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A Mayo Clinic occupational therapist working with a patient.

Program overview

Program length: 1-2 weeks (level one) or 12 weeks (level two)
Class size: 10 students a year
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

This internship prepares students for a career as an occupational therapist in hospitals, clinics, and private practice. Through this internship, you will be exposed to a variety of evaluation tools, adaptive training activities, therapy interventions, equipment, videos, and resources. These experiences prepare you for treating adult patients.

Graduation and certification

Occupational therapy interns graduate from their respective university upon successful completion of their fieldwork.

Graduates are then responsible for scheduling and completing their certification tests through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Those who pass the test are awarded the title of registered occupational therapist. Individual states also may require licensure.

Application process

The level two internship (12 weeks) is offered after you complete the academic portion of your degree program. Both level one internships (one to two weeks) are also available.

Prerequisites

You must be enrolled in an accredited, affiliated occupational therapy education program to apply for the Occupational Therapy Internship. Please contact your school's Academic Clinical Education Coordinator or Director of Clinical Education to arrange to participate in the application process. Once your participation is approved by your Academic Clinical Education Coordinator, you may start the online application.

In addition to meeting general admissions standards, occupational therapists should be comfortable working with people who have physical limitations. Therapists must be patient, tactful, and persuasive when working with people who have a variety of physical needs and highly specific occupational needs.

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

How to apply

Applications are accepted between April 1 and May 31 each year.

Application instructions

Complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission
    • Select - Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
    • Select - Occupational Therapy Internship
  2. Complete each section of the application and submit
  3. After submission, view the required Supplemental Items and Documents
    • Upload each required item in the Supplemental Items section
    • Complete the Recommendation Request section

Additional required items

  • CV/Resume (to include GPA)
  • One letter of recommendation is required and must be completed in the Recommendation Request section. The recommender will receive an email with a link to complete their recommendation.
    • School faculty or a clinician with whom you have worked in a former job or internship
  • Personal Statement. Please limit to two pages (1,000 words, 12 font, single spaced), which will include the following questions:
    • What are your career objectives in therapy and specific to the practice setting for this rotation?
    • How has your previous education or training prepared you for this area of therapy practice?
    • Describe any personal qualities or experiences that make you a competitive candidate for this clinical rotation.
    • What do you envision you can contribute to the Mayo Clinic Therapy practice during your clinical rotation?
    • Describe you learning style and ideal mentor?
    • What are the date ranges (months) that you are requesting?

Interview process

Applications will be reviewed after the deadline date, and applicants selected for a Zoom interview will be contacted. Successful candidates will be notified approximately four weeks after their interview.

Acceptance

Applicants are selected based on grades and work experiences, as well as volunteer experiences, leadership qualities, and representation of personal qualities and skills in a personal letter.

Tuition and financial aid

There is no tuition or fees for the internship. You do need to purchase a lab coat to wear during hospital rotations.

You are responsible for providing your living accommodations and transportation.

You may hold outside employment during the internship if it does not conflict with your program responsibilities.

Curriculum

Through patient care responsibilities and clinical experiences, this internship offers rotations in:

  • Acute care. Treating diagnoses ranging from generalized weakness to complex organ transplant rehabilitation, including in the intensive care unit and critical care unit, oncology, and cardiovascular/pulmonary conditions
  • Orthopedics. Treating inpatients with traumatic and/or post surgical orthopedic conditions.
  • Hospital-based outpatient occupational therapy and hand therapy. Treating patients who require outpatient therapy one to five times a week. Some unique treatments provided are for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other degenerative neurological conditions, stroke rehab, vestibular visual perception, lymphedema, chronic pain, and complex hand diagnoses.

You gain experience in treating patients with special occupational therapy needs that may include:

  • Amputee rehabilitation
  • Spine- related injury and post-operative care
  • Brain injury rehabilitation
  • Musculoskeletal and joint disorders
  • Lymphedema management
  • Rehabilitation of degenerative neurological conditions and stroke
  • Rehabilitation of neuromuscular disorders
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sports medicine and rehabilitation
  • Trunk or extremity orthotics prescription and management
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Oncology and treatment related conditions
  • Post-intensive care syndrome and critical illness

Weekly learning experiences may include patient care rounds, lectures, workshops, in-service training, case studies, field trips, and informal discussions.

Schedule

For the majority of the internship, the learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week, and corresponds with your clinical instructor's schedule. Students also are required to work weekends that correspond with the clinical instructor's schedule.

While the regular workweek is usually 40 hours, additional projects, patient activities, and homework may be assigned.

Accreditation information

See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Explore health care careers

Learn more about the role of an occupational therapist.

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