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Occupational Therapy

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General Information

Occupational therapists use occupation (i.e., purposeful activity that is meaningful to the person and is aimed at achieving a goal) to support skills people need to learn, play, earn a living, and take care of themselves and others. The occupational therapist provides services to persons of all ages who want and need to participate as active members of society, but for whom physical, developmental, cognitive, or emotional issues interfere. These professionals also provide services to well populations, communities, and individuals to facilitate maximum health and quality of life and to prevent injury and disability.

Occupational therapists are employed in schools, mental health facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, government and community agencies, private practices, and industry. They may provide direct intervention services; act as consultants, administrators, researchers; teach at a college or university; or provide any combination of these.

The Department of Occupational Therapy Education is on the third floor of Robinson Building on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan. It is part of the KU School of Allied Health.

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Academic Programs

The department offers several programs.

The Master of Occupational Therapy is an entry-level professional degree program that prepares students to begin the practice of occupational therapy. The Bachelor of Science degree in occupational studies is an academic degree conferred upon satisfactory completion of the first year of the Master of Occupational Therapy program, when students enroll in undergraduate courses focusing on the study of occupational therapy and related concepts. Following 3 years of prerequisite undergraduate courses, students apply and are admitted in their final year of undergraduate study. The program continues with 2 years at the graduate level, after which students earn the Master of Occupational Therapy degree. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, 301-652-6611.

A clinically based doctorate program, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is designed for practicing occupational therapists who want to pursue the highest level of advanced practice. A degree and current license are required for admission.

With an emphasis on understanding the consequences of health conditions for the person, rather than the health condition itself, the Doctor of Philosophy in Therapeutic Science is an interdisciplinary program that involves faculty in a variety of departments and schools at the University of Kansas.

The Master of Science program is for practicing occupational therapists and other professionals interested in researching disability issues. Admission is limited to students wishing to pursue a research-based master’s degree or to those interested in the therapeutic science doctoral program who do not hold a master’s degree with a research emphasis.

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