Occupational Therapy Education

 

Educational preparation for a career in occupational therapy may occur at either the professional or the technical level. The professional level education prepares one to become an occupational therapist, while the technical level education prepares one to become an occupational therapy assistant.

 

Current practicing occupational therapists have at least a four-year bachelor's degree or post-baccalaureate degree, such as a master's degree or entry level doctoral degree. As of January 1, 2007, occupational therapy candidates need a post-baccalaureate degree. In 2017, ACOTE 

 

Preparing for a career as an occupational therapy assistant requires completion of a 2-year associate degree.

 

Students in both professional and technical level education programs complete a period of supervised fieldwork and pass a national certification exam.

 

 

 

ACOTE responds to requests for an abeyance of the OTD mandate

December 6, 2017

At its November 30–December 3, 2017, meeting, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) received letters of request for an abeyance of the ACOTE mandate that the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist will move to the doctoral level by July 1, 2027. 

ACOTE members reviewed the process and timeline that led to the decision to mandate the entry-level doctoral degree. The members noted that the question of the entry-level degree requirements has been debated in the profession for well over 10 years and has been reviewed and discussed in every ACOTE meeting since publication of the recommendation in the AOTA Future of Education Ad Hoc Committee report in 2013. At each meeting, ACOTE members have reviewed reports, surveys, letters, petitions, publications, and proceedings from open hearings reflecting the issue from multiple stakeholder groups. In addition, ACOTE noted that at this time 83 program locations are applicant, candidate, or accredited doctoral-level programs, representing 30% of the occupational therapy entry-level programs. 

Given the deliberate process undertaken to ensure input from stakeholder groups in determining the mandate that the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist will move to the doctoral level by July 1, 2027, ACOTE members have decided to uphold the mandate as published. 

Occupational Therapist

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) has mandated that the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist will move to the doctoral level by July 1, 2027.

Only entry-level doctoral occupational therapy degree programs will be eligible to receive or maintain ACOTE accreditation status as of July 1, 2027.  

Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) has mandated that the entry-level degree for the occupational therapy assistant will move to the baccalaureate level by July 1, 2027. 

Only entry-level baccalaureate occupational therapy assistant degree programs will be eligible to receive or maintain ACOTE accreditation status as of July 1, 2027. Further, ACOTE and the AOTA Accreditation Department will develop and implement a plan for this transition so the concerns and needs of all affected stakeholders are addressed to facilitate the smoothest transition possible.

What does this mean for current students?

The ACOTE mandate will NOT impact occupational therapy students currently enrolled in master’s-degree programs or students planning to enroll in the next 6 years. ONLY students graduating after July 1, 2027, would be impacted.

The ACOTE mandate will NOT impact occupational therapy assistant students currently enrolled in associate’s-degree programs or students planning to enroll in the next 6 years. ONLY students graduating after July 1, 2027, would be impacted.

What does it mean for academic programs? 

Master’s-degree-level programs for the occupational therapist will have ten (10) years to transition to the doctoral level. The policies and procedures for transitioning from master’s- to doctoral-level program are currently available online (www.acoteonline.org). Additionally, ACOTE will work with AOTA to prepare free webinars and resource documents to be distributed in 2018 to assist programs with the transition. 

Associate’s-degree-level programs for the occupational therapy assistant will have ten (10) years to transition to the bachelor’s level. The policies and procedures for transitioning from an associate’s to bachelor’s level program will be available online by November 2017. Additionally, ACOTE will work with AOTA to prepare free webinars and resource documents to be distributed in 2018 to assist programs with the transition.

What does this mean for practitioners?

Current occupational therapists with bachelor’s or master’s occupational therapy degrees can continue to practice with their current degree and will NOT need a doctorate degree. 

Current occupational therapy assistants with associate’s degrees can continue to practice with their current degree and will NOT need a bachelor’s degree.

 

 

 

 

To find out about a career in occupational therapy as an occupational therapist, click here.

To find out about a career in occupational therapy as an occupational therapy assistant, click here.

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Occupational Therapy Programs in Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University
Department of Occupational Therapy
103 Dizney Building
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-3300
www.health.eku.edu/ots
[email protected]

Spalding University
Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy
851 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 588-7196
www.spalding.edu/occupationaltherapy
[email protected]

Murray State University 
Occupational Therapy Program
4430 Sunset Avenue
Paducah, KY 42001-4805
[email protected]


 

Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in Kentucky

Jefferson Community and Technical College
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Downtown Campus
109 East Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
502-213-4200 or 502-213-4296
http://jefferson.kctcs.edu/en/Academics/Programs_of_Study/Occupational_Therapy_Assistant.aspx

Madisonville Community College
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
750 North Laffoon Street
Madisonville, KY 42431
(270) 824-7552 x188
www.madcc.kctcs.edu/alliedhealth/programs/ota.html

Ross College
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
4001 Ft. Campbell Boulevard
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
(866) 815-5578
Contact:  Christie Choate 
[email protected]



 

Find us on:           

Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association
P.O. Box 5531 . Louisville, KY 40255 . (502) 873-5333 . Email: [email protected]