Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy | Valparaiso University2024-04-12T18:16:43+00:00



Advance your career with a post-professional doctor of occupational therapy. Enhance your practice, grow your skills, and become an industry leader.

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Learn why students choose our 100% online healthcare degree programs.

Fall 2024 Application Deadline: August 14, 2024
Start Date:
August 21, 2024

Elevate Your Career in Occupational Therapy.

Obtaining a post-professional doctor of occupational therapy unlocks numerous opportunities. With work experience already under your belt, a DrOT will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to take your career to the next level. Your expertise and efforts contribute to the well-being of patients across a broad range of backgrounds.

At Valparaiso University, our online post-professional doctor of occupational therapy is specifically crafted to cultivate advanced occupational therapy professionals who possess a deep commitment to lifelong learning and a strong dedication to collaborating with professionals from various disciplines.

What Makes Valpo’s Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Unique?

Here are some of the reasons why our post-professional doctor of occupational therapy stands out from other occupational therapy programs for graduate students.

100% Online

Valpo’s program offers the flexibility of online learning, allowing students to pursue their post-professional doctor of occupational therapy without the need to relocate or disrupt their current work or personal commitments. This format can be particularly beneficial for working professionals who wish to advance their careers while continuing to work.

Designed for Working Professionals

Earning a graduate degree or continuing to work shouldn’t have to be a choice you make. That’s why the DrOT program at Valparaiso University is designed for working professionals. We understand that advancing your career shouldn’t mean putting it on hold. With all the obligations of life, taking time off to pursue an advanced degree isn’t realistic for many. Therefore, this program provides the flexibility and pacing necessary to fit the lifestyle and commitment of professionals in their respective careers.

Top-Notch Faculty

The program boasts a team of experienced and highly qualified faculty members who are experts in the field of occupational therapy. These instructors bring real-world experience and the latest research findings into the virtual classroom, ensuring that students receive a high-quality education.

Accelerated Learning

Our post-professional doctor of occupational therapy is designed to be completed in a shorter time frame compared to traditional doctoral programs. This accelerated approach allows students to earn their degrees faster, potentially reducing the time and financial investment required to achieve their academic and career goals.

Interdisciplinary Approach

The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to occupational therapy education. This means that students have the opportunity to collaborate with professionals from various backgrounds and fields, enhancing their understanding of the broader healthcare landscape and developing the skills needed to work effectively in diverse healthcare settings.

Comprehensive Capstone

The program culminates in a capstone that is faculty-sponsored and filled with growth possibilities to use the coursework as an avenue for future program development, project enhancement, scholarship, and potential job opportunities post-graduation.

Dedication to Community Engagement

Valpo’s steadfast commitment to community engagement and outreach ensures that you will have chances to create a significant difference even as a student, laying the foundation for a lifelong journey of serving the community.

These unique features of Valpo’s DrOT program make it an attractive option for graduate students seeking a flexible and accelerated path to advanced education in the field of occupational therapy.

What Will You Learn in Our Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program?

group of people studying together near a laptop

The program’s goal is to equip graduates to become pioneers in health professions by enhancing their proficiency in mentoring and education, applying evidence-based practices through knowledge translation, and actively participating in advocacy and healthcare policy-making on a broader scale. Our program prepares students to thrive in the field of occupational therapy.

Your coursework will encompass a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Educational principles
  • Healthcare leadership
  • Occupational therapy theories, models, and frameworks

Additionally, you will undertake a capstone project that will be guided by an expert faculty mentor.

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Occupational Therapy Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in occupational therapy are projected to grow by 12% in the next decade. This is at a much faster rate than the national average for all occupations (3%).

man working or studying at computer

Careers with a Post-Professional
Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Getting your DrOT opens the door to countless opportunities in the field of occupational health. Graduates of the program can leverage their additional experience to enhance private practice via advanced degree credentialing, earn promotions in the real-world clinical ladder, break into academia, and more. Some specific career jumps include:

A DrOT can practice occupational therapy in a clinical setting, providing direct patient care in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, or outpatient clinics. They may specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, or orthopedics.

Some DrOT graduates choose to become educators, teaching future occupational therapists in academic settings like universities or colleges. They can shape the next generation of occupational therapy professionals by sharing their expertise and knowledge.

DrOT professionals may work as consultants, offering specialized expertise to healthcare organizations, schools, or businesses to improve their occupational therapy services, programs, and policies.

With advanced knowledge and skills, DrOT graduates can take on leadership roles as clinical supervisors or managers within healthcare facilities. They oversee the delivery of occupational therapy services, manage teams of therapists, and ensure the quality of care provided.

DrOTs can engage in research activities within the field of occupational therapy. They may conduct studies, contribute to evidence-based practice, or work as research coordinators, helping design and manage research projects.

Some DrOT professionals choose to work in healthcare administration or advocacy roles. They can influence healthcare policies, promote the importance of occupational therapy, and advocate for improved services and access to care.

DrOT graduates may establish their own private clinical practice, providing specialized services to clients in their community. Entrepreneurial opportunities also exist in areas like assistive technology consulting or ergonomic assessment.

