Fieldwork allows you to apply the theory and skills you learn in the classroom in a practice setting.
In UIC’s MS in Occupational Therapy program, fieldwork experiences are separated into five placements.
- Level IA fieldwork involves students working together to develop, implement, and evaluate group activities designed to address the psychological and social needs of the clients in a community agency.
- Level IB and IC fieldwork is specifically designed with an emphasis on helping you develop professional behaviors, beginning practice skills, and an understanding and appreciation of psychosocial issues influencing engagement in occupation. Together, these two experiences comprise a four-week clinical placement in the summer after the first year of classes.
- Level II fieldwork focuses on the application of occupational therapy theory and the development of clinical reasoning and skills to become a competent entry-level generalist occupational therapist. This experience consists of two, 12-week clinical placements, in differing areas of practice, at the conclusion of the classroom portion of the program.
Setting and location
You’ll engage in a variety of clinical and community-based fieldwork experiences. We believe that it’s important to receive clinical experience in a variety of settings such as physical disabilities, psychosocial disabilities, pediatrics and community sites.
We have relationships with fieldwork sites in the Chicago area and a limited number throughout the country. There is currently a critical shortage of fieldwork sites nationally leading to limited fieldwork opportunities for UIC students both in the Chicago area and outside of Illinois. Students who are accepted to the UIC OT program from other states should not assume that they will be able to complete fieldwork in their home state due to these limited fieldwork opportunities.
While we affiliate with fieldwork sites in a variety of settings around the City of Chicago and suburbs, they are not all accessible by public transportation. Therefore, all incoming students must be prepared to do any of the following in order to assure their fieldwork experiences prepare them for practice as entry level clinicians:
- relocate outside of Chicago for one experience.
- travel more than an hour to fieldwork sites, or
- have access to a car and drive to their fieldwork site
For students who are primary caregivers for their children or other dependents, or who have health conditions themselves that require them to remain in the Chicago area, there is a process to request exemption from relocation.
At the conclusion of all fieldwork experiences, you’ll function at the level of a beginning practitioner and will be eligible to sit for the Occupational Therapy Certification Examination.