Post-Professional Occupational Therapy

American International College’s (AIC) Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program (OTD), approved by the New England Commission of Higher Education, 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?

Obtaining a post-professional OTD from AIC will enable occupational therapists to advance their careers and become educators and leaders of their profession.

Why pursue a post-professional OTD at AIC?

  • AIC will primarily offer the post-professional OTD through distance education to meet the needs of busy, working professionals. The program requires 3 on-campus visits during the course of the program. The entire, 30-credit program is designed to be completed in 21 months.
  • The program is based on the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) vision and guidelines for the profession, including AOTA’s Centennial Vision 2017, AOTA’s Specialized Knowledge and Skills of Occupational Therapy Educators of the Future (2009), and AOTA’s Philosophical Base of Occupational Therapy (2011).
  • The curriculum is uniquely designed to provide occupational therapists with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfill educator roles in a variety of settings.

With a post-professional OTD, you will be able to contribute to the growth and advancement of the profession by educating the next generation of occupational therapists, enhancing the quality of care provided to the growing number of clients who will need OT services, and advocating for the profession.

OTD Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), employment for occupational therapists is projected to grow by 29% through 2022, a much faster growth than the average for all other occupations. Occupational therapists provide a range of services designed to help individuals with disabilities engage more fully in all of their environments (e.g. school, home, work, community) by addressing physical, psychological, and cognitive aspects of their health. The U.S. population aged 65 years and over is projected to significantly increase over the next few decades. Although advances in science and medicine have enabled individuals to live longer, many older adults are challenged by chronic illnesses during their later years of life. Thus, it is expected that there will be a greater demand for rehabilitation and disabilities services as the population continues to age. In addition, the increased focus on and demand for mental health services, especially in community settings, will also impact the need for occupational therapists who provide mental health services and collaborate with other providers to facilitate client’s meaningful participation in their daily life activities.

The ability to educate more occupational therapists is limited, in part, by the availability of qualified faculty. A 2014 report published by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), indicates that OT programs are unable to fill all of their faculty positions, with an 8%, 4%, and 3% vacancy rate reported for full-time faculty, part-time faculty, and adjunct faculty, respectively. This is a trend that will likely persist unless more OTs are prepared for and recruited into academic careers. A contributing factor to the current and projected shortage of OT faculty is the aging of the current faculty and program director workforce. According to the most recent faculty survey conducted by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA, 2010), 52% of faculty in OT programs are 50 years of age or older and 63% of program directors are 50 years of age or older. As would be expected, a significant number of current faculty and administrators report that they will be retiring within the next decade (35% for faculty and 44% for program directors). Thus, this will create a significant void among the faculty and administrative ranks unless there are qualified individuals to replace them.

Program Description

On-Campus Sessions—Low-Residency Requirements

Students will be required to attend 3 on-campus sessions: an orientation session prior to the start of the first term and three (3) residencies at various points in the program as outlined below. Each residency will be a required component of a course as identified below and will serve as the equivalent of two course sessions/modules in a typical 15-week term.

Program Orientation

Prior to start of first term. Purpose is to provide an orientation to the program and online learning, facilitate socialization among students and faculty, review program requirements and the institution’s graduate academic regulations and academic integrity policies (Appendix F). The program orientation will be recorded so it will be available to students for review at a later time and can be accessed by students who begin in the spring term.

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.


  • 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 (Residency I included)
  • 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 (Residency II included)
  • OTR 8800: Writing for Publication
  • OTR 8900: Capstone Seminar (Residency III included)

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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