Otago Polytechnic

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Location

Dunedin or Hamilton

Duration
Three years full-time.
Delivery

On campus with six fieldwork placements in a wide range of settings; four of these are likely to occur outside of the Dunedin or Hamilton area

Credits
360
Level
7
Start
February and July**
  • Location
    Intake
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    10 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    2 October 2017 - 13 October 2017
  • Wintec
    19 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    10 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    2 October 2017 - 13 October 2017
Do you want to make a difference in people's lives? Do you see yourself working in a community career where people come first? Become an occupational therapist and help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in daily occupations.

There are a diverse number of job opportunities within this health profession. Occupational therapists work in a variety of environments including schools, communities, hospitals, private settings, Primary Health Organisations (PHO), rehabilitation centres, prisons and mines, with people who have had illness, injury, or a disability. Your focus is on ensuring individuals, groups and populations within the community can do the things that are important to them and you will work with a range of ages from the newborn to older people.

This highly-regarded qualification will lead to registration as an occupational therapist in New Zealand and is recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Gain high-quality skills through a blend of online learning, face-to-face teaching, real-life scenarios and interactive group/community experiences. Embrace the chance to undertake six occupational therapy fieldwork placements in a wide range of settings and develop your practice ability working with people to a high standard.

Exactly the same programme is delivered from both Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin and Hamilton-based at Wintec City campus so you can enrol in the campus of your choice.

Entry requirements 
  • NCEA Level 3 including:  
  • 14 credits at Level 3 or above in three NZQA approved university entrance subjects, and
  • Literacy - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:
    • 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing, and
  • Numeracy - 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
    • specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects OR
    • package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627- all three required)
  • OR you can demonstrate equivalence to the above academic entry criteria
  • OR a qualification at Level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) equalling at least 60 credits completed in one year 
  • OR successful completion of university courses/units equalling at least 50 per cent of a first-year student workload completed in one year.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet degree-level entry requirements. Click here for your country's equivalent entry criteria.
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5, with no band score less than 6.5.  

Additional criteria 

  • You must submit a cover letter which outlines the skills and knowledge you currently have that you feel will be of benefit to you in this career. Please also include details of any current study you are enrolled in this year.
  • You must provide a Level 2 First Aid Certificate and a medical examination report.
  • You must submit recommendations of suitability from two referees who are not family members or friends (e.g. family friends or personal friends).
Recognition of Prior Learning

The Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy will give credit in recognition of Prior Learning to the taught elements of the programme, in accordance with Otago Polytechnic Academic Policy AP0501.08. Students will not be granted Recognition of Prior Learning for any Year 2 or 3 courses. 

Please note: The 2018 curriculum is subject to academic approval.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)/Cross-credit info sheet

Course outlines for Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning application form

Bridging options

If you don't have the academic qualifications required to enter the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, our health bridging certificate* can help you meet the minimum academic criteria for application. This year long programme is replacing the Certificate in Health (Level 4) from February, 2018. It consists of two separate Certificate qualifications - the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4)*. You will be enrolled in both of these qualifications at the beginning of the year.

Please note: Due to the high demand for places, successful completion of our health bridging certificate will not automatically guarantee entry to this degree.

*subject to final approval

Selection procedure

To be accepted, you must meet minimum academic standards and all other criteria. You may be required to attend an interview to provide clarification of issues raised within the application. All acceptable applicants will be allocated places on the basis of prior academic success and diversity of life experiences. 15% of preferred entry places in this programme are reserved for both those who identify as Māori, and males.

Note: There are a limited number of places on this programme and successful applicants must prioritise their study. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not organise employment or other study that will conflict with the timetabled activities involved in this programme.

Provisional Entry: 
Any applicant who does not meet all of the entry criteria may be given provisional entry to year one at the discretion of the Head of School. 

Completing your application

You must provide certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Applications will only be considered complete when the following documents are also received by the School of Occupational Theray.

