Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree

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The University of Michigan-Flint is proud to offer the first entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program in the state of Michigan. As the highest level of academic preparation that an entry-level occupational therapist can obtain, the OTD program empowers our students to be among the most coveted graduates regionally and nationally.

UM-Flint’s entry-level Occupational Therapy doctorate program is designed for students who have completed their baccalaureate degree but have no previous clinical experience. Whether you are a recent college graduate or a working professional who wants to pursue a new career in occupational therapy, UM-Flint’s OTD program can equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to help patients with an injury or disability perform daily activities.

The OTD program can be finished in three years and provides excellent preparation for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) exam.

Why Earn Your OTD Degree from UM-Flint?

Innovative Teaching Approach

The OTD program at UM-Flint utilizes a learner-centered teaching approach, which incorporates authentic educational activities and experiences. This transformative approach empowers students to build their confidence through active hands-on learning and provides inter-professional educational opportunities with our prestigious Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and other health professional programs. As a result, occupational therapy students are able to hone their patient-centered health care practices across disciplines by utilizing their vast experiences in labs, clinics, and community settings.

The Michigan Advantage

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) at UM-Flint has a valuable partnership with Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. This connection gives our students access and opportunities to network with highly skilled occupational therapy clinicians and researchers. Guest lectures, clinical placements, and workshops help our students build the strong skillsets they need to specialize in areas such as spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputations, lymphedema, hand therapy, complications of cancer treatment, and many more.

OTD/MBA Dual Degree

Encouraging interdisciplinary learning, UM-Flint provides a dual-degree option of OTD/MBA for students who are interested in starting their own private practice or business related to occupational therapy. The OTD/MBA dual degree curriculum allows OTD students to apply up to 12 specified credits toward both degrees. This arrangement helps you save big on tuition and expedite your timeline of completing two degrees.


The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE Completion of Level II Fieldwork (OTP 855 & 865) and Doctoral Capstone Project (OTP 800) must be done within 24 months of academic course work following completion of the didactic portion of the program. All Fieldwork, the Occupational Therapy Knowledge Exam (OTKE), and preparatory activities must be completed before students can begin their 14-week (560 hours) Doctoral Residency. Residency placement must meet the specific objectives of the student’s capstone project. No more than 20% of the 560 hours can be completed outside of the mentored residency setting. Prior fieldwork or work experience cannot be substituted for the Doctoral Residency.

American Occupational Therapy Association
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda MD 20852-4929
Telephone: (301) 652-AOTA

Estimated Student Costs for Adequate Financial Planning for Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program
Additional Accreditation Information

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program Curriculum

UM-Flint’s OTD program curriculum includes 110 credit hours of in-depth study, which can be completed in 9 semesters (3 calendar years) on a full-time basis. The classes incorporate multiple learning styles in the traditional classroom, such as faculty and guest lectures, state-of-the-art lab work, and collaborative group activities.

Through the robust curriculum, students also obtain valuable fieldwork experiences through hands-on learning and a capstone project.

Doctoral Capstone Project

OTD students will complete a capstone experience and project in collaboration with clinical and community partners. The capstone project includes an in-depth experience in one or more of the following areas of focus:

  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Clinical practice skills
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Program and policy development
  • Research skills
  • Theory development

Review the detailed Occupational Therapy Doctorate Degree program curriculum.

Brady Harbaugh

Brady Harbaugh
Occupational Therapy 2022

“The OTD and College of Health Sciences faculty members truly care about their students and program. They respond quickly to emails, are always willing for a Zoom call, and listen to student feedback to better the program. We have made lifelong professional connections with faculty members, and I feel comfortable reaching out to them in the future if I have any questions about occupational therapy.”

OTD Degree Career Outlook

Occupational therapy is a fast-growing field in the area of rehabilitation medicine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of occupational therapists will increase 16% through 2029, much faster than the average employment growth rate in the United States. In addition, occupational therapists can make a competitive salary of $86,280 per year.

With a doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy, you are qualified to pursue the highest level career options in various health care settings:

  • Hospital and clinics
  • Schools
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Senior centers
  • Private practice
  • Military services
$86,280 median annual wage for
occupational therapists (2019-2029).

The NBCOT Exam

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT ®). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate can become an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT examination or attain licensure status. Students in good standing may be allowed to take the exam during their last semester. Students may also wait until after graduation to take the exam.

