College of Health and Human Services2021-2022

Department of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is one of two entry points that is a required degree in the U.S. to practice as an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy (OT) is a health care profession focused on supporting individuals, groups and populations engage in activities (occupations) that they need or want to do. Occupational therapists work with a wide range of populations in diverse settings across the lifespan. In addition, a focus is on prevention of functional limitations and disability, and promoting health and wellness. Occupational therapists must be knowledgeable about the U. S. healthcare system and should participate in the development of health policy as advocates for their profession.
The NAU OT program offers a first-rate doctoral degrees that focuses on building clinical and professional reasoning skills, service learning, practice scholar and fieldwork rotations that culminate in an individualized semester long capstone experience to develop entry-level occupational therapists. Through the 33 month curriculum, students will learn transformative skills, beyond the generalist level, practice-scholar competencies in the areas of practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory predominate.
The OTD program provides didactic and clinical coursework to prepare students to work in the profession of occupational therapy. The NAU OTD curriculum design reflects the essential concepts of the profession’s and contains ‘threads’ enacting the curriculum’s mission, vision and enabling belief’s about learning. The design will result in specific student outcomes that reflect both the generalist and post-generalist learning that needs to be included. The curriculum threads include:

1. Occupational Performance Perspectives
The core professional knowledge, philosophies and theories supporting the occupational therapy profession and its practice.

2. Body Functions Supporting Occupational Performance  The fundamental human scientific and medical knowledge supporting the occupational therapy practice.

3. Occupational Therapy Toolkit
The fundamental therapeutic skills and strategies underlying the delivery of occupational therapy across contexts.

4. Occupational Therapy Process Specific interventional approaches and associated efficacy evidence that support person-environment ‘fit’ using occupational performance outcomes and related preparatory practice methods.

5. Scholarship of Practice
he use and creationof data, including translation to inform practice through embedded scholarship of practice activities that includes outcome studies and various other measurements of practice effectiveness.  The capstone will be dissemination of a practice-based study.

6. Practice-Scholar Leadership
The development of the transformative practice-scholar roles across a variety of contexts: educator, fieldwork educator, coach, researcher, entrepreneur, consultant and advocate.  The capstone will be a program outcome plan that reflects the curriculum outcomes through a guided, individually-focused transformative capstone experience in advanced practice, systems leadership and/or self-proposed application of occupational therapy approaches.

7. Practice Competence
A series of progressively more complex integrated learning expectations tying together all prior learning, including integrated professional competency testing at the end of each on-campus semester or through level I and level II fieldwork education.  Activities at the end of a regular semester are to promote clinical reasoning and master competency across all prior coursework to facilitate higher order integrated learning. The final stage will be the successful completion of a practice competency examination at the end of all fieldwork to ensure readiness for the capstone experience.

8. Capstone An individually-mentored, self-directed capstone experience and a related scholarly project in completed as the culminating activity of the doctoral program with experience in one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development. The capstone is designed to demonstrate integration of advanced knowledge as transformational practice scholars in the scholarship of practice, professional education competencies, health care leadership and self-direction of one’s career through a semester long experience.
Future opportunities:
The OTD is a clinical doctorate that prepares students to take the national licensing examination required to practice OT in the U.S. Students are prepared as generalists with the skills necessary to enter clinical practice in diverse settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, community based mental health agencies, integrated care clinics and home health agencies. From 2016-2026, there is a projected 24% employment growth in the field of OT.
Population best suited:
Students entering the OTD Program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college and completed the necessary prerequisite courses. It is a rigorous full-time program that requires strengths in science, psychology, communication, and teamwork. Professional and ethical behavior is essential.

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