Overview of Occupational Therapy Program and Certification/Licensure Eligibility
The entry-level degree for certification and licensure in occupational therapy is the Master’s Degree.
In the Nazareth University combined 5-year BS/MS Degree in Occupational Therapy, the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science component of the overall program offers students the opportunity to establish a foundation for understanding the influence of human occupation on development, health, and wellness; and the impact of a disability on individuals within their society and culture. The Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science however, does not provide eligibility for certification or licensure in Occupational Therapy. Students must complete the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree to be eligible for certification and licensure as an Occupational Therapist. The Master of Science coursework requires the completion of 30 graduate credits in Nazareth University’s program for the student to be eligible for certification and licensure. A doctorate is not required to practice as an occupational therapist.
Occupational Therapy BS/MS Degree General Admission Requirements
The Occupational Therapy program has a Freshman admission policy. Candidates for freshman admission are required to complete a rigorous high school preparatory program of study. Students must demonstrate successful completion of high school math and science courses. Grades should be B level or better for consideration.
Transfer students who do not previously hold a bachelor’s degree are accepted on a competitive, space-available basis in the second or third year of the BS/MS program (see requirements below). A minimum grade of C in any previously taken science courses is required to be accepted into the occupational therapy program. Science courses considered for acceptance must have been taken within 5 years of the student’s application to the OT Program. Note - all students transferring into the OT program must do so at the Sophomore or Junior level due to OT course curriculum requirements.
Transfer Admission Requirements for Students Holding a Bachelor’s Degree
Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree and have completed all prerequisite coursework are eligible to apply to the OT program as a transfer student. Transfer students enter the program in the summer prior to the junior year curriculum. At the completion of the B.S. Occupational Science degree, students would then begin coursework in the M.S. in Occupational Therapy program. Prerequisite science courses must be taken within 5 years of the student’s application to the OT Program, with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the science courses. See outline of program requirements (end of page) for transfer students who hold a bachelor’s degree (includes full list of prerequisites, science and other coursework).
Transfer Admission Requirements for Students Holding an Associate’s Degree
Students who have previously earned an associate’s degree and have completed all prerequisite coursework are eligible to apply to the OT program as a transfer student. Transfer students enter the program in the summer prior to the junior year curriculum. Students are required to complete 60 credits of liberal arts courses, the core milestone experience and a course designated as one focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. If they have not completed them as part of their associate’s degree, they will need to complete additional courses which might prolong the length of their program. At the completion of the B.S. Occupational Science degree, students would then begin coursework in the M.S. in Occupational Therapy program. Prerequisite science courses must be taken within 5 years of the student’s application to the OT Program, with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the science courses. See outline of program requirements (end of page) for transfer students who hold a bachelor’s degree (includes full list of prerequisites, science and other coursework).
Occupational Therapy Program Requirements
The combined 5-year BS/MS Degree in Occupational Therapy requires completion of 162 total credit hours (132 credit hours at the undergraduate level; 30 credit hours at the graduate level). Occupational Therapy undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0, a minimum grade of C or higher in all required science courses, and a minimum grade of B- or higher in all Occupational Therapy courses in order to proceed in the major. All graduate level coursework must be completed with a grade of B or higher (minimum overall GPA 3.0). Note - OT courses, as well as courses in the liberal arts and sciences program may be subject to change.
Occupational Therapy Program Fieldwork Requirements
The fieldwork educational component of the BS/MS Occupational Therapy program at Nazareth University is designed to meet all of the standards required by ACOTE for Fieldwork Education. There are two levels of fieldwork for the occupational therapy student. These are described as Level I and Level II experiences.
Level I Fieldwork
The AOTA Standards describe the goal of Level I Fieldwork. It is “to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, and develop a basic comfort level with an understanding of the needs of clients” (AOTA, 2018).
In their senior year, OT students will complete three Level I Fieldwork experiences, one related to adults, one related to pediatrics, and one related to psychosocial issues.
Level II Fieldwork
According to the AOTA, “The goal of Level II Fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists.” (AOTA, 2018). The Level II Fieldwork experience, an integral part of an OT education, is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, to support ethical practice through transmission of the values and beliefs of the profession, to communicate and model professionalism as a developmental process and a career responsibility, and to expand knowledge and application of a repertoire of occupational therapy assessments and interventions related to human occupation and performance (AOTA, 2018).
Six months of Level II fieldwork are required by AOTA. The first fieldwork is scheduled for 12 weeks in the Summer semester following the Senior year. A second 12 week fieldwork experience is completed in the Fall of the 5th year of study. Both Level II fieldwork experiences are in the graduate phase of the program.