Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson College of Health Professions
Department of Occupational Therapy


Our students say that their Fieldwork experiences are the highlight of their time at Thomas Jefferson University. Fieldwork is an amazing opportunity for you to apply what you are learning in the classroom to everyday occupational therapy practice.

Beginning right from your first semester, you will actively participate with practicing professionals and clients and begin to develop your understanding of occupational therapy. There are two levels of Fieldwork coordinated with your progress through the curriculum:

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours are required for Level I and Level II fieldwork?

Students begin Level I Fieldwork in their first semester and continue with fieldwork placements, or some type of client experience, every semester from then on. The scheduling varies from semester to semester, but typically students complete from 4-8 site visits on Thursdays during the semester. Summer placements occur over one week (5 days).

Each student is required to successfully complete a total of two full-time, 12-week Level II placements. You should think of it as working a 40-hour work week for three months in one setting, then another three months in a different setting. Schedules do vary, though. For example, days in hospitals can be longer, and days in school systems can be shorter. Some sites may have evening hours and others weekend hours. Some weekly schedules involve four 10-hour days. Part-time fieldwork may be available in special situations and is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Are there mandatory types of Level I and Level II placements?

In both the Level I and Level II experiences, students work with individuals of different ages with a variety of physical, cognitive and psychosocial conditions, in a variety of practice settings. You will have at least one Level I with children, one with individuals with cognitive or mental health issues and one with individuals with physical disabilities. Level II Fieldwork is also required to provide you with a range of experiences in regard to age groups, diagnoses and practice settings.

Are fieldwork sites available outside of Philadelphia?

There are a variety of fieldwork placement sites available in and around the Philadelphia region. Many students take the opportunity to travel for their summer Fieldwork Level I.

Fieldwork Level II placement sites are available in other areas of the United States. Thomas Jefferson University students have completed fieldwork placements in 24 states (including Hawaii and California) and three countries outside the U.S.

Arrangements for placements outside of the Philadelphia region must be made early in the placement process.

Why do I need to complete health forms, immunizations and background checks for Fieldwork?

As part of your pre-matriculation requirements, you have to have a physical, complete your health forms and complete your immunizations. This will be important for your Fieldwork, because most sites ask for proof of health records and updated immunizations. It is important that you complete these forms and keep current on your immunizations and background checks to make your Fieldwork experiences go as smoothly as possible. Many sites will not recognize documents more than one year old.

Why is Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) training important for Fieldwork?

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) training is an important part of confidentiality not only for Fieldwork but for ethical clinical practice. As part of your pre-matriculation requirements, you must complete the online HIPAA training for admission to Thomas Jefferson University. Additionally, you may have to complete HIPAA orientation or training at your Fieldwork placements. More information about HIPAA.