Clinical Education

Clinical Education

Wrist MeasurementThe Methodist OTD Program feels strongly that the application of knowledge and skills through experiential learning in real practice contexts is a critical piece of professional training.  In addition to hands-on laboratory activities in the classroom, community-based projects, and practical examinations, our program requires five full-time professional fieldwork experiences for a total of 42 weeks of professional fieldwork education.

Our Goals

  • To engage, enrich, and empower our OTD students to become competent clinicians.     
  • To engage, enrich, and empower our fieldwork affiliates by broadening professional knowledge and clinical education practices.     
  • To engage, enrich, and empower fieldwork educators through consistent communication, collaboration and access to supportive resources essential for successful execution of the fieldwork educator role.

Level I Fieldwork

The purpose of this experience is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience and develop a basic comfort level with understanding of the needs of clients. Level I Fieldwork is not intended to foster independent performance, but to "include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process." Experiences may include those directly related to occupational therapy, as well as other situations to enhance an understanding of the developmental stages, tasks, and roles of individuals throughout the life span. Day care centers, schools, hospitals, neighborhood clinics, hospice, homeless shelters, community mental health centers, and therapeutic activity or work centers are among the many possible sites (AOTA). During this experience, students are able to interact with clients, begin to cultivate their therapeutic communication skills, and practice skills they have learned in the classroom in a real-world setting under the supportive supervision of a clinical instructor.

Level II Fieldwork

The Level II Fieldwork experience is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, to support ethical practice through transmission of the values and beliefs of the profession, to communicate and model professionalism as a developmental process and a career responsibility, and to expand knowledge and application of a repertoire of occupational therapy assessments and interventions related to human occupation and performance. Through this fieldwork experience, students learn to apply theoretical and scientific principles learned in the didactic portion of the academic program to address actual client needs and develop a professional identity as an occupational therapy practitioner within an interdisciplinary context (AOTA, 2012). By the end of the 12 weeks of the Level II experience, students should be performing the entry-level competencies expected of the site affiliation.

Doctoral Experiential Component

The Doctoral Experiential Component (DEC) is designed to cultivate occupational therapists with advanced skills (those that are beyond a generalist level) and include an in-depth experience in one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development (ACOTE, 2011).  The doctoral experiential component provides an in-depth, customized experience specific to the doctoral pursuit of the occupational therapy student, and the opportunity to extend and refine knowledge & skills acquired in the curriculum.  The DEC is a 16 week experience that is designed by the student, under the mentorship and guidance of faculty.  Throughout the curriculum, coursework and faculty mentorship facilitate the student’s development of their learning plan that follows the trajectory of their interests, values, and professional goals.

  • Level I Fieldwork affiliations: Two 1-week placements (full-time, per site specifications). Semesters: 2, 4
  • Level II Fieldwork affiliations: Two 12-week placements (full-time, per site specifications). Semesters: 6, 7
  • Doctoral Experiential Component: One 16-week placement (640 hours, full-time). Semester: 9

Methodist University is a participant in NC-SARA and will partner with fieldwork affiliations in different states that also participate in SARA. If an enrolled student requests to complete any fieldwork experience outside of North Carolina State, authorization within the specific state may be required prior to completion of the clinical educational activity. 

Fieldwork Partnerships

If you are interested in taking students for either Level I or Level II fieldwork rotations, please contact the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Amy Spence at (910) 482-5304 or


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