DrOT professionals can create and manage occupational therapy programs within various settings, such as schools, community centers, or rehabilitation facilities, to address specific needs and promote health and well-being.

These are just a few examples of the diverse career paths available to individuals with a doctor of occupational therapy. The choice of career often depends on individual interests, specialization, and the specific opportunities available in their region or area of expertise.


  • 30 credit hours
  • 100% online
  • Four semesters and a capstone
  • Flexible program of study, completion in as few as 18 months

Graduate Admission Qualifications

Applicants must meet the admission requirements and be admitted to Valparaiso University. Students applying to the post-professional doctor of occupational therapy must meet the following criteria:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational therapy from an accredited institution
  • Current state licensure as an occupational therapist in good standing
  • Current proof of registration with the NBCOT
  • Minimum of one year work experience as an occupational therapist preferred
  • Letter of intent explaining why the candidate is seeking this degree and goals for using this degree (two-page maximum)


OCTH 750 – Occupational Therapy Theories, Models, and Framework (Credits: 6)

This course presents theoretical constructs of occupation, occupational therapy, and occupational science by offering a philosophical base, including theories and frameworks for individual, group, and societal demands. Students will examine how theories and models describe or explain phenomena at different levels related to various scientific evidence and inquiry types. Learning outcomes will require students to think critically and either support or refute actions in clinical practice reflected by specific models or theories.

OCTH 755 – Research Methodologies (Credits: 6)

This course introduces evidence-based practice methods with skill development in asking practice-based questions, using search engine databases and other resources, and appraising the quality of evidence. The course will focus on creating a deeper understanding of evidence and its impact on occupational therapy practice. Content in this course focuses on the most common qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method research methodologies seen in practice. Students will learn to develop IRB proposals and study designs. Students will design qualitative studies and data collection tools while learning to analyze and report study outcomes and findings while developing skills in selecting, applying, and interpreting basic correlational and inferential statistics through the design of quantitative studies and data collection tools.

OCTH 760 – Educational Principles in Occupational Therapy (Credits: 3)

This course focuses on the use of educational principles in everyday practice. Students will deepen their knowledge of various educational pedagogies and strategies to be effective in educational pursuits in a multitude of practice settings. Basic principles for curriculum design and development will be introduced.

OCTH 765 – Leadership in Healthcare (Credits: 3)

In this course, leadership theories and management strategies are applied through analysis of program development and evaluation. Students gain expertise in outcomes assessment, case management, business planning, personnel management, and emotional intelligence.

OCTH 785 – Capstone Discovery and Design (Credits: 3)

In this course, students explore advanced practice areas based on professional interests under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students thoroughly review the evidence and explore resources and networks to contribute to the design and development of an individual scholarly project. The culminating project relates theory to occupational therapy practice and synthesis of advanced knowledge and skills. Projects will also demonstrate effective strategies for integrating evidence-based approaches into practice using knowledge translation concepts. Synthesis and application of advanced knowledge and evidence-based approaches may include clinical practice, education, research, technology, leadership/administration, advocacy, or entrepreneurship opportunities. Only offered on an S/U basis.

OCTH 790 – Capstone (Credits: 6)

The scholarly project is implemented during this course, with the overall goal of advancing the occupational therapy body of knowledge. Elements of the project include strategy implementation, outcomes evaluation, and presentation of the final product. The project has written objectives and assessment measures approved by the faculty advisor. Only offered on an S/U basis.

OCTH 770 – Advocating for the OT Profession (Credits: 3)

This course focuses on developing cultural competency and advocacy skills to facilitate occupational therapy services for underserved populations. Students develop an awareness of various diversity factors that impede access to health services for individuals, populations, and societies. Students will gain knowledge in multiple methods of advocacy including grant writing, information systems, health and public policy, political activism, professional networks, and social change initiatives.

OCTH 775 – Current Trends in Advancing Emerging Practice Areas (Credits: 3)

In this course, students develop the skills to identify new practice areas based on current healthcare trends identified by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) emerging practice areas and niches. To advance the profession, students gain skills in assessing needs and developing action plans for occupational therapy services in various settings.

OCTH 799 – Independent Study

Independent study of a selected topic. Only offered on an S/U basis. Prerequisite: Determined by the instructor. May be repeated for additional credit.

IPE 518 – Global Health Issues (Credits: 3)

This course immerses students in an interprofessional education (IPE) opportunity that explores social determinants of health from a global perspective. Students will engage in a team-based comparative analysis of selected healthcare delivery systems from around the world.

Total DrOT Requirements (30 Credits)


The post-professional doctor of occupational therapy program allows for completion in as few 18 months. It requires 30 completed hours, broken down into four semesters and a capstone. This flexible learning pace makes it easier for students to balance their personal and professional lives while maintaining excellent academic standing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for occupational therapists in the United States is $92,800. Depending on the industry in which you work, the mean annual wage for an occupational therapist can jump to $117,790.

The main difference lies in the level of education and depth of study. A DrOT provides more extensive training in areas like research, leadership, and advanced clinical practice. In contrast, a master’s degree is more focused on general clinical skills and foundational knowledge in occupational therapy.


August 1, 2024


August 14, 2024


August 21, 2024

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