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 College 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 the individual within his/her 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 31 graduate credits in Nazareth College’s program for the student to be eligible for certification and licensure.
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 are accepted on a competitive, space-available basis in the second year of the BS/MS program (see requirements below). A minimum grade of B 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 level due to OT course curriculum requirements.
Occupational Therapy Program Requirements
The combined 5-year BS/MS Degree in Occupational Therapy requires completion of 164 total credit hours (133 credit hours at the undergraduate level; 31 credit hours at the graduate level). Occupational Therapy undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0, a GPA of 3.0 in sciences courses, and a 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 College 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, 1999).
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 and occupational therapy assistants.” (AOTA, 2012). The Level II Fieldwork experience, an integral part of an OT education, should be 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, 2012).
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.