DALLAS TWP. – In preparation for new professional requirements, Misericordia University is planning to launch an entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program, starting next year.
The Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has mandated that all entry-level practitioners graduating after July 2027 must have a doctoral degree.
In response, Misericordia’s Department of Occupational Therapy will introduce the new program beginning with the 2019 fall semester.
The program will features a six-year sequence that combines the foundation of a liberal arts education with professional occupational therapy coursework to produce a holistic practitioner.
Students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational science in three-and-a-half years before working toward their doctorate in occupational therapy with two-and-a-half years of coursework.
By maintaining established academic standards, students automatically matriculate to the graduate portion of the program.
“The decision was made to implement a Bachelor of Science in occupational science in order to begin to shape the professional behaviors and enhance the foundational knowledge of an occupational therapy student prior to entering into the doctoral phase,’’ said department chair Lori Charney. “A six-year, entry-level program offers students the confidence that they will have a seat in the graduate program, which is notably something that prospective students look for when comparing programs.’’
The inaugural class will begin the pre-professional phase in the 2019 fall semester. The class will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in occupational science in December 2022 and enter the doctoral phase of the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program in January 2023.
The Misericordia University Department of Occupational Therapy received its first ACOTE accreditation in 1985. ACOTE currently accredits 406 programs in the United States and its territories.
Misericordia used ACOTE’s entry-level doctorate accreditation standards in the development of the curriculum for the new doctoral program.
Students who enrolled in the five-year Master of Science in occupational therapy program with projected graduation dates of May 2019 through 2023 will receive their master’s degrees and be eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination and apply for state licensure.
Upon receiving licensure, the students can apply to the post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Misericordia.
The last cohort of the traditional occupational therapy program will graduate in May 2023, while the last class in the part-time weekend program will graduate in August 2024.
For more information about the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program, visit www.misericordia.edu/ot.