Admission Requirements

The OTD admissions process uses the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) centralized application service. The most competitive applicants demonstrate knowledge of the depth and breadth of the profession, as well as consistent academic performance, maturity, and values associated with health care professionals.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall
  • Completion of the following prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited institution; courses do not have to be completed at the time of OTCAS application submission but must be completed prior to starting the OTD program if admitted. Prerequisites must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall, a minimum GPA of 2.75 in science courses, and no grade lower than a C (2.0):
    • 4 credits in biology with laboratory, to exclude botany
    • 4 credits in physics with laboratory
    • 4 credits in human anatomy with laboratory**
    • 4 credits in human physiology with laboratory**
    • 3 credits in political science (American national government and politics)
    • 9 credits in psychology (Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Abnormal Psychology)
    • 3 credits in Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Anthropology
    • 3 credits in statistics
    • 1 credit in medical terminology (in a letter-graded course)
    • 3 credits in biomechanics (some kinesiology courses will be considered if biomechanics was a component of it)

**If a 5-6 credit combination of anatomy and physiology class is taken, the course content must be reviewed.

  • Prerequisite courses should be completed within 7 years of applying to the program; prerequisite courses taken more than 7 years prior will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Updated First Aid and CPR certification: CPR certification must include infant, child, and adult CPR with AED training for Healthcare Providers. In order to receive certification, actual hands-on experience with mannequins is required (online coursework only is not accepted). This will need to be kept updated for each year in the program. Certification should be through the American Heart Association class “First Aid” and “Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers”.
  • 60 or more hours of observation of occupational therapists in two or more types of clinical settings; 125 or more hours in four or more settings recommended. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the UM-Flint OTD program is pleased to offer an alternative option for volunteer/observation hour requirements for this application cycle. We are happy to discuss this with you. Please contact Debra Collins at or at (810) 424-5427. 
  • Demonstration of computer and word processing competency to include, but not limited to, internet navigation, utilization of software and learning management systems (i.e., Blackboard), e-correspondence, and database exploration.

Applicants admitted to the OTD program must demonstrate that they possess the attributes necessary to succeed in a challenging curriculum as well as perform in the practice of occupational therapy. Essential and technical standards are the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical abilities required for satisfactory completion of the OTD curriculum and the development of professional attributes required of all students at graduation.

While an applicant is not required to disclose the specifics of any disability, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request a reasonable accommodation if they cannot demonstrate these Essential and Technical Standards without accommodation.

Application Deadlines

For the Fall 2023 admission period, UM-Flint will use the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). The application will be available from July 18, 2022, to June 10, 2023.

  • Up to forty students will be admitted once per year in the fall semester.
  • The UM-Flint Occupational Therapy program operates on a rolling admission basis. We encourage you to apply early.
  • The deadline to submit all your documents to OTCAS is June 10, 2023, to ensure full consideration of your application. It can take up to six weeks for OTCAS to send UM-Flint all of your documents after you have submitted them to OTCAS.
  • If you do not submit all OTCAS materials to OTCAS by June 10, 2023, the materials may arrive at UM-Flint late and could take your application out of consideration.
  • While June 10, 2023, is the application deadline, applicants have longer to be verified by OTCAS.

How to Apply to UM-Flint’s OTD Program

Submit the following to OTCAS by June 10, 2023:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended in the United States (foreign transcripts are to be sent to the Office of Graduate Programs, not OTCAS)
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted to OTCAS
  • Observation of Occupational Therapist Hours

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the UM-Flint OTD program is excited to offer Alternative Observation Hours opportunities for the 2022-2023 Admissions Cycle. 60 hours are required. In-person observation hours will be accepted if completed. Please contact Debra Collins at or at (810) 424-5427 to learn more about how to satisfy this requirement. Alternative options include videos, webinars, podcasts, Ted Talks, and more.

Submit the following directly to UM-Flint by June 10, 2023:

  • Transcripts and diplomas or certificates of graduation from any colleges and universities you have attended from outside the United States (do not send to OTCAS)
  • International students must submit additional documentation. This program is an on-campus program. Admitted students are eligible to obtain a student visa (F visa). 
    International students cannot complete this program online in their home country.

The application process for the Fall 2023 cohort includes an interview with OT faculty and OT clinical practitioners. The qualifying applicants will receive an invitation for this interview to be conducted in person or via teleconference call.

Graduate Programs Ambassadors
Jon A.

Jon A.
Educational Background: BS in Exercise Science: Kinesiology from Central Michigan University
What are some of the best qualities of your program?
The faculty and students are the best quality of the OTD program. The faculty will challenge you to become the best student you can be, as well as provide the support that you need. All of us students in the program have very high aspirations for ourselves, as well as one another.

Kayla D.

Kayla D.
Educational Background: BS in Clinical Exercise Science from Grand Valley State University
What are some of the best qualities of your program? I value the knowledge professors share with us by providing guest speakers, collaboration efforts between other professions, and providing real-life examples of evaluations & interventions for our program.

Academic Advising & Visiting Campus

At UM-Flint, we are proud to have many dedicated advisors who are the experts students can rely upon to help guide their educational journey. For academic advising, please reach out to your program/department of interest as listed here.

Interested in visiting the UM-Flint campus and meeting with a current OTD student? Fill out this form to set up a visit!

Learn More about UM-Flint’s OTD Program

University of Michigan-Flint’s rigorous Doctor of Occupational Therapy program can comprehensively prepare you for a meaningful career as an occupational therapist. Request information to learn more about our OTD program or start your application through OTCAS today!