Online Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program Launches

First-of-its kind program specifically prepares candidates nationwide for AOTA Board Certification

MILWAUKEE (October 6, 2014) - Mount Mary University has launched a post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program for practicing occupational therapists who have already earned a master's degree in occupational therapy. The 31-credit online program will equip candidates with advanced practice and leadership competencies that can meet the demand for changing delivery models for OT services. Emphasizing gerontology, physical rehabilitation, pediatrics and mental health, the program also prepares OT professionals for advancement in education and healthcare leadership positions.

The OTD program requires practice-based research and a culminating portfolio specifically designed to meet rigorous criteria for American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Board Certification. AOTA Board Certification gives OT professionals a competitive edge in the marketplace. With over 113,200 licensed occupational therapists in the country today, only 158 are board certified in specialty practice areas.

According to President Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D., the creation of the doctorate in occupational therapy is a natural expansion of the university's B.S. and M.S. programs which have to date educated over 2,000 occupational therapy providers. "Mount Mary has been educating occupational therapists for 73 years," Schwalbach stated. "Our new doctorate program is another indication of our commitment to meeting the needs of a changing health care environment."

Froedtert Hospital President Cathy Buck affirms that the need for highly skilled occupational therapists is outstripping demand as our population ages, particularly those who can help individuals and their caregivers with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, as well as modify care settings that foster "aging in place." "Doctoral education will allow practitioners to concentrate on specific clinic specialties, focus on wellness and even partner with primary care providers," stated Buck. "As healthcare strives to offer more affordable and effective models of care, the occupational therapy doctorate will support the ever changing needs of the industry."

Mount Mary's OTD program is open to men and women nationwide. The part-time, flexible program features "distance-delivery" courses that allow students to remain in their work settings for ongoing real-time application of knowledge. Students customize learning schedules and stay connected virtually with peers and program administrators on a weekly basis. Faculty offer individual feedback on students' critical analysis and application of knowledge and oversee the peer learning community. The research driven residency experiences are offered under the shared guidance of a practice mentor and faculty member.

For more information on Mount Mary's OTD, visit the OTD program page or contact Dr. Jane Olson,, (414) 258-4810, ext. 348.