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Programs News Emily Delzell December 14, 2023

UAB OTD 01The inaugural graduating class of UAB’s Entry-Level Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy Program.

UAB’s Entry-Level Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy Program reached two major milestones in early December. It received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and on December 8, graduated its first class.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., OTR/L, ATP, noted that this process began more than five years ago, when the dean of the School of Health Professions issued a directive: That UAB become the first institution in Alabama to transition its entry-level program from a master’s degree in occupational therapy (MSOT) to a Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree.

“We are now the first in the state to offer the highest academic degree in occupational therapy at the entry level,” said Jenkins. “Our success is due to the incredible dedication of our team of faculty and staff, who worked relentlessly to design and deliver this degree.”

The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize ACOTE as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education. The agency has approved all aspects of UAB’s 3-year entry-level OTD program, including its administrative structure, faculty qualifications, course and curricular content, and clinical and capstone experiences.

ACOTE accredited UAB’s program for seven years, the maximum period it awards to new programs.

First Class

The new OTD graduates entered the program in 2021, and are now eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

“I am grateful to our students who put their faith in our program—it was a very proud moment to see our first cohort of 56 students cross the stage,” said Jenkins. “Our goals and their dreams were met as the students went from OTs in training to doctors of occupational therapy—the first of many advanced practitioners who we can and will proudly call alumni.”

He noted that the profession of occupational therapy will benefit from the work of these students for many years to come.

“I look forward to seeing how our students can bring about change to the lives of the people we serve,” said Jenkins.

Click here to learn more about the Department of Occupational Therapy and its innovative educational programs.

UAB OTD 02UAB's 2023 MSOT graduates, seen here at their pinning ceremony on December 4,
were the final class to graduate from UAB OT's master's degree program.


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