Masters of Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy is a vibrant, growing profession that makes it possible for people to live independently and enjoy life activities. Using a holistic approach, occupational therapists address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and contextual issues that allow the individual to perform tasks essential to productive living. As an occupational therapist, you can look forward to a dynamic career working in a variety of health care and community settings with people of all ages.
When you receive your Master of Occupational Therapy degree, you will be ready to 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 the ability to perform daily activities, you will help people adapt to limitations or reshape their lives to become more productive and meaningful.
Unique Curriculum Design
The Occupational Therapy Program at Maryville is a graduate degree program designed for freshman entry. Students progress toward an MOT (Master of Occupational Therapy) degree in 5 academic years without being awarded an undergraduate degree. The community-based focus of the curriculum and its emphasis on the development of professional behaviors and clinical reasoning skills prepare our students to practice in a variety of clinical and community settings.
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 behavior integral to clinical practice.
The occupational therapy curriculum provides a strong base of liberal arts and sciences with an emphasis on the physical and social sciences. Through the combination of general education, liberal arts, and professional education, you’ll become a practitioner who is culturally sensitive and well-rounded in your knowledge and interests. During the first two academic years you will enroll in some foundational occupational therapy courses while you focus on general education classes. Your third, fourth and fifth years of the Program are composed primarily of occupational therapy coursework, including 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. International fieldwork placements may be possible provided the site and country meet the guidelines of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814 (telephone number: (301) 652-AOTA). Graduation from an ACOTE accredited program is required to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 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. The total number of graduates who passed the certification exam in 2009-2011 was 50 out of 55 first time test takers, which is an 91% pass rate. During that time the program had 56 graduates. Most states require licensure to practice. However, attainment of state licenses is usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
Health and Other Special Requirements
The following requirements must be met prior to participating in required Level I and Level II fieldwork and may be required for service learning activities:
- Physical Examination
- Documentation of Immunization and 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)
- Flu Vaccine annual
- TB-Tuberculin PPD test (documented 2-step initially, then annual)
- Health Insurance (copy of card annually)
- CPR Certification-American Heart Association Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider required
- Current First Aid certification
- Urine Drug Screen
- Criminal Record Background check 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). Having a positive Criminal Record Background check may influence fieldwork placement and delay progression through the Occupational Therapy program.
- Fitting for a respiratory isolation device (i.e. N95 Mask) may be required by some clinical sites
- A few 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
- Malpractice insurance
- Any additional requirements that may arise
- Signed release of information forms to allow Criminal Record Background Check, Urine Drug Screen, health and other pertinent data to be provided to the Clinical Education Program and to facilities where the student completes fieldwork experiences.
Progression in the Occupational Therapy Program
A 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 the student being placed on probation. If a student is on probation and fails to meet the minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average for a second consecutive or nonconsecutive semester, they will be dismissed from the Program.
Grade “C” or Better
Students must earn no less than a C (C- is not acceptable) in all required courses. Students earning below a C in any required course will not be allowed to progress to subsequent coursework until the course is retaken when it is next offered, and passed with a grade C or better. Courses may be repeated only once.
Students must achieve and maintain a satisfactory level of professional behavior each semester in the areas of time management, organization, engagement in academic and fieldwork experiences, self-directed learning, reasoning/problem solving, written communication, initiative, observation skills, participation in the education process, verbal communication/interpersonal skills, professional boundaries and use of professional terminology. Failing to achieve expected levels of professional behavior will delay scheduling of fieldwork experiences and may result in the student being placed on probation or being terminated from the program.
Students must maintain full-time enrollment status (12 credit hours minimum) in courses taken for letter grades (not pass/fail).
Students are also expected to:
- Comply with University Academic Integrity Policy and Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics
- Successfully complete all general education requirements by the Spring semester of the third year in the Occupational Therapy program
- Pass background checks and urine drug screen. Failure to pass either of these screenings may result in dismissal from the Occupational Therapy Program
- Successfully complete all required courses prior to enrollment in Level II fieldwork
- Successfully complete all Level II fieldwork prior to enrollment in courses for the final summer session
- Complete all academic and fieldwork requirements within five calendar years after beginning the second year of the Occupational Therapy program
Fees for the Occupational Therapy Program
Students also can expect to pay additional expenses associated with the experiential portion of the program such as professional attire for fieldwork, lab fees for selected courses, fieldwork-required insurance coverage, health tests, CPR and first aid certification, immunizations, background checks, drug screens and living and transportation expenses during fieldwork. Other expenses include AOTA membership and textbooks that tend to be expensive but are used across the program and as professional references once in the field.
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 locations 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.
The outlook for occupational therapy is bright. Specialty areas are becoming increasingly more important in meeting the needs of our diverse and aging society. New specialties include training workers to use proper ergonomics on the job, helping people with low vision to develop strategies to allow them to live independently, making communities, buildings and homes more accessible to those with physical limitations, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Degree Offerings and Requirements
To be considered eligible for admission to the Master of Occupational Therapy program, applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:
- GPA of at least 3.0
- ACT composite score of at least 21 or SAT-I combined score of 990*
*Scores are not required if the applicant has completed more than 30 college credits
To apply for admission to the Master of Occupational Therapy program, applicants must submit the following:
- The free online application for admission to Maryville University
- Official transcripts from high schools and colleges or universities previously attended
- ACT or SAT scores (unless more than 30 college credits have been completed)
- A resume that includes a list of references with contact information
Students who meet the minimum academic requirements are reviewed by the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee and are invited to campus for completion of the application process. While on campus the applicant will be asked to complete a personal interview, a written essay and an interactive group activity. The on-campus portion is scheduled for December for those qualified applicants who have submitted materials by November 15. The Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee may continue to review qualified applicant files and offer invitations for the on-campus portion of the application process beyond the January date if space is available.
The faculty strongly recommends that applicants observe occupational therapy practice to increase understanding of the profession prior to submitting an application, however, this is not a requirement for consideration. Case-by-case consideration for applicants who do not meet the admission criteria is possible but may require the submission of additional materials.
Transfer students may be considered for acceptance into the second year of the curriculum provided space is available and that students meet all requirements for second year entry. To qualify for a possible space in the second year students would need to complete the following courses with a minimum grade of C and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0: Anatomy & Physiology I & II, General Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, English Composition I and II, Human Growth and Development, Intermediate Algebra or higher, US History or US Government, Abnormal Psychology. Application review for transfer students will begin February 1 and applicants can only apply for the fall semester. Students who meet the minimum requirements may be invited to campus to complete the application process with a personal interview, but only if space is available. Space for transfer students is extremely limited and highly competitive for entry in 2013-2014.
Transfer students may also be considered for admission into the freshman year of the program IF the program has not filled with traditional freshman. There is no guarantee space will be available for transfer students and applicants may not hear about possible openings until late spring/early summer.
International students must submit a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or aTOEFL score of 560 or greater. TOEFL test takers who take the revised TOEFL will be admitted into the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program with a speaking sub-score of 23, writing sub-score of 20 and reading and listening scores of 21 or higher, and a combined score of 85 or higher. Students not obtaining these scores are encouraged to contact ELS (www.els.com) in order to contract with them for English proficiency classes.
Maryville University of Saint Louis is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504. You can contact them by calling 800.621.7440.
School and College Accreditation
School of Health Professionals
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Assocatiation (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449