Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Transition to the Occupational Therapy Doctor (OTD) 

In August of 2017, the Accrediting Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) announced a mandate that all  occupational therapists entering the field in 2027 would have to have an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD). Since that time, the mandate has been put on hold as the profession reviews the transition.  This means that individuals can enter the profession with either a Master’s degree or a Doctorate. 

In response to the rapidly changing environment in Occupational Therapy, the WVU Division of Occupational Therapy has added an OTD degree to their educational offerings. The Division of OT anticipates accepting their class of doctoral students in May 2021. Students entering WVU in the fall of 2019 or later who want to pursue the OTD degree must complete a bachelor's, apply and be accepted to the program before beginning classes in the OT program. The recommended degree is Exercise Physiology.  It will contain all of the pre-requisite courses needed to enter the OTD. 

The program will remain competitive and a limited number of students will be admitted.  Students will still have to complete volunteer hours, get recommendations and, if selected, interview for one of the spots in the class.  

The West Virginia University entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation 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. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.

 The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation 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.

Be sure to watch this web page for additional information as updates will be listed here as they develop.