  • Application form (online or paper form) completed
  • A cover letter outlining the skills and knowledge you currently have
  • 2x referee report - click here to download the report to give to your chosen referees
  • Medical Examination report - click here to download this
  • Academic entry requirements 
  • Current Level 2 Comprehensive First Aid Certificate
  • Fieldwork Agreement - click here to download this
  • Criminal Convictions History report - click here, follow the instructions online and send us a copy of the report.

Please use this checklist for more information and to ensure you have done all of the tasks that you are required to do to complete your application.

Please note: Once you have been accepted into the programme, you will be notified that you must produce current evidence of immunisation status (this can only be completed through a current blood test). You are encouraged to be immunised against Hepatitis B. Not having this immunisation will impact on access to some clinical placements and thus progression in the course may be affected.

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) clearance is a requirement of a number of clinical placement providers. You may be tested for MRSA during your study. A positive result for MRSA may delay your progression in the programme as you will be unable to attend your clinical placement until you have clearance.

Additional costs

You will be required to purchase your own stationery and cover the cost of printing reading/course materials. You will undertake six fieldwork placements during the qualification and will need to budget for these accordingly; you will be responsible for meeting any costs associated with these including travel to and from the placement, accommodation and the cost of all meals. 

Programme specific risks

While on fieldwork placements, the risks you are exposed to will be those commonly associated with the health services. These are broad and range from physical/psychological risks to your person (such as back injury or infectious diseases, psychological distress) through to causing potential harm to service users which may be reported to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Further study options

Increase your career prospects with any of our postgraduate Occupational Therapy programmes. Students who achieve a B grade average in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree are eligible to complete a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours).

Computer requirements

You are required to have access to a suitable computer for study in this programme. Please click here to read more about essential downloads and minimum requirements.

How you will study

This is a three year, full-time qualification which uses a variety of teaching methods including the blended learning approach. This approach incorporates face-to-face lectures and tutorials, real-life scenarios, interactive groups, community experiences and online learning. You will be required to study for approximately 20 hours on campus per week and the expectation is that you will participate in a further 20 hours of self-directed learning. You will identify your learning requirements and find the best ways to meet these needs, with the support of academic staff and your peers.

The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy programme is delivered at two campuses, Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin and Wintec City campus in Hamilton. You can enrol in the campus of your choice, knowing that you will experience the same learning/teaching methods.

Fieldwork

During this qualification, you will undertake six fieldwork placements in order to ensure you meet the competency levels for registration to practise as a New Zealand occupational therapist. Clinical experiences will be offered in a wide range of community health and rehabilitation settings and you will be required to complete a minimum of three placements outside of the Dunedin or Hamilton area. See more information relating to fieldwork below.

Declaration

Fieldwork providers request that a police check be carried out prior to you going on placement. In addition, the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Board requires a declaration about convictions and a police clearance from all applicants for registration. If you have a police record, you are encouraged to discuss your circumstances with a lawyer who may be able to advise you of the implications of your record on your ability to work with vulnerable persons.

Immunisation Status

If you are accepted for the programme, you will be notified that you must have current evidence of your immunisation status. You are encouraged to be immunised against Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, and Varicella. Not having current immunisation will affect your ability to proceed to some specific fieldwork placements which might affect your progression within the programme. Clearance for Methicillan Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a requirement of fieldwork placement providers.

Programme structure

This is a three year, full-time qualification which consists of two semesters per year. The programme is comprised of a series of occupational therapy courses, each course has a credit rating and each credit equates to approximately ten hours of study. In addition, your fieldwork placements occur during the taught weeks of the programme.  Please note Year 1 is subject to academic approval.

YEAR 1 – whole year

Course Name

Credits

Human Body and Movement

30

YEAR 1 – Semester 1

YEAR 1 – Semester 2

 

Course Name

Credits

Course Name

Credits

Professional Practice

15

Building Cultural Competency in Practice

15

Foundations of Occupational Therapy

15

Human Mind and Behaviour

15

Fieldwork One

15

Fieldwork Two

15

Total Credits Year One

120

YEAR 2 – whole year

Course Name

Credits

Occupational Science

15

Integration of Practice

15

Professional Practice 2

35

Disability, Function and Occupation

15

Fieldwork 3

40

Total Credits Year Two

120

YEAR 3 – whole year

Course Name

Credits

Professional Practice 3

20

Community Practice/Fieldwork 5

20

Transition to Practice/Fieldwork 6

40

YEAR 3 – Semester 1

 

Course Name

Credits

 Perspectives on Evidence in Practice

15

Fieldwork 4

25

Total Credits Year Three

120

TOTAL CREDITS FOR PROGRAMME

360 

Courses descriptions
YEAR ONE

Human Body and Movement - Full year

This course enables learners to understand human beings in terms of the key body systems and movement.

