Program length: 12 weeks
Class size: Varies
Location: Rochester, Minnesota
This internship provides the high-quality educational and clinical fieldwork needed to create a well-rounded, fully competent occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
Throughout your internship, you are exposed to adaptive training activities, equipment, videos and resources. These prepare you for treating individuals with medical diagnoses typically seen in the rehabilitative clinical setting, such as stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cardiac, orthopedic, general medical conditions, and neurological impairments.
There are two levels of practice in occupational therapy:
- Occupational therapist. To prepare for a career as an occupational therapist, you must complete a professional education program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
- You may choose:
- A professional master's degree program
- A professional doctorate of occupational therapy degree program
- Occupational therapy assistant. To become an occupational therapy assistant, you must complete an educational program accredited by ACOTE.
The American Occupational Therapy Association Inc. (AOTA) provides a list of schools that offer accredited occupational therapy education programs. All courses of study require a period of supervised clinical experience and successful completion of a certification examination. Those who pass are awarded the title of occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
Your application and all supporting documentation must be received at least 90 days prior to the start of the internship.
To be eligible for the internship, you must be currently enrolled in an accredited occupational therapy education program. The academic fieldwork coordinator at your college or university arranges admission to the internship.
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.
- U.S. citizens
- U.S. nationals
- Lawful permanent residents
- 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
The occupational therapy fieldwork must be arranged and approved by the academic fieldwork coordinator from your college or university.
- Arrange internship participation. Contact your program's academic fieldwork coordinator to arrange to participate in the Occupational Therapy Internship at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.
- Begin the application process. Once your participation is approved by both your academic fieldwork coordinator and the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Internship director, you receive an instructional email to begin the formal application process approximately six months prior to your start date.
- Complete the application process. Follow and complete all the steps in this application email. Approximately one to two months prior to your start date, you receive an email with additional application documents to complete from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.
Your complete application and supporting documentation must be returned by mail or email in a timely manner to ensure your ability to begin this internship on the scheduled date.
No interviews are held for internship positions.
Tuition and financial aid
You pay tuition to the school that you are attending. Mayo Clinic charges no additional fees and does not offer financial aid for the internship.
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.
Mayo Clinic offers occupational therapy internships in these practice areas:
- Hand clinic
- Inpatient acute care
- Inpatient rehabilitation unit
- Intensive care unit
- Outpatient care
- Pain Rehabilitation Center
- Pediatric rehabilitation
You may work in a collaborative model where one clinical instructor supervises more than one student. In other areas, a one-on-one model of clinical instruction is provided. You have a primary staff supervisor and interact with occupational therapy staff members.
You gain experience in treating patients with special occupational therapy needs, which may include:
- Acute care complex medical conditions
- Amputee rehabilitation
- Brain injury rehabilitation
- Cardiac care
- Cognitive and safety evaluations
- Musculoskeletal disorders, including shoulder and knee problems
- Orthopedic trauma and general orthopedic needs
- Postmastectomy lymphedema management
- Rehabilitation of disabling neurological conditions
- Rehabilitation of neuromuscular disorders
- Spinal cord injury
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Trunk or extremity bracing problems
- Vestibular rehabilitation
Educational sessions covering current trends in occupational therapy are periodically offered with student participation welcomed. These learning experiences may include lectures, workshops, in-service training, case studies, Grand Rounds, and informal discussions.
For the majority of the internship, the learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week. While the regular workweek is usually 40-45 hours, additional projects, patient activities, and homework may be assigned.
The Occupational Therapy Internship is coordinated and taught by the clinical, scientific and technical staffs of Mayo Clinic. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, as well as clinical practice or research. Many have published and lectured extensively and are highly regarded in their fields. You have direct access to these individuals throughout your training, giving you the opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners in the field of occupational therapy.
Melissa Halvorsen, M.S., OTR/L, SCFES, is a 2005 graduate of the University of Minnesota Occupational Therapy program. She joined Mayo Clinic in 2008 as an outpatient staff therapist working in a variety of practice areas, including low vision, dysphagia, women's health, neurodegenerative diseases, functional movement disorders and basic ergonomics. She became involved in the acute-care practice in 2009. She has assisted in student education and program development in a variety of practice areas over the years.
