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Pre-Occupational Therapy Advising

Pre-occupational therapy advising spans all the years of a student’s Whitworth education. Explore your career interests, receive personalized guidance, and gain skills and experience outside of the classroom that will prepare you to be a competitive applicant for occupational therapy school and a compassionate future practitioner.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession that helps people of all ages to participate fully in daily life activities. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people who are experiencing physical, cognitive or emotional impairments by providing skilled evaluation, intervention, and health promotion strategies to help them take care of themselves and their families, be productive, and contribute to the social and economic fabric of the community.

Why pursue pre-occupational therapy advising at Whitworth?

  • Find your calling. Vocational discernment is interwoven into all aspects of pre-occupational therapy advising, from mentoring to seminars and guest speaker events.
  • Form connections with professors and advisors who want to see you succeed and will support you every step of the way. Our advisors even continue to assist students after their Whitworth graduation, particularly as they prepare their occupational therapy school applications.
  • Take a specialized seminar course that will help you explore career paths.
  • Create camaraderie with your peers through one of several science clubs for pre-health students, which offer fun social activities and frequent guest speakers.
  • Gain experience working with individuals who are different from you. Enroll in a study abroad program that includes a medical internship, or join a student-run club like En Christo that serves low-income residents in Spokane. You will develop important perspectives you can apply toward a career in which you'll be working with patients from all walks of life.
  • Build leadership skills that will strengthen your résumé. At Whitworth, you will have many opportunities to develop into a capable and caring leader, whether by volunteering for a worthwhile cause, getting involved with student government or residence life, or serving as a teaching assistant.
  • Develop transferable skills that will make you more effective in your future career in healthcare and in other areas of life. A Whitworth liberal arts education will prepare you to think critically and communicate clearly.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our pre-occupational therapy advising grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Our graduates are working as occupational therapists across the country.

Recent job placements include:

  • Megan (John) Colwell, pediatric occupational therapist, OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Portland, Ore.
  • Alexis Woodie, occupational therapist (acute care), St. Luke’s Magic Valley Hospital, Twin Falls, Idaho
  • Graeme Lauer, occupational therapist, Eastern State Hospital, Department of Social and Health Services, Medical Lake, Wash.
  • Nichole Webber, occupational therapist, Foundations Holistic Therapy, Spokane
  • Micki Kleven, occupational therapist at Infinity at Home, Infinity Rehab, Salem, Ore.

Besides attending Whitworth's occupational therapy doctoral program, our recent pre-occupational therapy advising graduates further their studies at occupational therapy institutions including:

  • Creighton University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Colorado State University
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program at Whitworth

Whitworth University offers its own occupational therapy doctoral program, enabling students to receive professional training that embodies Whitworth’s mission of mind-and-heart education. Pre-occupational therapy majors have the opportunity to integrate requirements for an undergraduate degree with those for a graduate degree. This allows them to begin their OTD graduate studies earlier – and thereby finish earlier – since some of the graduate degree credits will fulfill the requirements for the bachelor's degree. Learn more about this accelerated option and connect with a pre-OT advisor to see if this is a feasible pathway for you, here: Bachelor's + Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

Accreditation Status

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:

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. 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.

Ask our pre-occupational therapy faculty advisor

Matt Silvers

Ask Matt

Professor of Health Sciences Matt Silvers' area of expertise is exercise physiology.

What related majors can I explore?

You may be surprised to learn you can choose any major as a pre-occupational therapy student. While it's more common to choose a major in the natural or social sciences, occupational therapy school applicants can also choose majors in the humanities like history, English and theology, and complete a significant number of credits in the sciences.

The most typical majors chosen by pre-occupational therapy students include: