University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Level I Fieldwork

According to the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist, Level I Fieldwork is 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 (2012).

Students in the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program participate in three Level I fieldwork experiences as part of each of the Practice Immersion courses (Adult Physical Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Pediatrics). The first two occur during the fall and spring semesters in the first year of the professional program. The final Level I experience occurs during the fall semester of the second year of the professional program. The objective of Level I fieldwork is for students to develop beginning level observation and communication skills, and an understanding of the client/resident/patient needs (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education®, December 2010), and to gain exposure to a variety of practice settings.

Typically, the timeframe for Level I fieldwork completion is as follows:

  1. One full day per week in a practice setting related to the Practice Immersion course for ten weeks.
  2. One full-time week at the same facility during the fourth or fifth week of the experience.

Fieldwork seminar meetings will be held after each Level I fieldwork experience.  Following the successful completion of Level I fieldwork, the student is eligible to move on to Level II fieldwork positions.

Fieldwork Site Settings and Locations

There are a variety of practice settings in which students may be placed for Level I fieldwork. Some examples include:

  • Hospital Based Physical Disabilities
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Outpatient clinics/programs
  • Clinic Based Pediatrics
  • School Based Pediatrics
  • Hospital Based Pediatrics
  • Hippotherapy
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Community Based Mental Health Agencies
  • Lifestyle Redesign Programs & Wellness
  • Upper Extremity Rehabilitation & Hand Therapy

Flex Schedules

Some fieldwork sites have flex schedules. The student will be expected to assume the schedule of his/her fieldwork educator during the fieldwork experience.


Professional behavior development is highlighted during Level I fieldwork. Organization, engagement in the fieldwork experience, professionalism, interpersonal communication, cultural sensitivity, professional reasoning, and participation in the supervisory process are self-assessed by the student midway through the Level I experience and again at the end, and are formally assessed by the supervising fieldwork educator at the end of the fieldwork experience. The completed Professional Development Feedback form is reviewed by the student and fieldwork educator and returned to the practice immersion course instructor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. In the event of an unsatisfactory report, the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and student create a professional development plan.

U.S. News Ranks USC #1 Program in the Nation

USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
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Phone: (323) 442-2850 · Toll free: (866) 385-4250
Fax: (323) 442-1540
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The USC entry-level master's degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE). ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, (301) 652-6611 x2914,

Professional program graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.®



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