Our entry-level OTD degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
UIC will learn ACOTE’s decision regarding accreditation of the entry-level-OTD in December 2024, in advance of the graduation of the first entry-level OTD cohort in May 2025.
Fieldwork is an opportunity for students to apply the theory and skills learned in the classroom to a practice setting
Before beginning course-related clinical experiences and fieldwork, students must satisfy requirements that include, but are not limited to, drug screening and background checks for criminal offenses. Results may affect whether a student can participate in clinical and fieldwork experiences.
In UIC’s entry-level OTD program, fieldwork experiences are separated into six placements.
- Level IA fieldwork: Students explore diverse community and clinical occupational therapy settings with an emphasis on communication skills with consumers and interprofessional team members, professional skills development and observing occupational therapy models in practice.
- Level IB fieldwork: Students work together to develop, implement and evaluate group activities that address the psychological and social needs of clients in a community agency.
- Level IC and ID fieldwork: Students develop professional behaviors, beginning practice skills and an understanding of psychosocial issues influencing engagement in occupation. These two experiences are a combined two-week clinical placement in the second spring semester.
- Level II fieldwork: Students practice 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.
Setting and location
The primary goal when matching students to fieldwork sites is to ensure quality experiences that prepare them for entry-level practice as a generalist occupational therapist. It’s important to receive clinical experience in different settings, including physical disabilities, pediatrics, and behavioral health.
We offer fieldwork locations in the Chicago area and throughout the country. However, there is a national shortage of fieldwork sites. Students should be prepared to relocate outside Chicago for at least one experience. Students should have access to a car, because travel of more than one hour to fieldwork sites may be required. Students from other states may not be able to complete fieldwork in their home state.
Students who relocate for fieldwork are responsible for associated costs, including transportation, parking, housing and meals. Students who are primary caregivers for children or other dependents, or have health conditions requiring them to remain in the Chicago area, may request exemption from relocation.
After fieldwork is completed, students will perform at the level of beginning practitioner and will move onto the final steps of their Capstone coursework.