Foundations of Occupational Therapy - Semester 1

This course will enable learners to understand the concept of occupation and explore the fundamentals principles of occupational therapy in the context of health and wellbeing.

Professional Practice - Semester 1

This course will enable learners to develop and apply professional practice skills in a variety of situations.

Fieldwork One - Semester 1

This course enables students to explore the role of the occupational therapist in placement setting(s), and demonstrate emerging professional skills, behaviours and attitudes.

Building Cultural Competence in Practice - Semester 2

This course enables learners to develop knowledge of culture and its application in a professional context in bi-cultural New Zealand.

Human Mind and Behaviour - Semester 2

This course enables learners to demonstrate knowledge of psychological theories that are relevant to the practice of occupational therapy.

Fieldwork Two - Semester 2

This course enables learners to develop and maintain relationships, participate alongside others, and facilitate occupation within communities.

YEAR TWO

Occupational Science - Full year

Gain an understanding of the language, concepts and taxonomies present in the fields of occupational science and occupational therapy. Drawing from these understandings, you will have the chance to articulate and develop a framework of occupation focused practice.

Integration of Practice - Full year

Ensure that you can use frameworks to guide your planning for the individual, groups or populations you will serve as an occupational therapy student, and as an occupational therapist. Be introduced to the manner in which research evidence can be used to support your reasoning, balancing this with the influence of contextual factors.

Professional Practice 2 - Full year

Become familiar with a range of practice frameworks used by the occupational therapy profession. This will provide multiple opportunities for you to develop your capability in the core professional skills associated with each framework. Further develop the knowledge and skills required to competently implement the occupational therapy problem solving process.

Disability, Function and Occupation - Full year

Continue to build your understanding about structures and functions of body systems associated with health conditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between human capacity and participation in occupation. Further develop your skills in researching, critiquing and managing information about health conditions.

Fieldwork 3

Continue to build competence in specified occupational therapy skills in a practice setting. As part of the learning experience offered, you will have the opportunity to further your knowledge of yourself as a self-directed learner, taking increasing responsibility to identify your learning goals, and determining ways to ensure you can effectively manage your learning.

YEAR THREE

Fieldwork 4 - Semester 1

Further develop your competence in the required occupational therapy processes and related professional skills and behaviours. As part of the learning experience, you will become more aware that you are achieving your goal to be an occupational therapist.

Professional Practice 3 - Full year

Prepare to practice in mental health, aged care, child and youth-based services and neurology. Continue to add to the knowledge and skills you require to confidently and competently implement the occupational therapy problem solving process.

Perspectives on Evidence in Practice - Full Year

Learn to recognise how sources of evidence inform professional judgement. Consider the meaning of evidence and how different types contribute to an individual's reasoning. This course will extend your ability to think critically about the quality of occupational therapy practice.

Community Practice/Fieldwork 5 - Full year

Gain an understanding of how occupational therapy is provided at agency, community or population levels using strategies designed to facilitate occupational engagement. Continue to develop your understanding of the profession's domain of concern being that of meeting the occupational needs of mankind.

Transition to Practice/Fieldwork 6 - Full year

Ensure that you are well prepared to join the community of occupational therapy practitioners as an entry-level occupational therapist, eligible to apply for their initial Annual Practicing Certificate.

Fieldwork information

Working with people is at the very essence of occupational therapy and a mandatory part of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy qualification. Over a three year period, you will complete six fieldwork placements under the supervision of registered occupational therapists. This ensures that you can enter the workforce knowing exactly what to expect!

