Fieldwork education is a crucial part of the preparation of the occupational therapy assistant and is integrated as a component of the KVCC OTA curriculum design. The experiences provide students with the opportunities to carry out professional responsibilities under supervision and for role modeling. (Adapted from ACOTE, 2013 Standards)
The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the KVCC is responsible for the program’s compliance with ACOTE fieldwork education requirements and student requirements (immunizations, background checks and CPR, etc.), for assessing quality of sites, for coordinating contracts, and for working with students to ensure “the best fit” for each student’s educational needs.
KVCC has in excess of 150 FW sites. This raw number is adequate to meet the needs of all students but not all contracted settings accept OTA students annually. All KVCC OTA students participate in five fieldwork experiences in total (including level I and II). No student will attend any setting/facility twice. At this time no student should expect FW outside of Maine due to legal limitations.
Level I Fieldwork
“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”. (ACOTE, 2013 Standards)
Level I FW at KVCC OTA consists of 3 one-week experiences in a variety of settings. It is primarily observation with limited participation. Level I Fieldwork occurs during the summer session between the first and second years. Level I Fieldwork is a 2 credit course and is imbedded in the 5 week intensive summer semester with OTS 107 and OTS 109. Some students may need to complete COM 104 in the summer semester as well. This is typically completed after the 5 week OTA program intensive. Students must successfully complete all semester 1 and semester 2 coursework and must register for this summer course prior to its commencement.
Level II Fieldwork
“The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapy assistants. 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. It is recommended that the student be exposed to a variety of clients across the life span and to a variety of settings”. (ACOTE, 2013 Standards)
FWII consists of a minimum of 16 weeks’ full-time Level II fieldwork (2 separate eight-week fieldwork experiences) during the spring semester of the second year. These may be completed on a part-time basis as defined by the fieldwork placement in accordance with the fieldwork placements usual and customary personnel policies as long as it is at least 50% of a full-time equivalent at that site.
During Level II Fieldwork students will participate as entry-level OTAs with duties and skills commensurate with service competency. The Level II Fieldwork experiences are in two different settings. It is not customary to have a Level I and Level II experience at the same site. Students may participate in one (1) non-traditional experience.
All OTA students must complete Level II Fieldwork following completion of academic preparation. Fieldwork Level II is only offered spring semester.
A student who fails either OTS 206 or OTS 208 can complete the FWII the following spring semester; other options may be considered for those who have withdrawn for health reasons or other extenuating circumstances. This process takes approval from the Academic Dean.
The fieldwork component(s) of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are to be undertaken only by those students who: a.) have successfully completed all academic prerequisite course work; b.) who are current with immunizations; c.) who are currently CPR certified; d.) who have completed State of Maine (DOE) fingerprinting and independent background check with success and e.) who have demonstrated adequate performance in all of the Essential Performance Skills (EPS) including: academic, professionalism, self-awareness, and an ability to work with others (as noted in Essential Performance Skills and through the rubric standards).
Immunization, background check and fingerprinting tracking and CPR deadlines are student responsibilities. It is recommended that all checks, immunizations and CPR certification be completed prior to the start of the first semester. All checks, immunizations and CPR certification by the end of the first academic semester.
*OTA Faculty holds the right and responsibility to assess and determine all realms of FW readiness, academic professional including EPS, for each student. This is a collaborative effort between each student and faculty based on essential skills of an OTA student at KVCC. The process is outlined in this OTA student handbook.
Students must be aware that placement assignments are not guaranteed and may require reassignment to a different placement at any time before or during a Fieldwork rotation. Fieldwork placements are developed through a collaborative process between the fieldwork site, student, and fieldwork coordinator. Priority is given to educational need, experience, and availability of sites.
Fieldwork education centers throughout New England are used by the OTA program. Students may have to commute a distance to a fieldwork site or assume a temporary residence. Students are responsible for accessing and/or providing their own travel and living expenses. In some cases, housing and/or meals are provided at no charge or at a discount by the fieldwork site. While not a requirement, students are strongly advised to have a car available.
KVCC OTA Program requires fingerprinting and/or background checks for student participation in both FW I and FW II. This requirement corresponds with the demands of FW sites. These checks are at the student's expense. Expenses may change at any time.
It is important to note that a Felony Conviction may make a student ineligible to complete Level I and or Level II FW.