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Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Applications for fall 2025 will open July 19

The full-time Doctor of Occupational Therapy program (OT program) at Whitworth University provides innovative, creative, holistic and interprofessional mind-and-heart education to develop and empower ethically competent and transformational leaders in occupational therapy and healthcare. 

We are guided by our mission and are committed to faith integration, reciprocal therapeutic relationships and an understanding of the potency of daily life activities. 

Our OT program prepares practice scholars who use the best scientific evidence to be catalysts for change, advocates for occupational justice and servants of humanity.

Benefits of the Whitworth Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Our entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program prepares compassionate health science professionals in an innovative building that has flexible simulation class space and labs resembling clinical environments.

Hands-on occupational therapy courses are integrated with other health and human service graduate classes to facilitate the development of professional behaviors.

Because we are an on-campus program, you will also enjoy the many services and amenities offered at Whitworth University, including:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Health services
  • Student academic support
  • A chapel
  • Coffee shops/cafes
  • Fitness and recreation center
  • Aquatic center

Experienced OT Program Faculty

Our caring, dedicated faculty are passionate about the profession and our Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. They come from a variety of clinical backgrounds and experiences.

Not only does our residential program help you to become a better clinician, but it also enables you to cultivate close relationships with our faculty members. They will support your academic and professional growth and help you to select fieldwork placements. 

State-of-the-Art OT Program Facilities

You will take your occupational therapy courses in a new 38,000-square-foot health sciences building that houses the occupational therapy and physical therapy programs and the master's in athletic training program. These specialties are housed together to intentionally support and encourage vital interprofessional collaboration.

This new space includes:

  • An activities-of-daily-living lab
  • A motion analysis research lab
  • Exercise physiology labs
  • Anatomy labs
  • Simulation labs
  • Dedicated classroom and functional lab spaces
  • A practice clinic
  • A Bioness system

Clinical Placements

Your clinical experience begins early in our OT program. Because we have an excellent local reputation, you can choose from a diverse selection of clinical placements where professionals want to be a part of your student experience. 

You can find clinical placements in:

  • Traditional hospitals where you will work under the guidance of a licensed OT professional
  • School systems
  • Community centers where you may work with behavioral health issues
  • Skilled nursing centers to assist older adults

"The professors [at Whitworth] are so intentional and kind, and the new health sciences building is advanced. I think the mission statement of Whitworth represents the holistic nature of occupational therapy." 

- Alexa Best, Class of 2026

Headshot of Alexa Best

Career Options in Occupational Therapy

You will leave prepared to engage in interprofessional health science education, research and service, particularly to the underserved populations of our region.

As an occupational therapist, you will play a significant role in treating people with various illnesses and disabilities and helping to decrease the length of hospitalization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an occupational therapist earns an average of $93,180 annually, and this career is expected to grow much faster than average.

There are a number of OT vacancies in the Spokane area, and the annual salary in Washington state averages $87,680.

Explore Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program Courses

Through our occupational therapy courses, you will develop a well-rounded skill set that will prepare you to thrive in the future of the field.

Your occupational therapy courses include a capstone project that allows you to delve deeper into a topic of interest or to expand into developing advanced clinical skills.

This capstone project will advance the profession through the dissemination of research and evidence-based practice in one or more of the following areas:

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

Accreditation Status for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Preaccreditation Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at:

7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E
Bethesda, MD 20814

ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-6611 and its web address is www.acoteonline.org; its email address is accred@aota.org. Loriann Helgeson, OTD, OTR/L, CLA, is the department chair.

The program must complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the NBCOT exam, the individual will be 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. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. This program has been reviewed as a substantive change by our institutional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and is included in our institutional accreditation status.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 28 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork, as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Standard D.1.3.

OT Program Outcomes
View our National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) program data results.

Admission Requirements for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

We review applications to our OT program holistically. View our admission requirements for more information and OT program costs.

For general questions about the OT program, please call us at 509.777.4442 or email us.

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Get Started on Your Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree

Join a program that embodies servant leadership, global citizenship, and the integration of faith and learning. You will automatically be considered for scholarships when you apply.

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