Occupational therapists’ expertise lies in their knowledge of human occupation and how engaging in occupations can be used to impact human performance and the effects of disease and disability. Since engaging in occupation includes emotional aspects as well as the physically observable aspects of performance, occupational therapists approach their interactions with clients from a holistic perspective that addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and contextual aspects of performance.
Occupational therapists direct their interventions toward helping individuals engage in meaningful occupations that contribute to their health, well-being and life satisfaction. By linking the ability of individuals to perform daily life activities with meaningful occupations, occupational therapists promote the individual’s participation in desired roles and life situations in the home, school, workplace and community.
Occupational therapists assist individuals in identifying goals and performing the activities needed to function in their home, school, community or work environments. By restoring, reinforcing, or enhancing an individual’s ability to perform daily activities, occupational therapists help that person adapt to limitations or reshape their lives to become more productive and meaningful. By addressing problems that threaten individuals’ quality of life, occupational therapists promote and maintain health, diminish or correct pathology, facilitate satisfaction and develop abilities to perform tasks essential to productive living.
Occupational therapy is a challenging profession that provides services to individuals of all ages in a variety of health care and community settings. Occupational therapists often work in institutional settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers and school systems as members of interdisciplinary teams. While many occupational therapists continue to work in these settings, occupational therapists are also working with community businesses and agencies to bring occupational therapy services to a variety of places where people live, play and work. These include: community-based health care systems (home care), corporate environments, physicians’ offices, correctional institutions, hospice programs, specialized day care and day treatment programs, residences for persons with developmental or mental health disabilities and retirement communities.
Throughout the academic program, you will gain the knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning strategies needed for entry-level practice as an occupational therapist. Additionally, you will learn to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of professional readiness integral to clinical practice.
Students will enter this curriculum after completing a baccalaureate degree that includes prerequisite foundational coursework in biological and social sciences. During the post-baccalaureate program, you will complete courses that emphasize foundational knowledge, develop practice skills and instill professional readiness required for entering occupational therapy practice. Following the completion of course work, students will complete fieldwork experiences in a variety of health care and community settings. Fieldwork experiences in a variety of health care and community settings. Fieldwork placements are offered as two 12-week placements and may be assigned anywhere in the United States.
The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) www.acoteonline.org of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, phone 301-652-26824. Graduation from an ACOTE accredited program is required to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. Having been charged with or convicted of a felony; having any professional license, registration or certificate revoked, suspended or subject to probationary conditions; or being found to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness or willful or intentional misconduct may result in the graduate being barred from sitting for the certification examination. The graduate will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR) after successful completion of the exam.
Health and Other Special Requirements
The following requirements must be met prior to participating in fieldwork:
- Physical Examination
- Documentation of Immunization or Titer Immunity
- Measles/Rubeola, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap)
- Polio series completed
- Varicella titer or Varicella vaccinations
- Hepatitis B Vaccine Series or Declination
(Students may not be able to go to certain fieldwork sites if they do not receive the vaccine)
- Annual Flu Vaccine
- TB-Tuberculin PPD Test (documented 2-step initially, then annual)
- Health Insurance (copy of card required annually)
- CPR Certification-American Heart Association Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider required
- Urine Drug Screen (from the Maryville authorized lab)
- Criminal Record Background checks from Maryville University’s authorized agency and signed release to clinical sites (possible checks include: state criminal checks, disqualification lists, sex offender lists, social security number, address, and alias).
- Any additional requirements that may arise
- Fitting for a respiratory isolation device (i.e. N95 Mask) may be required by some clinical sites
- Some hospitals in Missouri now require nicotine screenings for all new employees. Therefore it is anticipated that students may be excluded from some clinical sites based upon their use of nicotine.
The following standards related to continuation in the post-baccalaureate occupational therapy curriculum are stated below. To remain in good standing for continuation through the OT Program, students must:
Students in the Occupational Therapy Program must earn no less than a “B-” in all required graduate courses. Students earning below a “B-” (C+ or below) in any required graduate level course will be dismissed from the program.
A semester AND cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater must be maintained throughout the entirety of the program. Failure to achieve this minimum grade point average will result in probation. Failure to meet the minimum 3.0 semester AND cumulative GPA for a second consecutive or nonconsecutive semester will result in dismissal from the OT Program.
Occupational Therapy Program Expenses
Students also can expect to pay additional expenses associated with the experiential portion of the program - such as fees for attending professional conferences, professional attire for fieldwork, fieldwork required insurance coverage, health tests, CPR & First Aid certification, immunizations, background checks, drug screens and living and transportation expenses during fieldwork. Other expenses include AOTA membership.