Finding Your Perfect OT Level II Fieldwork Placement
While attending AOTA’s Conference last year, I noticed at several adult rehab-based Short Courses that students were asking the presenters if they could give them a Level II fieldwork placement. This was during the Q&A portion of the courses, and maybe not the best place to ask for fieldwork placements.
Because of this, I realized there was a need for information for any OT students finding their own fieldwork, so I wanted to share better (and more effective) ways to find your perfect Level II fieldwork placement.
While many schools work to find you a placement, it may not be in the most optimal setting for you. Finding your own placement (with the help of your school making the final arrangements) is a great way to get the most out of your Level II fieldwork.
Here’s how to get started:
First, Decide on Your Ideal Work Setting Post-Graduation
Think about what populations you want to work with after fieldwork is over. Then, look at the types of settings you would see these patients in. Hone in on these settings and write them down. These are the settings you’ll want to look into for your Level II fieldwork placement.
If you already know you want to work in inpatient rehab or in outpatient pediatrics (for example), then you’re ahead of the game. If you think you want to work with older adults but aren’t sure, do a little research on the different settings first before starting your fieldwork placement hunt.
For more info, check out Navigating Through The Occupational Therapy Continuum of Care.
If you can get a Level II placement in your ideal setting, this will not only be the best experience for learning but will also greatly help your chances to get a job in that setting after graduation.
Start Looking Early
Once you have your ideal setting picked out, you can start looking for cities you’d be open to living in for the placement and specific settings in those cities. When I was in OT school, it was recommended we started looking around six months before the start of our first Level II.
Choosing cities other than the city your school is in for at least one fieldwork assignment will increase your chances of getting your dream setting. This is because other cities may have more placement options as well as less OT schools/students, meaning less competition for spots.
At the six month point, you can create a spreadsheet of your ideal settings, the cities you’d want to go to, and any facilities that you find online in the cities that match your dream setting.
Do The Facilities Take Students?
Once you have your full list, and you’re given the go-ahead from your fieldwork coordinator, you can begin calling each facility to simply ask if they take students.
Be sure you get transferred to the right person for this question when you call, such as the clinical educator, HR department, or rehab manager. Some facilities may bounce you around to someone who might not know the answer and may just give you a “No” answer.
You don’t need to worry about actually setting up your fieldwork placement (your fieldwork coordinator will do that), but you can remove each facility from your list that does not take fieldwork students.
Present Your List to Your Fieldwork Coordinator
Now that you have a solid list of cities and settings that take students, you can send this to your fieldwork coordinator several months before your first fieldwork is set to start. This gives your program plenty of time to get your placement set up.
Be sure to include the names, contact numbers, and email addresses of the appropriate contacts at each setting. This will make your fieldwork coordinator’s matching/placement easier. Presenting as much detail as you can as early as you can will definitely improve your chances of getting a spot in your perfect setting.
After that, try not to stress, because the hard part is over! Your school’s fieldwork coordinator will do the rest for you.
I hope these tips help you get a good start on the process and helps you land your perfect Level II placement! Once you’ve gotten your fieldwork placement, be sure to check out these additional resources to get you prepared for your Level II: