Online occupational therapy doctorate offers advancement with ease

Graphic by Claire Boston

By Lauren Lewis | Copy Editor

Starting this fall, Baylor has joined schools such as the University of Texas in exchanging traditional masters occupational therapy programs for doctorate level degrees. Including doctorates of Occupational Therapy has become the newest priority for OT programs, according to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Baylor is now the third university in Texas to offer a post-professional option, as shown by the AOTA’s research.

Houston senior Sydney Ivy, co-president of the Baylor Physical Occupational Therapy Association (SPOTA) said, “Eventually there’s not going to be any master’s programs, so I might as well get that leg up while I can.”

Students such as Ivy will have nine years to, literally, get with the program. By then, the transformation toward a doctoral level will be complete and at a higher entry level due to the exceptional growth the field is currently experiencing, according to the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy  Education.

Not only does the OTD program serve as a necessary update to keep current and future students on track, but the program is also bridging a gap for OT graduates. The program can be completed 100 percent online, enabling students to work full time and still focus on their studies from wherever life after graduation takes them. The online studies are self-paced, and according to the number of courses taken, can be completed in 12-36 months. Each course has a start and end date, creating a set work frame for the student.

Those who already have a master’s degree in occupational therapy or a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy (with a master’s degree in a related field) and have a license may earn their doctorate degrees.

The post-professional OTD program has two elective paths, allowing students to take control of their goals.

“The education and research electives are for those who have interest in learning to teach occupational therapy,” said April Briggs, director of operations for Robbins College of Arts and Human Sciences.

This track requires a weekend intensive course, which is on-site, and students will work with other occupational therapists in an area close to where the student is located. “It has the same online didactic, but there is more onsite work,” Briggs said.

The clinical/musculoskeletal elective track is designed for students who wish to continue treating patients.

While the applications for fall 2018 have closed, the application for spring 2019 is open until Nov. 1. Students can apply from their goBaylor account online. The student will need a current CV, two to three letters of recommendation, an essay and official transcripts. There is also an application fee of $50. No interview is required for the application.

For current students at Baylor who plan on choosing the occupational therapy track, another program is set to launch in 2021. The 2021 program is a two-year hybrid program for anyone that has at least a bachelor’s degree.