Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

American International College’s 100% online Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program (OTD) was developed in response to the projected workforce demand for occupational therapists, the current and projected shortage of doctorally-prepared faculty in occupational therapy programs, and the desire for the profession to advance the educational preparation of occupational therapists.

Why pursue a post-professional OTD at AIC?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023), Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow by 12% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 9,600 openings for occupational therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade with the median pay in 2023 at $93,370.

The demand for qualified educators in occupational therapy is reaching a critical point, emphasizing the need for programs like the online Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) offered by American International College. Here’s why this program is an excellent choice for occupational therapists looking to advance their careers:

Addressing Faculty Shortages

  • Impending Retirements: With 35% of current OT faculty planning to retire by 2024, there is a significant need for new educators to fill these roles .
  • Vacancies and Qualifications: Nearly 70% of occupational therapy programs have reported more than one faculty vacancy, highlighting a gap that needs to be filled by qualified, well-prepared professionals .
  • Enhanced Qualifications: The Post-Professional OTD equips therapists with advanced skills and knowledge, preparing them to take on faculty roles and address these shortages.

Career Pathways and Leadership

  • Diverse Opportunities: The OTD provides multiple career pathways, including clinical practice, education, research, and leadership.
  • Transformative Leaders: The program focuses on developing transformative leaders who are well-versed in evidence-based practice, enhancing the quality and impact of occupational therapy.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Interwoven Curriculum Threads: The comprehensive curriculum includes clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience.
  • Creative and Challenging Courses: Designed to reframe thinking and teach creatively, the courses prepare students to become innovative leaders in the field.

Program Structure and Admissions

  • Credit Requirements: This online, 30-credit program can be completed in as little as 18 months (five semesters).
  • Admissions Flexibility: With two admission points (fall and spring) and a bridge program for bachelor’s-prepared OTs, the program accommodates various educational backgrounds.

How to Apply

To apply to AIC’s OTD program please fill out our online application.

For a list of admissions requirements visit our graduate requirements page, scroll down, and select “Post-Professional Occupational Therapy (OTD)”.

Learning Outcomes for Post-Professional Occupational Therapy

  • Integrate occupational therapy and other relevant theories into clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy to advance the profession of occupational therapy and the health of communities served.
  • Critically evaluate research findings and other evidence for applicability to occupational therapy practice and education.
  • Advocate for evidence-based and occupation-based practice in clinical practice, education, and research through educational leadership.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design curriculum to prepare competent future practitioners for current and emerging practice settings.
  • Design learning environments that promote the development of culturally sensitive, competent, and ethical practitioners who are consumers of evidence-based and occupation-based practice.
  • Effectively collaborates across disciplines to advance the profession and enhance the preparation of future practitioners.
  • Promotes the professional growth and development of students and colleagues.

The online Post-Professional OTD at AIC is an ideal program for occupational therapists who aim to advance their careers, become leaders, and address the urgent need for qualified educators in the field. By providing a flexible, comprehensive, and engaging educational experience, AIC prepares its graduates to influence and inspire the next generation of occupational therapists.


  • OTR 7100: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for Occupational Therapy
  • OTR 7300: Leadership in Occupational Therapy
  • OTR 7500: Occupational Therapy Theory in Practice, Education, and Research
  • OTR 7700: Occupational Therapy Scientific Inquiry and Research I
  • OTR 7900: Occupational Therapy and Community-Based and Population-Based Practice
  • OTR 8100: Occupational Therapy Scientific Inquiry and Research II
  • OTR 8300: Occupational Therapy and Legal, Ethical, and Policy Issues
  • OTR 8500: Evidence-Based Practice and Occupation Practice
  • OTR 8800: Writing for Publication
  • OTR 8900: Capstone Seminar

OTD Courses

Students explore learning theories and how theories of human learning and motivation can be applied to the instructional process. Model learning theories associated with behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are reviewed and applied to creative learning and teaching experiences in the occupational therapy context.

Students examine, develop, and practice leadership in relation to the self, to the profession of occupational therapy, and to the wider contexts of health systems and communities, from the local to the global level.

Analysis of occupational therapy theory and its application to and influence on occupational therapy practice, education, and research.

Students explore quantitative and qualitative research designs, methodologies, research processes and products, and apply their knowledge to the development of a research proposal. Students explore options for potential research methods and ideas to implement in their own work settings.

Residency I: The purpose of this residency is for students to present, discuss and reflect on the scholarly work developed to date and analyze/critique others’ work and perspectives to continue to develop critical analysis and scholarship skills.

Occupational therapy models are examined and applied to address both community-based and population-based issues from a public health and occupation-based perspective, such as prevention and health promotions, aging in place, and others.

This course is a continuation of OT Research I. This course focuses on conducting the actual research planned in Research I and preparing to disseminate findings. Students enhance their knowledge of data analysis methods, both qualitative and quantitative.

This course is designed to advance occupational therapists’ knowledge regarding the important role law, ethics, and policy play in determining occupational therapy practice. Students develop/enhance skills to analyze political, legislative, legal, and ethical aspects of practice and broader public health issues.  Examples of issues discussed include, reimbursement, workers’ compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act, IDEA, privacy & confidentiality, guardianship, malpractice issues, regulatory reform and advanced directives, among others.

This course expands students’ knowledge of principles of evidence-based practice and policy, practice guidelines, and information utilization to promote evidence-based practice in clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy.

Residency II: Students will have the opportunity to share their research interests/projects and analyze/critique each other’s ideas/proposals, and reflect on their own learning to date within the context of occupational therapy practice, research, and education.

This course guides the doctoral student through the process of writing for publication. Students will begin with a rough draft they wish to develop into a manuscript to submit for publication. Each student will be assigned to a faculty who will mentor the learner through this process and work within a cluster of faculty and students to develop and review manuscripts.

This capstone course focuses on knowledge synthesis and application and not on instruction. In this capstone course, students synthesize what they have learned throughout the program, reflect on that knowledge, and apply it to a scholarly project. Students will complete their capstone project under the supervision of their capstone committee.

Residency III: Students will have the opportunity to share the outcomes of their capstone projects, lessons learned, and directions for future clinical research and scholarship to advance the profession. A key component of this last residency is the opportunity for students to discuss and reflect on their experiences in the program and new insights and perspectives they have gained, and provide input for program evaluation and improvement.

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