Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level

If you already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and have decided to become an occupational therapist, congratulations on an excellent career choice. Whether your degree is in the sciences, humanities, or arts, a great deal of what you’ve learned can help you excel in this multifaceted health profession. You’ll need an understanding of people, critical reasoning skills, communication skills, creativity, and the desire to apply your knowledge in real- life situations.

When will IU transition to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level?

The Department is planning to transition to this degree level Summer I of 2018. However, you are encouraged to stay in touch with the Department and School to see if this changes.

Is Indiana University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level right for you?

At Indiana University, we plan to transition to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy in the summer of 2018. Occupational Therapy academic coursework and fieldwork are integrated into a curriculum that’s occupation- focused, evidence – based, client – centered, and organized around the AOTA identified six areas of practice (1) Mental Health, (2) Productive Aging, (3) Children and Youth, (4) Rehabilitation Disability and Participation, (5) Work and Industry, and (6) Health and Wellness. You’ll study the concepts, theory, and practice of occupational therapy with professors and practitioners known in health care communities worldwide.

Beginning in your first semester and throughout the three year curriculum, you’ll acquire an exceptional range of clinical experience through Level I Fieldwork and Level II Fieldwork placements chosen from IU’s large network of local and national sites. You’ll also complete a 16 – week doctoral experiential component, which Indiana University is calling a pre-doctoral residency. Throughout the program, you’ll have close interaction and personal attention from  experienced, nationally, and internationally recognized Occupational Therapy faculty. Most Occupational Therapy classes will be small seminar style (6) and labs of (12); your largest Occupational Therapy class only will have 36 students.

Regardless of your undergraduate or graduate area of study, our program is designed to fully prepare you to take the NBCOT, National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam. After passing the exam, you’ll be ready to enter clinical practice with confidence and current knowledge of the discipline.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level program at Indiana University will welcome students with a wide variety of educational and work experiences. We will offer this diverse student community an outstanding combination of advantages:

  • Faculty have extensive clinical and research experiences and are committed to engaging students in professional activities.
  • The Department of Occupational Therapy is in the IU School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences which is associated with the largest medical school in the country – IU School of Medicine.
  • Fieldwork experiences occur throughout the curriculum  and provide a broad exposure of settings and client populations
  • Coursework, fieldwork, and the “doctoral experiential component” are integrated into a curriculum that’s organized around the AOTA identified six areas of practice, supporting the professions continual vision and allowing the recipients of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level to be successful on the National Certification examination and in their future practice choices.

The IU program is designed for students who:

  • Desire to be agents of change for best practice in Occupational Therapy
  • Are flexible, dynamic, and creative problem solvers
  • Can communicate and collaborate effectively with diverse communities
  • Are interested in both the biological and behavioral sciences
  • Enjoy understanding complex knowledge about human occupations
  • Are committed to lifelong learning as a health professional

NBCOT Pass Rates*

The current IU MS in Occupational Therapy program results from the national Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at

Please visit the AOTA’s Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, ACOTE, webpage for more information

*Again, please note: pass rates refer to graduates of Indiana University’s MS in Occupational Therapy Program as the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level has not started. It is planned to start in the summer of 2018.


Proposed Program Outcomes

The Graduates of the IU Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate entry-level occupational therapy clinical skills, and knowledge;
  2. Demonstrate the ability to  develop or enhance an existing service of Occupational Therapy practice
  3. Demonstrate professional behaviors appraising one’s own strengths and areas of improvement
  4. Describe the roles for clients, peers, Occupational Therapy/Occupational Therapy Assistant students and others in various practice settings
  5. Identify how occupational therapists prepared at the doctoral level can influence policy, education, practice and research
  6. Articulate the methods and strategies for advancing the profession of occupational therapy
  7. Contribute a scholarly project;  such as professional writing and/ or presentations
  8. Apply principles of ethical conduct to individuals, organizations and society,
  9. Demonstrate dispute resolution strategies and describe due process     


MS in Occupational Therapy Program transitioning to an Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level (OTD EL)

Indiana University is a nationally recognized leader with a long history (1956) of educating occupational therapy – our MS in Occupational Therapy program has been a consistently ranked as one of the top 25 Occupational Therapy programs in the country by U.S.  News and World Report (currently ranked #25) as of 2016.


Two Routes to the OTD

Because IU Occupational Therapy received the approval from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to offer the OTD degree in 2014, there will be two routes of entry to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level (OTD EL). Those who are not an occupational therapist will apply to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Entry-Level. Those with a Master’s degree and who are already licensed occupational therapists, or eligible for licensure will apply to the Post-Professional OTD program.

Fieldwork Experiences

There will be three Level I experiences.

There will be two Level II experiences (12 weeks in duration). The plan is to have them  in two of the six areas of practice as described by AOTA:

  1. Productive Aging
  2. Children and Youth
  3. Mental Health
  4. Rehabilitation, Disability and Participation
  5. Health & Wellness
  6. Work & Industry  

Doctoral Experiential

There will be a doctoral experiential. This experiential will be called a pre-doctoral residency here at IU. Details about the pre-doctoral residency are being discussed by faculty. ACOTE (2011) Educational Standard B11.0 states it will be an in depth experience which will be over sixteen weeks. This experience should focus on the student’s professional interest in one of the following: clinical practice (community, school systems, healthcare), research, policy/advocacy, administration or education.

Some of the examples suggested are:

  • Clinical practice program development or program enhancement
  • Specialization in traditional practice areas
  • Extended research experience with faculty and campus scientist
  • Apprenticeships in national organizations for leadership development
  • Administrative and management development in hospital, SWF, or school systems or school settings
  • Teaching experiences in professional Occupational Therapy or technical OTA programs
  • Community outreach engagement (Goodwill, Student Outreach Clinic, Wellness programs, etc.)
  • Policy and advocacy development at the local, regional, or national level.
  • Analyzing and evaluating educational practices or theories