Become a doctorally-prepared licensed Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists help individuals who are recovering from an illness or an injury to return to activities that are important to them. Individuals with a doctorate in occupational therapy work directly with patients and have additional opportunities to take on leadership roles in health care practices and policy organizations or join the faculty of occupational therapy education programs.
About Sage’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate
Russell Sage College’s entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
We accept applications for Doctor of Occupational Therapy candidates to begin coursework starting in summer each year.
As an OTD student, you’ll complete academic, clinical, research and leadership coursework, participate in five fieldwork placements and complete a doctoral-level capstone experience.
Our Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is designed to allow full-time students to complete their occupational therapy doctorate in three years, including summers. Please contact us to learn about part-time options.
Upon completing your Occupational Therapy doctoral degree, you’ll be eligible to take the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, which leads to national certification and eligibility for state licensure.
Many professors hold leadership positions in professional organizations and several hold advanced certification in pediatrics, sensory integration, neurodevelopmental treatment, hand therapy or other areas.
And our 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means professors get to know you, and serve as mentors throughout your education, fieldwork, capstone experience and even as you start your career.
More About our OTD Program
Read more from students, faculty and alumni of our OTD program.
Amatollah Elsirafy, OTD
Amatollah Elsirafy first learned about occupational therapy while attending community college and working at a school for children with autism. …
Giovanna Fichera, OTD
In 2022, Giovanna Fichera became one of the first students to earn a clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Russell …
Debra L. Collette, OTD, OTR/L
Sometimes things that seem too good to be true actually are true. For example, if you’re a caring person with …
Careers with an Occupational Therapy Doctorate
Alumni of our Occupational Therapy graduate programs work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, private practice and community agencies across New York state and around the country.
In addition to working with patients, individuals with a doctorate in Occupational Therapy are prepared to eventually pursue leadership roles in health care practices or educational settings.
Fieldwork and Capstone Experience
As an Occupational Therapy doctoral degree candidate, you will work therapeutically with clients under the supervision of licensed occupational therapists during five fieldwork experiences: three multi-week placements in clinical and simulated settings connected with your first and second-year coursework, and two full-time, 12-week fieldwork experiences with responsibilities leading to those of an entry-level occupational therapist.
More than 600 clinical sites throughout the country host our Occupational Therapy students for fieldwork experiences.
You will also design and complete a 14-week doctoral capstone experience that combines experiential learning, scholarship, and professional service in one or more of the following areas: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development.
Sage’s Health Sciences programs stress interprofessional education and create opportunities for future occupational and physical therapists, nurses, dietitians, mental health professionals and others to learn together, in preparation for roles on interprofessional health care teams. Our department has a leadership role in three interprofessional conferences each year, which attract hundreds of health sciences students from Sage and other colleges.
We also have an award-winning chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the national honor society for Occupational Therapy students.
The Russell Sage College entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited 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. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order 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.
For more information please visit our Occupational Therapy accreditation page, which includes graduation rates and NBCOT exam pass rates for the past three years.
Russell Sage College’s 100-credit doctoral program in Occupational Therapy prepares occupational therapists with advanced skills via classes, fieldwork and a capstone experience centered around the foundations of occupational therapy; therapeutic evaluations and interventions; professional identity and responsibility and leadership. The program prepares students for the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), which leads to national certification and eligibility for state licensure as an occupational therapist.
Applicants to Russell Sage College’s doctoral program in Occupational Therapy should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25, and should have completed the following prerequisite courses:
- Anatomy & Physiology I and II, with labs. Note that a 3.0 average in Anatomy & Physiology I and II is required for admission.
- Introduction to Psychology/General Psychology
- Human Development/Lifespan Development
- Abnormal Psychology
- 3 credits of Sociology or Anthropology
- Medical Terminology
- Physics recommended
Additionally, students should complete and document a minimum of 40 hours of clinical observation under the supervision of an occupational therapist prior to beginning the professional program. Alternate activities may be substituted for these hours due to COVID-19.
Please apply by February 1; we operate on rolling admissions. Include the following materials with your application:
- official transcripts from all the post-secondary institutions you attended
- two letters of recommendation
- one-to-two page essay describing your career goals, including doctoral aspiration
- documentation of at least 40 hours of clinical observation under the supervision of an occupational therapist
- Occupational Therapy Supplemental Forms
You may be eligible for preferred acceptance if you are applying to Russell Sage College’s doctoral program in Occupational Therapy directly from an undergraduate college with which we have an articulation agreement. Visit the Occupational Therapy department’s partnership page to learn more.
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