Fieldwork placement aims

Performance criteria for each placement follow a carefully ordered sequence where you will be expected to take increasing responsibility for personal study and initiative. Fieldwork placement supervisors will move from directing the experience to allowing you to direct it; that is, from “supervisor-oriented” to “student-oriented” experience.

The five areas of competence identified by the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ) will be assessed at each level.

YEAR ONE

Fieldwork Placement 1
28 on-site hours per week for 4 weeks

Drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, you will participate, at an emerging level, in a range of learning experiences designed to actively engage you in aspects of the occupational therapy problem-solving process. The specific emphasis of this first placement is for you to understand the role of the occupational therapist in their setting.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe and use a range of processes, for example, the occupational therapy problem-solving process, clinical reasoning and decision-making
  • Demonstrate a range of occupational therapy skills and behaviours to a specified level
  • Critique your performance against the OTBNZ competencies.

Fieldwork Placement 2 (Dunedin or Hamilton only)
3.5 on-site hours per week for 14 weeks

Drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, you will participate in, and facilitate the occupational engagement of others in a given context.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the occupational philosophies of the profession
  • Argue that occupation and being well-occupied is part of the essence of being human
  • Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to participate in, and facilitate the occupational engagement of others across more than one context to a specified level
  • Critique your performance against the OTBNZ competencies.
YEAR TWO

Fieldwork Placement 3
36 on-site hours per week for 7 weeks

Drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, you will be responsible for carrying out parts of the occupational therapy problem-solving process to a level considered adequate given your stage of learning. Emphasis is also placed on you being able to articulate the role of the occupational therapist in relation to other disciplines involved in the delivery of the service.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate occupational therapy knowledge, skills and related behaviours to a specified level
  • Critique your performance against the OTBNZ competencies
  • Demonstrate the attributes and skills required of a self-directed learner within the supervisory relationship.
YEAR THREE

Fieldwork Placement 4
35 on-site hours per week for 6 weeks

As well as drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, fieldwork learning opportunities will ensure that you demonstrate adequate to consistent level in the management of a caseload of two–three clients and the associated professional tasks. The particular focus in this course is on integrating occupational therapy practice with the contextual issues that impact on clients.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a range of occupational therapy skills and behaviours to a specified level
  • Critique your performance against the OTBNZ competencies.

Fieldwork Placement 5 (Dunedin or Hamilton only)
35 on-site hours per week for 2 weeks

As well as drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, fieldwork learning opportunities will ensure that you can use a consultative collaborative process to enable a defined populations’ occupational engagement.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critique your performance against the OTBNZ competencies in the context of the planning and implementation of a community-oriented project that addresses an occupational need.

Fieldwork Placement 6
37.5 on-site hours per week for 7 weeks plus final week 30.5 hours on-site

As well as drawing from the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist, fieldwork learning opportunities will ensure that you can demonstrate the ability to be responsible for 80% of a new graduate caseload including all professional tasks associated with the management of that caseload.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to practice consistently as an entry-level occupational therapist across the seven areas of competence identified by the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ).
Meet the fieldwork team

Narinder Verma and Sarah Redfearn

Assist with the preparation, allocation and support of students and supervising occupational therapists for the range of placements offered. 

Narinder can be contacted by phone on 021 735 236 or email nverma@op.ac.nz  

Sarah can be contacted by phone on 021 735 662 or email sredfearn@op.ac.nz

Gail Morris

Gail joined the Fieldwork Team in July, 2015. She takes responsibility for modifying and updating our therapist database and handles all the administration to do with placements, including maintaining the credit/payment system. Gail also organises Fieldwork Educators Workshop and site visits for the team.

Gail can be contacted by phone on (03) 479 3614 or email OTFieldWork@op.ac.nz

Please visit our staff page to view more details.

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Links to useful websites

At the completion of your degree and in order to practice as an occupational therapist in New Zealand, you will be required to apply to the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand for registration for an Annual Practicing Certificate. For more information, visit the New Zealand Board of Occupational Therapists website

Looking for a job as an occupational therapist? Check out New Zealand Careers or Health Careers.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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