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School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Why pursue an Occupational Therapy Doctorate at North Central College? 

North Central’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program will help you develop the foundational knowledge, leadership, and ethical behaviors necessary to be a competent, entry-level practitioner, serving those with a variety of injuries, illnesses and disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, autism, or the loss of limbs. 

The entry level OTD program provides students with an experiential educational process, guiding them to grow and develop the professional knowledge and ethical behavior necessary to be purposeful and competent practitioners. The program challenges students in areas of development of leadership skills to advocate and lead the profession and implementation of evidence-based research in delivery of client-centered care. This educational process, grounded in the college’s liberal arts tradition, prepares the students to collaborate inter-professionally within their workplaces and communities. 


Accreditation Status 

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation 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 www.acoteonline.org. 

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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. 


How it Works 

  • The program takes 27 continuous months to complete. 
  • Enrollment begins in the spring of each year and occupational therapy students complete the degree in May of the third year.  
  • Fieldwork placements in and around Naperville and Chicago are integrated with coursework, allowing you to apply course concepts to practice. 


Fast Growing Profession 

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nationwide “employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations." 

According to NBC Chicago, occupational therapist ranks no. 6 for most in-demand Chicago jobs. 


National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) 

Upon graduation, OT students can log into NBCOT and review requirements for registering and taking the OT certification examination. 

To find out how you can obtain a license in the state of Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Resources. To obtain a license in another state, you will need to research that particular state’s requirement. 


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is a 27-month program, including two summer semesters. All courses in the program are required and sequential. The program requires completion of 112 through courses offered in tradition, online and hybrid formats, as well as two 12-week fieldwork experiences.  


  • 27-month, 112 credit hour program completed in seven semesters
  • Cohorts begin each Spring semester 
  • Mix of online, traditional and hybrid courses 
Spring Semester - Year One
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
DOTD705 Introduction to Occupational Therapy 3 16
DOTD701 Leaders and Theories in OT 1 4
MOCT502 Documentation/Reimbursement/Appeals 2 8
MOCT520 Assessment Theory 1 4
DOTD703 Health, Wellness, Literacy in a Leadership Role 3 16
MOCT530 Assessment Application 2 8
MOCT504 Functional Anatomy 3 16
Total 15 16
Summer Semester - Year One
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
MOCT521 Pediatric Theory 3 12
MOCT531 Pediatric Assessment and Intervention 3 12
MOCT524 Neurological Dysfunction Theory 3 12
MOCT534 Neurological Dysfunction Assessment and Intervention 3 12
DOTD800 Evidenced Based Practice I 3 12
MOCT620 Level I Fieldwork – Pediatrics 1 4
Total 16 12
Fall Semester - Year One
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
MOCT523 Physical Dysfunction Theory 3 16
MOCT533 Physical Dysfunction Assessment and Intervention 3 16
MOCT522 Mental Health Theory 3 16
MOCT532 Mental Health Assessment and Intervention 3 16
MOCT622 Level I Fieldwork – Mental Health 1 4
DOTD810 Evidence Base Practice II 3 16
Total 16 16
Spring Semester - Year Two
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
MOCT525 Geriatric Theory 3 16
MOCT535 Geriatric Assessment and Intervention 3 16
DOTD801 Professional Advocacy and Leadership 1 5
DOTD802 Management and Leadership 2 7.5
DOTD804 Preparation for Academic Work 2 7.5
DOTD803 Specialty Interventions 3 16
DOTD895 Capstone Project I 3 16
MOCT621 Level I Fieldwork – Adult 1 1
Total 18 16
Summer Semester - Year Two
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
MOCT630 Level II Fieldwork 12 12
Total 12 12
Fall Semester - Year 2
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
MOCT640 Level II Fieldwork 12 12
DOTD896 Capstone Project II 4 4
Total 16 12
Spring Semester - Year Three
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Number of Weeks
DOTD897 Capstone Experience 14 16
DOTD898 Capstone Project II 4 16
DOTD899 Capstone Post Presentation 1 1
Total 19 16

Searching for the right occupational therapy program in Illinois? We are looking for students for our occupational therapy degree program who possess academic, leadership and ethical qualities necessary to become registered occupational therapists. We use a rolling admission process where completed applications are reviewed throughout the admission cycle, so we advise you to complete your application as early as possible. 

Candidates will apply to the program using OTCAS, which will open on July 21, 2023. Please note, individuals may apply to the program at the application open; however, acceptances will not be made until ACOTE candidacy accreditation status is attained. 


Prerequisite Courses 

Prerequisite coursework must be completed within 5 years of matriculation to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and have a grade of C or above. Prerequisites may be in progress when you apply. They must be completed prior to the start of the degree program if you are accepted. We do not accept advanced placement credit to fulfill prerequisite coursework. All in-progress and future prerequisite coursework must be documented in the OTCAS application.  

  • 8 credit hours - Human Anatomy and Physiology* 
  • 3 credit hours - Sociology or Anthropology 
  • 3 credit hours - Developmental Psychology 
  • 3 credit hours - Abnormal Psychology 
  • 3 credit hours - Statistics 

*Can be satisfied by either Human Anatomy with a lab and Human Physiology with a lab or Human Anatomy and Physiology I with a lab and Human Anatomy and Physiology II with a lab 

We do not accept transfer credits toward the fulfillment of graduate-level coursework. Academic credit is not provided for applicants' work, experiential, or volunteer experience.