CAOT Position Statement
Entry-Level Education of Occupational Therapists in Canada (2012)
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It is the position of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) that entry-level occupational therapists in Canada require advanced knowledge and skills as outlined in the Profile of Practice of Occupational Therapists in Canada (2012)Advanced knowledge and skills are required to be accountable for professional decisions and autonomous practice in diverse environments with multicultural populations. Occupational therapists must provide evidence-based and occupationally-focused services, and have the ability to market their services in an expanding and competitive global environment. In Canada, the knowledge, skills and abilities required of entry-level practice are acquired through university education programs for occupational therapists that are accredited by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and lead to a professional Master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Recommendations for occupational therapists :
- All occupational therapists are expected to pursue entry level and continuing education to ensure their level of occupational therapy knowledge, skills and abilities is consistent with the current edition of the Profile of Practice of Occupational Therapists in Canada (2012), and the current requirements of their provincial regulatory body.
- Occupational therapists engage in mentoring and educational activities to support entry-level education of occupational therapy students, such as supervising students on fieldwork placements as appropriate.
- The requirement to serve as a fieldwork educator is the completion of one year of full-time practice and registration with a provincial regulatory organization Guidelines for fieldwork education follow the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Revised Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists (WFOT, 2002).
- Occupational therapists who are eligible to enter practice should join occupational therapy professional associations to contribute to the advancement of the profession at the national, international and local level.
CAOT Initiatives :
CAOT supports entry-level education for capacity building and human resource development in occupational therapy. Initiatives include:
1. Accreditation of eligible entry-level university education programs for occupational therapists in Canada.
2. Review and revision as necessary of CAOT Accreditation standards every 5 years.
3. Review and revision as necessary of The Profile of Practice of Occupational Therapists in Canada every 5 years and revise. The Profile is used as an outcome measure of the accreditation process, a guide for professional continuing education, and for the development of the blueprint for the national certification examination.
4. Development, administration and evaluation of the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination and resource tools to ensure individuals who enter occupational therapy practice in Canada meet a minimum standard in the written application of theoretical and applied knowledge and professional behaviour in a practice situation.
5. Advocacy for entry-level education seats in Canada to ensurean adequate supply of occupational therapists. and promote high quality, innovative and well-integrated occupational therapy services to Canadians.
6. Support and encouragement for graduate study programs in occupational therapy for a sustainable supply of occupational therapy educators.
7. Support and encouragement for graduate research programs to build research capacity, evidence and knowledge translation for occupational therapy education.
8. Increase continuing professional education opportunities. CAOT will provide members with a wide range of continuing professional education opportunities and resources that strategically relate to the competencies described in the current edition of The Profile of Occupational Therapy Practice in Canada.
Glossary:Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life (Townsend & Polatajko, 2007).
Occupational therapists: Occupational therapists are regulated health professionals in each Canadian province.
Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations. (2011).The Essential Competencies of Practice for Occupational Therapists in Canada. (3rd ed.). Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations.
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. (2011). CAOT Academic Accreditation Standards and Self-Study Guide. Ottawa, ON: CAOT Publications ACE.
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. (2012). The Profile of Occupational Therapy Practice in Canada. in press.
Townsend, E. & Polatajko, H. (2007). Enabling Occupation II: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being & justice through occupation. Ottawa, ON: CAOT Publications ACE
World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2002) Revised Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists. © 2002 World Federation of Occupational Therapists
Position statements are on political, ethical and social issues that impact on client welfare, the profession of occupational therapy or CAOT. If they are to be distributed past two years of the publication date, please contact the Director of Professional Practice, CAOT National Office, CTTC Building, Suite 3400, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON. K1S 5R1. Tel. (613) 523-2268 or E-mail: email@example.com
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