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, requires completion of 15 units of occupational therapy coursework, is three academic years in length, includes a minimum of six months of full-time fieldwork experience, and requires a 14-week Capstone experience.

The OTD Program is designed to provide students with the skills for becoming an entry level therapist who is able to critically appraise their work, lead with initiative and promote and respond to the ongoing changes within systems of client care. The program prepares graduates to meet the demand for evidence-informed practice through development of skills in life-long learning, analysis of evidence, and translation of knowledge into practice. Contemporary practitioners work in diverse health, social, educational, and other community settings. In addition to having exceptionally strong abilities to analyze and verify theoretical foundations and practical techniques of occupational therapy, graduates of Puget Sound’s OTD program will be able to use current best-practices, articulate their professional reasoning, provide culturally sensitive and unbiased quality care, and critically appraise published literature to inform practice and make clinical decisions.

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.
  • During the fieldwork experience phase, students complete 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. Puget Sound has an exceptional track record in securing fieldwork placements for our students.
  • The capstone experience phase occurs following completion of the fieldwork experience. Students work with a faculty member and community mentor to complete a 14-week Capstone experience in which they apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first 3 phases.

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814. ACOTE's telephone number (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is Graduates of the program will be able 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 graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.


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