Entry Level Doctorate Program (OTD)

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has been granted Candidacy by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number is (301) 652-2682 and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

The program must successfully complete a pre-accreditation review and an on-site evaluation to be granted Accreditation Status before OTD 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.

As we seek accreditation for the entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, many of the unique factors of our Program remain, such as the onsite clinic, experiential learning in context, and community engagement. The new entry-level OTD degree will allow our graduates to be better prepared to address the changing milieu of occupational therapy practice across context including population-based services.

Entry Level Doctorate Program

The entry level Doctorate Program in Occupational Therapy, leading to a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) is for college graduates who wish to become occupational therapists but do not have work experience in the field of occupational therapy. The program, which requires completion of 15 units of occupational therapy coursework, is three academic years in length including a minimum of six months of full-time fieldwork experience, and a 14-week Capstone experience.

Puget Sound has had an Occupational Therapy Program for more than 75 years and is one of the top ranked programs in the Pacific Northwest.  The OTD is designed to not only provide the skills for becoming an entry level therapist, but to also develop life-long learners, leaders and entry-level practitioners who are able to test and verify the theoretical foundations and practical techniques of occupational therapy using rigorous, systematic methods of study. Contemporary practitioners work in diverse health, social, educational, and other community settings requiring new graduates to be able to critically appraise their work, take initiative and to be able to respond to the ongoing changes within the system.  Additionally, the evidence of effective therapeutic outcomes, and the need to promote evidence-based practice is stronger than ever before. Puget Sound graduates will have exceptionally strong abilities to use current best-practices, to be able to articulate their professional reasoning, to take leadership roles, and to implement a worthwhile research study that contributes to the professional literature.

There are four phases to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate course of study: pre-professional, professional, fieldwork experience, and capstone experience.

The pre-professional phase occurs prior to enrollment in the program. During this phase, applicants complete Occupational Therapy program prerequisites.

During the professional phase, students complete the required Occupational Therapy coursework.

The fieldwork experience phase consists of completion of at least six months of full-time practice under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist in diverse health, social, educational, and other community settings.

The capstone experience phase occurs following completion of the fieldwork experience, students will work with a faculty member and community mentor to complete a 14-week Capstone experience where they apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first 3 phases. Students are then eligible to take the written national certification examination. In states with occupational therapy licensure laws, passing the national examination is accepted as evidence of competence to practice.