Chairperson and Program Director: Julie Kunisch, OTD; Clinical Associate Professors: Julie Kunisch, OTD and Laura Poleshuck, OTD; Clinical Assistant Professor: Will Soles, MS, Lisa Sykes, OTD
Occupational Therapy Program Mission Statement
The mission of the occupational therapy program is consistent with the mission of Nazareth University and the College of Interprofessional Health and Human Services in that it will develop successful occupational therapy practitioners, beginning researchers, and future leaders who are advocates of the profession. Its graduates will have a strong sense of collaborative teamwork and service to others. Students will be prepared to provide and engage in evidence based practice and research that values and supports the occupation of individuals in diverse environments and cultures.
Occupational Therapy Program
The Occupational Therapy Program at Nazareth University is a professional entry-level five-year program. The combined baccalaureate/master’s (BS/MS) program requires 165 credits for completion of the degree (131 credit hours at the undergraduate level; 30 credit hours at the graduate level). With the exception of a few courses (OTR 516, OTR 518, OTR 501, OTR 551, and summer options of OTR 101 and OTR 102) all courses are taught in person. The Occupational Therapy Program was granted accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in December 2014.
Occupational therapy is a dynamic profession that supports the philosophy that people are shaped by what they do, and what they accomplish in their daily lives. The occupational therapy profession supports the concept that everyone has the right to engage in meaningful activities. The American Occupational Therapy Association describes this by saying that occupational therapy helps people to live life to its fullest.
Preparation includes a strong background in the sciences and liberal arts and an intensive professional education. Through active engagement in lectures, labs, clinical opportunities, and fieldwork experiences, students learn to assist individuals in developing and/or regaining the skills they need for purposeful participation in daily life.
Occupational Therapy undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 2.0 in science courses to continue in the major.
In the Nazareth OT program, students actively engage in learning how to support the development of a person’s sensory, physical, cognitive/perceptual, and/or psychosocial abilities. They also learn to modify the environment to help the person to be as self-sufficient and productive as possible. The program prepares students with the clinical reasoning needed for entry-level general practice, and develops initial skills in specialization areas such as early intervention, school based practice, developmental disabilities, neurological rehabilitation, environmental analysis and modification, sensory processing, and the treatment of upper extremity and orthopedic impairments. Students also have the opportunity to engage in collaborative research with faculty and OT Clinicians to promote and enhance knowledge.
The diversity of the profession will allow the graduate the opportunity to provide occupational therapy in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, clinics, and the community.
Nazareth University’s entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program was granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in December 2014. ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Its web address is www.acoteonline.org. Accreditation of the program allows its graduates to be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Certification Board for Occupational Therapists (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). NBCOT pass rates can be accessed at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx. In addition, New York State, and all other states require licensure in order to practice, however state licenses are contingent 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 exam or attain state licensure.