Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Enter the profession ready to lead in service to others.

Earning a Doctor of Occupational Therapy at ACU can lead to a rewarding career. You will help individuals whose ability to cope with the activities of daily living are impaired by physical illness or injury, congenital or developmental disability, or the aging process.  In addition, you will enter the field equipped with the skills required to be a leader that knows how to lift up the capabilities of others. You will have the tools to inspire, motivate and create positive actions among your clients, co-workers, fellow health care professionals and communities.

Enter the profession ready to lead in service to others.

Earning a Doctor of Occupational Therapy at ACU can lead to a rewarding career. You will help individuals whose ability to cope with the activities of daily living are impaired by physical illness or injury, congenital or developmental disability, or the aging process.  In addition, you will enter the field equipped with the skills required to be a leader that knows how to lift up the capabilities of others. You will have the tools to inspire, motivate and create positive actions among your clients, co-workers, fellow health care professionals and communities.

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Are you ready for the challenge?

Ready to be part of a profession that helps people gain independence? Our new application is open until Nov. 15. Contact us today to learn more or begin your application.

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Overview

The Doctor of Occupational therapy degree at Abilene Christian University is a new program and is in the process for accreditation under the purview of the American Council of Occupational Therapy Examiners (ACOTE). As part of that process the program has achieved Candidacy Status and the first cohort of students has been accepted to begin Fall 2021. The program is currently in preparation for a preaccreditation review and on-site evaluation scheduled for November 2022 and June 2023 respectively. Accreditation status must be granted before graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  Final accreditation decision will be made in August 2023.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy, consisting of classroom instruction, fieldwork, and capstone experience may be completed in 29 months. A small, personalized program, cohorts of 18 are sought. The program is integrated with ACU’s quality Master of Occupational Therapy and students from both programs attend approximately two thirds of the courses together.

Overall the curriculum provides a foundation of generalist education which includes broad exposure to theories and practice areas in occupational therapy. Further focus provided by the OTD includes additional mentoring in servant leadership and autonomy of action, training in research techniques that are applicable within and without the clinical setting and concurrent specialized training in the students’ chosen area of  clinical practice skills, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development.

The 85-hour program includes two 12-week fieldwork education rotations and a 14-week doctoral capstone experience. The capstone experience consists of two parts: the capstone project and the capstone experience. For the capstone experience, the student will complete an individual 14-week capstone experience in the students chosen area of specialization for the purpose of implementing the project.

Upon completion of degree requirements and dependent on the accreditation decision which will be made in August 2023 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.

Program Structure

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

These are the important details you will need to keep in mind as you prepare your application and degree plan.

Required Hours

Required Hours: 85
2021/2022 tuition per credit hour: $1,110
Program Length: 29 months

Example Coursework

Occupational Therapy for Adult Populations
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Seminars I – IV
Leadership in Occupational Therapy
Specialized Occupational Therapy Preparation

Department

Occupational Therapy

Application Deadlines

November 15

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy is to prepare occupational therapy students to think and act critically, missionally, and globally through Christian service as specialized occupational therapy professionals and leaders throughout their respective communities.

We believe in teaching students to recognize that occupation in its broadest sense is a great gift from God and therefore requires great responsibility. This responsibility is taught through our core values of faith, service, authenticity, innovation, competency and servant leadership.

All application materials must be filed through the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service (OTCAS). These positions will be determined based on the level of qualification of each student. The admission requirements are:

  1. A completed application for admission with a nonrefundable ACU Graduate application fee.
  2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent. Admission decisions are made based on the assumption that applicants will have the bachelor’s degree by the time of matriculation. If not, the graduate school admission is void.
  3. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2.
  4. Two letters of recommendation. Recommendation forms are available through the OTCAS system. One letter should be provided from an occupational therapist and the other by a professional who has observed the applicant’s work. This includes individuals who have (a) observed the applicant during any healthcare-related volunteer or paid work, (b) previous or present instructors and/or advisors, (c) previous or present employers, or (d) health care professionals.
  5. Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the occupational therapy profession by documenting a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer/observation activity in a professional occupational therapy setting. Applicants are encouraged to complete observation hours in more than one clinical setting. Procedures for documentation are outlined in the OTCAS system. 
  6. Applicants must complete a Personal Statement as prompted by the OTCAS system and a supplemental question as part of the application process. The supplemental question includes spiritual and/or life experiences that influenced the applicant’s decision to apply to occupational therapy school, and clinical experience or observation that evoked passion about occupational therapy.
  7. At the time of application, applicants must demonstrate the ability to complete all required prerequisite coursework prior to enrollment in the first semester of the program. Advance Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit will not be accepted for any prerequisite course. All Occupational Therapy course prerequisites other than Medical Terminology must be taken at an accredited school and successfully completed with a grade no lower than a C. Credit/no Credit designations are not accepted for prerequisite courses. Medical Terminology may be taken as a certificate or continuing education course. All prerequisite coursework must be completed within 7 years prior to enrollment. A maximum of 6 credit hours of prerequisites can be pending at the time of application with the exception of Anatomy & Physiology I and II which must be completed at the time of application. Required prerequisite coursework includes:
  8. 6 Credit Hour Minimum     Anatomy & Physiology I & II
    3 Credit Hour Minimum     Statistics
    3 Credit Hour Minimum     Abnormal Psychology
    3 Credit Hour Minimum     Life Span Development (or Developmental Psychology)
    Verification of Completion Medical Terminology
  9. The OTD utilizes the online learning management system Canvas and online applications are used during class times for testing and learning activities. Students admitted into the program must have access to a laptop computer with internet and Word, Excel & PowerPoint capabilities throughout the entirety of the program.
  10. In addition verification of required immunizations must be submitted prior to matriculation into the professional curriculum. Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training is required prior to fieldwork placement and will be provided during the program for a separate fee.

The ACU OTD entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its 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.

The ACU OTD is NOT currently accredited. The ACU OTD is a new program and is in Candidacy Status for accreditation. Final accreditation decision will be made in August 2023.

The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is a student led organization and is a vital part of the occupational therapy program. SOTA promotes awareness of the profession by fostering camaraderie and fellowship. We provide volunteer efforts for groups such as Buddy Walk, Night to Shine, and Disability Resources Incorporated.  We also sponsor “Dinner with an OT” events where OTs share their experiences with our student body.  SOTA sponsors a booth at the Texas Occupational Therapy Association conference for fundraising got charity and conference support for members.  And of course, we love to gather for meals,  pumpkin carving contests, Christmas parties, and graduation celebrations!

Abilene Christian University is host to the Delta Omega Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), the national honor society for occupational therapy which was originally formed in 1958. Membership in the society occurs in the second semester of the program and is dependent on scholarly achievement and an application process.

The mission of Pi Theta Epsilon is to support the practice of occupational sciences and the practice of authentic occupational therapy by promoting research, leadership and scholarly activities by its members. In this way, the organization serves not only the profession, but helps to ensure quality health care services for the general public.

The Delta Omega Chapter fulfills this mission by sponsoring and organizing the ACU OT annual Research Day event.  All ACU OT students participate in this annual event in April with presentations of scholarly work achieved in the program. In addition, the chapter funds and manages the Hope A. Hodges Micro Grant Research Award. Other past activities include data collecting as part of AOTA Backpack Week and serving as a connectors with alumni.