Melissa became a clinical education coordinator for the Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus, in 2017 and assisted in developing this program. Melissa completed the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Fieldwork Educators Certificate Program Workshop in 2017 and is working toward AOTA board certification.
Donna Heinle, O.T.D., OTR/L, joined Mayo Clinic in 1988 as a staff therapist. For more than 15 years, she was a clinical education coordinator on an acute rehabilitation unit. She has received the Mayo Clinic Educator of the Year Award as well as the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Educator Award.
Donna has done research involving clinical guidelines for people with spinal cord injuries and reflective learning for level II fieldwork occupational therapy students. She has experience working as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings, including physical disabilities, mental health, addiction, pediatrics, and developmentally disabled adults and children. She has presented at local, state and national conferences.
In 1981, Donna graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy and she graduated from the University of St. Augustine, in 2008 with a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. She has served on AOTA's Board for Advanced and Specialty Certification and is a regional trainer for the AOTA Fieldwork Educator Certificate course.
An adjunct educator and instructor for Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, Donna also has an academic appointment as an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. She is a Silver Level Certified Mayo Clinic Quality Fellow.
Kathleen Johnson, OTR/L, ATP, joined Mayo Clinic in 1985 as a staff therapist. She is the clinical educator in a collaborative model for level II fieldwork occupational therapy in the adult neurorehabilitation practice area at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.
Kathy has experience as the spine occupational therapy lead, holding that position from 2010-2016. She was responsible for leadership and clinical development of the spine program and educating staff therapists to ensure state-of-the-art practice.
In addition, Kathy has participated in research involving clinical guidelines for people with spinal cord injuries, as well as innovation and quality projects for promotion of virtual health and wellness with spinal cord injured population and development of accessible educational formats. In addition to spine interests, she has extensive experience with acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury, dysphagia, neurorehabilitation and use of assistive technologies.
In 1983, Kathy graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in distributive sciences and she graduated from the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) with a Certificate of Occupational Therapy in 1984. Kathy received certification in neurodevelopmental treatment in 1996 and Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certification from Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) in 2010.
Hannah Oldenburg, Ed.D., O.T., BCPR, is a 2012 graduate of St. Catherine University's Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy program. Since joining Mayo Clinic in January of 2013 as a staff therapist, her primary focus has been in acute care working with patients with orthopedic, general medicine, cardiopulmonary and intensive care needs. She has provided care and completed multiple research studies specific to therapeutic interventions (strength and cognition) with patients implanted with a mechanical circulatory device, such as left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and total artificial heart (TAH).
Hannah completed the AOTA Fieldwork Educators Certificate Program in 2015. She is currently a doctoral candidate in education at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. In 2015, she became a clinical education coordinator in the acute care practice working with patients having orthopedic, general medicine, cardiopulmonary and intensive care needs. Hannah has a passion for research specific to interprofessional education and clinical reasoning.
Leah Struss, M.A., OTR/L, BCPR, CLT, is a 2007 graduate of the College of St. Scholastica Occupational Therapy program. She joined Mayo Clinic in 2010 as an acute care therapist. She has worked in a variety of settings including acute care, work rehabilitation, outpatient and inpatient lymphedema, dysphagia, and early mobility/activity in the ICU. Leah was a key member of developing embedded occupational therapy in multiple ICUs across the Mayo Clinic. She has worked as the acute oncology lead from 2017 to 2018. Leah became a clinical education coordinator in 2018. She completed the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Fieldwork Educators Certificate Program Workshop in 2010. She became board certified through the AOTA in physical rehabilitation on 2018. Leah is currently working on her Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) through A. T. Still University.
Tamra Trenary, O.T.D., OTR/L, joined Mayo Clinic in 1998 as a staff therapist. She has worked as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings, including physical disabilities, mental health, pain rehabilitation, industrial rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities.
In 2007, Tamra became the clinical education coordinator for level II fieldwork occupational therapy students in acute care at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. She has mentored over 100 students completing fieldwork in acute care.
Tamra graduated in 1996 from the College of St. Scholastica with a Master of Arts degree in occupational therapy. In 2008, she graduated from the University of St. Augustine with a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. A certified trainer for the AOTA Fieldwork Educators Certificate Workshop, Tamra has served on multiple AOTA committees. She has published and presented at state and national conferences on clinical education and the collaborative clinical education model. Tamra is a Silver Level Certified Mayo Clinic Quality Fellow.
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