Observation hours

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Observation hours

  • Hi, I'm having a bit of trouble finding facilities and current OT's who would be willing to let me observe or shadow them for 50 or more hours. Does anyone have any advice on finding places/people willing to let me do this? I'm finding plenty of opportunities for just volunteer hours, but no luck finding anything for direct observational/shadowing hours. Should I even try to complete all 50+ hours with one person or should I find multiple people to shadow? I live in Chicago so I thought there would be tons of opportunities :/

  • I am having the same issue in Austin, TX.  OT professionals have no incentive to offer space and time for pre-OT students to accrue direct observational hours.  It's just luck of the draw if the OT has a facility to work out of with enough overhead to allow space for observation.  

  • Many of my shadow hours came from volunteering at several different sites over a long period of time. I feel like OTs are more willing to accept a student if they know you will only be shadowing for four hours vs. fifty. Best of luck to you - my best advice is just to be persistent!

    Melissa Wawrzyniak, OTS

    Chatham University

    Class of 2018

  • I'm a current OT student at Chatham University in Pittsburgh PA. I know finding places to shadow may be really difficult. I would definitely recommend not getting them all with one individual. While one individual could create a good relationship for connection once you graduate, graduate schools want to see that you've seen multiple areas. Occupational therapy is so diverse in settings and I think it's important to see different areas for at least 10-15 hours each.

    Connections are really important for finding people to shadow. Do you know anyone who works in a hospital or school near you even if not an occupational therapist? They may be able to set up shadowing for you. Don't get discouraged, keep trying to connect with locations. Call or stop in and they may be able to set you up with the right person to talk to.

    Good luck observing and preparing for graduate school!

  • Hello! I am an OTR in Atlanta GA. When I got my OT hours I contacted local clincs, hospitals, and even summer camps with OT. I completed my hours through different places and different settings. I would say make a list of different clinics and start calling them. The place I work in Decatur GA offers hours.

  • Such a bummer! I am in my first year as a practitioner and I remember how difficult it was to find hours as a student and pre-OT. I gladly welcome students to shadow me now. I would just suggest calling as many places as you can! It's okay to have multiple settings that you shadowed in too. I'm located in west Michigan or else I'd welcome you to come shadow.  

  • Hi! I am a student in Pittsburgh,  PA and also having trouble finding places to observe or volunteer. Do you all recommend calling different doctors offices and asking for hours, that way?

  • I just completed my OT observation hours for grad school applications and I used a site called Indeed. After I found OT facilities that were looking to fill paid spots, I sent an email along with my resume and most of them responded that they would be more than willing to have me shadow.

    I also left all my contact information to allow them to contact me at their convenience.