Nearly 100 students in West Coast University’s inaugural master’s degree in Occupational Therapy class received an early holiday gift when they learned in December that the program received the maximum seven years of accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
With nearly 400 Occupational Therapy programs being offered nationwide, the accreditation status is an important milestone for the program and for the students who made the choice to attend West Coast University, said Dr. Nicolaas van den Heever, the founding dean and director of the Occupational Therapy Program.
“It just confirms that this is a program of high educational quality,” Dr. van den Heever said. “You want to look back and be proud of the education you get. This puts us in the ring with all the other schools that have history behind them.”
The program, which was launched in September 2013 at West Coast University’s Los Angeles campus, was found to have no deficiencies when it was awarded accreditation.
Program graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. After successful passing this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered.
The mission of West Coast University’s Occupational Therapy program is to develop caring and competent entry-level generalists who are lifelong learners and who can develop into advocates and leaders for the Occupational Therapy profession in diverse local and global communities.
Through a student-centric and interprofessional curriculum, the students will be prepared to be reflective practitioners by applying principles of evidence-based practice, research, and critical thinking to facilitate the well-being of consumers through engagement in valued occupations and as it relates to health promotion, prevention and wellness.
“We help people live their life to the fullest,” Dr. van den Heever said. “We work from birth to death and help people with any disability and anything that affects their daily life.”