Occupational therapists are health care professionals who assist clients and their families to participate in meaningful daily life activities (occupations), gain or restore independence, and promote a satisfying, healthy lifestyle. Occupational therapists use occupations as the means and the goals of prevention and intervention. They provide skilled services across the lifespan in a wide variety of settings, including homes, schools, community centers, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities.
The Occupational Therapy Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3449; phone, (800) 729-2682; and it’s web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of this program who have successfully met all academic and fieldwork requirements and Utica College graduation criteria are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists that is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), located at 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877-4150. In addition, most states require licensure to practice occupational therapy; however, state regulatory boards typically accept the results of the NBCOT certification examination to determine eligibility for licensure. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination and/or to obtain a state license as an occupational therapist. Potential students, with a prior felony conviction, should contact NBCOT for a pre determination of eligibility.
The occupational therapy curriculum is designed to integrate foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students learn and develop from studies in the liberal arts with professional education at the graduate level. Students may earn a bachelor of science degree in health studies while completing the first year of the occupational therapy program. Students who have already earned a bachelor degree may also enter the occupational therapy program as graduate students. Using a transformative learning model, the Utica College occupational therapy faculty embraces a humanistic educational process that acknowledges and respects individual needs and learning styles. As much as possible, the faculty provides an individualized and facilitative approach that fosters self-directed learning within a safe and trusting environment. Learning occurs best through collaborative experiences and active, life-long engagement in the teaching-learning process. Toward that end, faculty work to develop and sustain a community of scholars in which the reciprocal nature of education and knowledge development is experienced by faculty, students, and professionals within the community. Students are exposed to a diversity of perspectives while provided with the opportunities and experiences that facilitate:
- the assumption of personal responsibility and autonomous thinking,
- critical reflection,
- self-directed and life-long learning, and self-efficacy.
The faculty believes these to be the hallmarks of a liberally educated, ethical occupational therapist, capable of contributing to a just society while assuming leadership roles in a diverse and changing society.
This program is designed to be completed according to the published academic sequence (see below). Any alteration to this sequence must be approved by the occupational therapy faculty and will most likely have financial implications.
Occupational therapy prerequisite course work must be successfully completed prior to the beginning of Fieldwork Level II experiences. In addition, the occupational therapy faculty members have the responsibility to review all students to determine readiness for Fieldwork Level I and Level II experiences. Such faculty decisions are based on students’ demonstrated ability to meet the fieldwork goals and objectives and their professional behaviors. If a student is not deemed ready for a fieldwork experience, he or she will be notified of the faculty decision and a plan of action will be developed and monitored through its completion. After this remediation, the faculty members will again review the student’s readiness for fieldwork placement and make a final decision regarding the student’s readiness for fieldwork, or the need for dismissal from the program.
- A requirement of the Utica College Occupational Therapy program is that all Fieldwork Level II requirements be satisfied within twenty-four months of the completion of academic courses.
Student Learning Goals
Goals: Successful graduates from this program will….
- Demonstrate an understanding of how engagement in occupation supports participation in context;
The occupational therapy faculty members value occupation as the integral thread in the fabric of the curriculum for occupational therapy.
- Demonstrate critical analysis and thinking;
Strong autonomous, critical thinking is the second curricular thread, serving as an essential foundation for the development of the clinical reasoning, reflective thinking, and synthesis of research needed for evidence-based practice.
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors;
Professional development, the third curricular thread, is critical to the continuing competency of an occupational therapist who responds in a professional, effective, and ethical manner.
- Demonstrate skills in assessing occupational needs of diverse individuals and populations to include a consideration of social and environmental factors.
The fourth curricular thread requires the development of cultural competency and an appreciation of diversity in order to engage in respectful interactions within local and global communities. This includes an understanding of concepts of social and occupational justice and the development of skills in advocacy.
- Demonstrate competency in the roles and activities required of a highly effective entry-level occupational therapist practicing inter-professionally in a variety of contexts;
The fifth curricular thread addresses practice competencies throughout the occupational therapy process with a variety of populations and within a variety of practice settings.
- Demonstrate the ability to advocate for and with the profession, our clients, and populations within local and global communities;
The sixth curricular thread addresses the need for therapists to frequently assume the role of advocate within current practice environments.
- Demonstrate the skills necessary to be an informed consumer of research, synthesizing existing evidence for decision making.
This last curricular thread speaks to the need for practice decisions to be informed by the most current evidence with an understanding of the quality of that evidence.