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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200 North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929; 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 University 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 One Bank Street Suite 300. Gaithersburg, MD 20878. 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 predetermination 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 sciences while completing the first year of the occupational therapy program. Students who have already earned a Bachelor’s degree may also enter the occupational therapy program as graduate students. Using a transformative learning model, the Utica University 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.
The occupational therapy program faculty have identified six curricular threads or themes that run throughout the courses in the curriculum.
- Occupation is integral to the practice of occupational therapy.
- Strong autonomous, critical thinking serves as an essential foundation for evidence– based practice.
- Professional development is critical to the continuing competency of an occupational therapist.
- Cultural competency and an appreciation of diversity is necessary for person-centered care.
- Competency in the occupational therapy process is necessary as occupational therapists intervene with a variety of populations and within a variety of practice settings.
- Practice decisions must be informed by the most current evidence with an understanding of the quality of that evidence.
These threads result in the following student learning goals: Students in this program will
- Demonstrate an understanding of how engagement in occupation supports participation in context,
- Demonstrate critical thinking and analysis for innovative, evidence-based practice,
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors,
- Demonstrate cultural responsiveness and an appreciation of diversity to promote occupational justice and inclusion,
- Demonstrate competency in occupational therapy entry-level practice in settings across the occupational therapy process for people, populations, and communities and in collaboration with other professionals, and
- Demonstrate the skills necessary to assume the role of beginning research investigator.
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 University Occupational Therapy program is that all Fieldwork Level II requirements be satisfied within twenty-four months of the completion of academic courses.