Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

With statistics forecasting a 27 percent growth in the national demand for occupational therapists from 2014 to 2024*, this fast-growing field presents a remarkable opportunity in the healthcare profession.

West Coast University has created a concentrated, full-time, 32-month entry-level program dedicated to the education of occupational therapists with advanced skills and in-depth experience through the doctoral experiential component in one or more of the following: clinical practice, research, leadership and advocacy, education or program development.

Our student-centric, interprofessional approach prepares students with the critical-thinking skills, practical experience and compassionate approach necessary to succeed in this challenging yet rewarding field.


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The 112 credit, 32 month occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program derives from a practice-scholar model emphasizing the integration of scholarly knowledge in professional practice.  The culminating project and attendant doctoral courses aim to facilitate the student’s personal growth of reflective practice skills and lifelong learning for an extensively prepared entry into the profession of occupational therapy.  Going beyond the generalist requirements of a master’s level program, the doctoral coursework provides the student with a deepened engagement with practice skills, innovation, occupational therapy and occupational science theory, and research thereby building a solid foundation for future leadership and advocacy within occupational therapy and the workplace. 

Within the OTD program, students develop competency in integrative thinking about humans as occupational beings to provide occupation-based occupational therapy services to meet a diverse range of needs.  Intervention courses give students experience utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, a medical simulation lab, and advanced practice modalities.  The integrative pedagogy builds a sophisticated understanding of occupational performance with an emphasis on viewing humans as biopsychosocial beings.  Coursework extensively prepares them for Fieldwork Level I and II experiences which take place from trimesters II-VI. 

Learning is Doing

We believe our students learn best through active participation. Ongoing experiential education is achieved through hands-on implementation of classroom theory, and through fieldwork, obtaining real-world skills in a variety of practice settings. Active participation advances the students’ practice and communication skills; enabling them to take on increased responsibility over the course of their fieldwork with greater confidence.

Student-Centric Educational Environment

When setting out to design our program, we posed a simple question: What type of educational structure will maximize students’ opportunity for success?

OUR ANSWER: An integrated approach to classroom work, advanced technology and in-depth, hands-on experiential learning.

West Coast University’s OTD curriculum does not include on-line education. Occupational therapy, by its very nature, is hands-on and interactive. So our learning environment reflects those key realities.

As such, West Coast University occupational therapy students take part in exciting innovations – such as our technologically-advanced patient Simulation Centers – involving students in simulated healthcare scenarios that mirror real life. And because the real world of healthcare depends on interprofessional cooperation, West Coast University gives occupational therapy students the chance to collaborate with other healthcare professionals in training.

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Program Benefits

  1. Concentrated, full-time program completion in 32 months
  2. One entry point per year
  3. All face-to-face courses
  4. Patient Simulation Center
  5. Sensory Integration Lab
  6. Driving Retraining Simulator
  7. Vision Assessment Lab
  8. Interprofessional education
  9. Low student-to-teacher ratio
  10. Competitive tuition and fees