other school and incidental costs incurred during the course of Level II Fieldwork.
- Students are also responsible for contacting the fieldwork site/educator well in advance to ensure that the staff is aware of your arrival, and to complete any additional site requirements. If a student requires reasonable and necessary accommodations, it is recommended that he/she contact the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for assistance with the process of informing the fieldwork site supervisor(s).
- The Personal Data Sheet (Appendix A of the Fieldwork Manual) contains important information about each student for the fieldwork site. All information must be completed and returned to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator upon request.
In order to be eligible for the NBCOT® exam, you are required to complete two, full-time, 12-week fieldwork experiences for a total of 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork. Circumstances requiring prolonged absences jeopardize this attendance requirement. Students who are absent may need to remain at the facility until the required number of weeks has been completed. This is determined by the fieldwork site educator and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.
There are no excused absences except those required by the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy or the fieldwork site. All other time must be made up. Contact the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator if you have any questions about absences.
Some fieldwork sites have flex schedules. The student will be expected to assume the schedule of his/her fieldwork educator during the fieldwork experience.
Students may be required to complete additional work outside of work hours to prepare for fieldwork. Students are preparing for a professional career in which this type of commitment is a standard part of professional conduct and participation.
Each fieldwork site determines the holiday observances and/or leave time that each student will be granted. If the fieldwork site educator determines that a student is not meeting the minimum number of hours for attendance, the student may be required to make up those days. Contact the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator if you have questions.
Upon completion of fieldwork, students are given a grade of Credit or No Credit based on the final scores of the AOTA Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student. This final score is determined by your direct educator at the fieldwork site. Students must achieve at least the minimum passing score to receive a grade of Credit. Grades are submitted to the Grade Department at the close of the semester for which the student is registered.
For questions or concerns regarding fieldwork, please contact the Division’s academic fieldwork team.
Other Fieldwork Resources
There are several prerequisite requirements that all entry-level USC OT students need to fulfill prior to doing any level of fieldwork. As an entry-level OT student at USC, you are required to complete the following:
- Your Fieldwork Student Profile at Exxat.
- Student Health Clearance to ensure current compliance for required immunizations and health history.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) certification.
- Complete the University HIPAA Compliance Education module and have documentation of HIPAA competence.
- Access the HIPAA Privacy Education Program.
- Learning Style Inventory. See Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire.
- Bloodborne Pathogens Training — scheduled through the division.
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification by the American Heart Association is required while you are in the program. The course students need to take is Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (commonly called “BLS for Healthcare Providers”). The certificate is valid for 2 years. All incoming students will be required to take this class in September of their first year. The cost to attend is currently $50. You will be notified of the time and date through the Division’s email listservs.
You may be required by your fieldwork site to complete additional site-specific requirements. Please do not complete these UNLESS you are informed by the fieldwork team or the site to complete them. Site-specific requirements may include one or all of the following:
- Live Scan Fingerprinting. Fingerprinting can be completed through Live Scan fingerprinting services.
- Background check and/or drug testing. Unless your site specifies a vendor, USC OT recommends CastleBranch.com. Ask your site first if they will accept CastleBranch.com.
- Go to CastleBranch.
- Click on Place Order.
- In the package code box, enter the package code for the tests you are ordering:
- Students needing BOTH Background Check and Drug Test: enter code UA64
- Students needing ONLY Background Check: enter code UA64BC
- Students needing ONLY Drug Test: enter code UA64DT
- Click “Submit.”
- Follow the prompts to complete the order. Once your order is submitted, you will receive a password via email to view your results. The results will be available in approximately 48-72 hours.
- Site-specific application.
- Site-specific orientation.
- Site-specific HIPAA training.
- LA County Fire Safety Training.
- Mask fit testing.
On April 14,2003, a new law, entitled the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) came into effect. This law pertains to protection of health information relating to the health of an individual, the care provided or payment for care. HIPAA includes classroom case-related activities and clinical experiences (including observations, research, fieldwork, residencies, etc.) where you would have access to an individual’s health information.
In accordance with this law, all USC occupational science and occupational therapy students need to complete the University HIPAA Compliance Education module and have documentation of HIPAA competence.
The USC HIPAA Compliance Education module is accessible through TrojanLearn, the University-wide online learning and development platform. Simply go to the USC HIPAA Privacy Education Program:
- Click on Log On to TrojanLearn
- You will be directed to the Shibboleth log-in page
- Enter your USC NetID and Password
- You should arrive at the TrojanLearn Homepage
- Click on Office of Compliance under USC Training.
- Locate and register for the HIPAA Privacy Education Program and follow the instructions to complete all 10 chapters. At the end of each chapter there will be a quiz. Once you pass the quiz, proceed to the next chapter.
- When you’ve completed all modules and passed all quizzes, save an electronic version of your Certificate of Completion.
- Upload your Certificate of Completion to your Fieldwork Student Profile at Exxat.
Keep one copy for future use.
- This certificate is often needed for site visits in other classes during both years of your program.
- Your fieldwork site may ask you to show proof of competency as well.
To digitally fill a PDF form, download the file and save to a destination on your local computer PRIOR to filling the form fields. To electronically sign, click “SIGN” within the Adobe Reader toolbar, then click “Place Signature” on the right-hand toolbar and follow the instructions. Please ensure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader and please view the PDF using Adobe Reader rather than using a web browser.
Level I Fieldwork
Level II Fieldwork
- Out-of-State/Area Student Requests
- Student’s Responsibilities During (Level II) Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork Supervision Guidelines
- Level II Fieldwork Four-Week Evaluation
- Student Evaluation of the Fieldwork Experience (Level II)