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Master's-to-Doctorate Programs in Occupational Therapy

Jan 08, 2020

This article will explore post-professional doctoral programs in occupational therapy, including the courses they have in common and their general admission requirements.

Post-professional doctoral programs in occupational therapy are designed for individuals who have either a bachelor's or master's degree in the area. Some of these programs are available on campus but many of them are completely online. In a few of these post-professional programs, students can specialize in areas like executive leadership as well as teaching and learning.

Typical Courses in Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Programs

The number of courses in these programs tends to vary based on an applicant's academic background, as someone with an undergraduate degree may take up to 60 credit hours. Someone with a master's degree, however, can earn their doctorate after completing between 29 and 37 credit hours of material.

Evidence-Based Practice

Courses that deal with evidence-based practice are meant to teach students how to use data to inform their decisions when practicing occupational therapy. The courses may teach students how to carry out research when trying to find evidence to resolve clinical questions. During these courses, students may learn to use research databases and evaluate peer-reviewed articles in occupational therapy.

Contemporary Theories and Trends

These courses teach students about the history of occupational therapy and review the fundamental theories applied in current practice. In some courses, students can explore clinical reasoning as it relates to therapeutic practice. Through class discussions, students might also be asked to reflect on how their work reflects current trends in client- and occupation-centered practice.

Ethics in Occupational Therapy

Courses of this nature usually focus on the ethical and legal standards that govern healthcare. Students may learn about different decision-making models and how ethics can be integrated into the process. The courses might also cover how occupational therapists can act as advocates for their patients.

Leadership in Occupational Therapy

These kinds of courses are designed to develop students' leadership skills when it comes to taking charge in different settings. The courses may teach students about different leadership styles as they explore their own personal style of leadership. These courses may also address how occupational therapists can make a successful transition from their professional practice to teaching.

Culture in Healthcare

Courses like these concentrate on how occupational therapists and their patients can be influenced by their respective cultural backgrounds. These courses can introduce students to the impact cultural beliefs can have on health and wellness. Students may also learn about designing patient interventions that take their cultural background into consideration.

Admission Requirements for Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Programs

While prospective students with a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy meet the minimum requirements for these programs, they may need to take additional bridge courses. For students with a master's degree, this must typically be focused on occupational therapy, and some programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0 in both degrees. A few post-professional doctoral degree programs in occupational therapy include a background check in their admission requirements. Along with their application, prospective students may also need to submit school transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, proof of certification and licensure as well as a current resume.

Post-professional doctoral programs in occupational therapy are open to professionals with at least a bachelor's degree in the area, but students with a master's degree can complete the program in less time. The programs have on-campus and online learning options where students can take courses that cover topics such as evidence-based practice, leadership in occupational therapy and culture in healthcare.

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