The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 28052-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number is (301) 652-AOTA, www.acoteonline.org. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a health-care profession that uses occupation, or meaningful activity, to help people lead productive and satisfying lives. Occupational therapists form a dynamic and collaborative partnership with service recipients in order to support their maximal participation in societal roles. The uniqueness of occupational therapy lies in the recognition and appreciation of the importance of day-to-day occupations that are used to positively influence ones health and well-being. Persons, groups, or populations who have difficulty participating in daily roles, routines, and activities due to physical, psychological, emotional, or developmental problems can benefit from occupational therapy services.
Occupational therapists are skilled professionals whose education includes the study of human growth and development with specific emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury and the concomitant benefits of engagement in occupation. Occupational therapists need to be people-focused as well as art- and science-oriented. They must be well-educated in the functions of mind, body, and spirit. The occupational therapy doctorate degree provides “opportunities for the occupational therapist to possess the necessary knowledge and skills as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, leader, researcher, and advocate for the profession and the consumer” (ACOTE Standards, 2018). Occupational therapy is a rewarding and satisfying career that requires a high level of skill and expertise.
The Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program spans seven semesters post-baccalaureate degree and culminates in an earned entry-level occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) degree. The course of study includes completion of didactic and lab courses, fieldwork Level I and II, a doctoral capstone experience, and a doctoral capstone project. The OTD Program’s Mission, Philosophy, and Curriculum Design center around curricular threads of Practice, Ethics, Advocacy, Leadership, and Scholarship. The Program’s Mission is to educate students to become competent and ethical practitioners who advocate for justice, serve as leaders, and embrace a lifetime of scholarship.
See the list of Essential Functions for Coursework and Fieldwork that details the performance abilities and characteristics necessary to successfully complete the requirements of the OTD program.
See Entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate Degree Admission Requirements for application and admission details. Acceptance into the capped OTD program includes but is not limited to the following: completion of a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with an earned, preferred cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale; completion of all pre-requisite course requirements; meeting competitive GRE score criteria (waived for entrance in Fall 2024); and submitting an application accompanied by three letters of recommendation.
Student membership into the state and national occupational therapy professional organizations is required. Prior to beginning community-engaged learning experiences, Level I and Level II fieldwork, and the doctoral capstone experience, students must show evidence of malpractice liability insurance ($2,000,000/$4,000,000). Liability insurance is mandatory and provided through the University, and the University has negotiated a favorable group rate for occupational therapy students. Students are billed through the University when they register for courses that include a fieldwork or community experience. All students must have current CPR certification; hepatitis B immunization; measles, mumps, and rubella immunizations; varicella, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, Covid-19 full vaccination including booster; an annual FBI & BCI criminal history record check, tuberculosis test, seasonal influenza vaccine, history and physical exam, universal precautions and HIPAA training. Drug testing may be requested upon demand. Possession of or ability to attain a valid passport for travel outside the US is required for the Total Immersion Diversity Experience (TIDE). Level II Fieldwork courses must be completed within 12 months of the didactic coursework. Doctoral capstone must be completed within 24 months of completing didactic coursework.