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ACOTE’s Statement on the Entry-Level Degree for the OT and OTA (August 2015)

Occupational Therapist

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) has determined that the entry-level-degree requirement for the occupational therapist will remain at both the master’s and the doctoral degree. The Council’s decision is based on a comprehensive review of available literature, specific reports, and extensive commentary from stakeholders. The overarching justifications for the Council’s decision are: (1) limited outcomes differentiate master’s and doctorally prepared graduates; (2) the academic infrastructure of many institutions is not sufficient to meet the occupational therapy doctorate standards, especially with respect to faculty resources and institutional support; (3) the readiness and capability of institutions to deliver quality fieldwork and experiential components of the program is constrained; and (4) retaining two entry levels allows for flexibility of the profession to assess and address the changing health care needs of individuals and populations.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) has determined that the entry-level-degree for the occupational therapy assistant will be offered at both the associate and bachelor’s degree. A motion to move to the single entry-level baccalaureate was defeated, but the motion to move to a dual entry-level for the occupational therapy assistant was approved. The Council’s decision is based on a number of findings, which were informed in significant part by information and commentary from stakeholders, including: (1) the ability to better prepare individuals for further academic advancement and leadership positions; (2) the expansion of opportunities within the current scope of practice; and (3) two entry levels permits additional flexibility to assess and address the changing health care needs of individuals and populations.

Staff is currently working on the required policies and procedures necessary to implement the occupational therapy assistant at the baccalaureate degree level. More information will be available in fall 2015 after consultation with legal counsel.

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Accreditation Visits

A request for ACOTE’s most recent on-site visit report for a specific occupational therapy or occupational therapy assistant program may be submitted to the AOTA Accreditation Department, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3449.

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