The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its 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 (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3.
ACOTE Action: Grant Candidacy Status and proceed with the preaccreditation review of the program. The NBCOT school code assigned to the OTD program is 34721.
The OTD program is approved for 1 cohort of 30 students per cohort for a total of 30 new students per year.
The program identified the following strengths:
The College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences currently houses the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, the Doctorate of Audiology (AuD) program, and the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program. Developing the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program provides a full complement of rehabilitation programs that can be offered in the college.
With ETSU’s emphasis on interprofessional education and collaborative practice, the OTD program adds both breadth and depth to existing programs and builds on the university’s mission to “provide strong, comprehensive educational, research, and service programs in the health sciences that advance the health and wellness of people throughout Tennessee and Southern Appalachia and rural populations around the world.”
Remaining Areas of Concern:
Upon review of the Candidacy Application and the additional materials requested, the following area of concern was identified:
2018 Standard C.1.5. Sufficient Fieldwork Agreements: Although the program has met the minimum requirements for Level II fieldwork Letters of Intent for the 30 students with between 66 and 70 Level II placements, it will need to continue to develop fieldwork agreements to ensure that they are sufficient in scope and number to allow completion of graduation requirements in a timely manner.
The East Tennessee State University OTD program is scheduled to submit a full Report of Self-Study on 11/1/2023, and is scheduled for an initial on-site in the September-November 2024 timeframe. The above concern should be addressed in the program's Report of Self-Study.
Note that once Candidacy Status is granted, requests to expand or significantly change the program (e.g., admit an additional student cohort, increase the number of students to be accepted each year by 25% or more from the number indicated in the program’s Candidacy Application, offer the program at an additional location by distance education, add a weekend, evening, or part-time track, etc.) require advance approval from ACOTE. The request for a significant change must include all information designated under “Significant Program Changes or Additions” in ACOTE Policy V.B.1. Additions or Changes.