Occupational therapy students and student supervisors in 65 fieldwork centers nationwide responded to a survey designed a) to appraise the relative value of the fieldwork experience in the occupational therapist’s professional development and b) to identify the elements perceived as being essential to a good fieldwork experience. Three stages of professional development were examined: the preprofessional, the academic, and the fieldwork experience. Results suggest that the fieldwork experience stage has the greatest impact on the development of a therapist’s preference for a specific area of clinical practice. This article discusses the primary influences in the three stages that contribute to this preference formation.

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