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The Impact of OTD on Practice
Transcript of The Impact of OTD on Practice
The Issue Is- Generational cohort theory: Have we overlooked an important aspect of the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate debate?
There are 2 categories of issues against moving to an entry level OTD:
1. How to best accredit education programs, what the length of the programs should be, content, and number of credits.
2. The profession having no control
a. Moving to an entry level doctorate puts going to school for occupational therapy out of reach for people who are socially or financially disadvantaged
b. We are unsure if there be enough people interested to apply to the programs that will make it financially viable for the schools
Practitioners' perceptions of the occupational therapy clinical doctorate
Surveyed 600 OT practitioners from 7 different states about their perceptions about the entry level and post-professional OTS.
A majority of the practitioners did not approve of the entry-level doctorate
A majority of practitioners believed that those with post-professional clinical doctorates were more able to meet demands of management, were more credible and were more up to date in evaluations, treatments and evidence-based practice rather than those with entry-level doctorates.
The Issue Is—The professional occupational therapy doctoral degree: Why do it?
There has been an increase in Occupational Therapy programs moving to OTD. OTD programs are about 2-3 semesters longer than a MOT program.
There is a current debate in both academic and clinical practice areas about whether occupational therapists should hold an OTD versus a masters degree.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau Statistics reports that employment of occupational therapists s is expected to rise 23% from 2003 to 2016.
Moving to an entry level OTD will create barriers for minorities interested in OT. Yet, this is true for all postsecondary education, so moving to an entry level doctorate will likely not impact this issue.
Arguments against moving to entry level OTD due to creating a gap between associates degree programs and doctoral programs are not an effective argument against the shift.
The shift to entry level OTD could mean a less diverse profession for occupational therapy practice.
The OTD programs will explore a variety of health care trends/pressing issues including:
The complexity of diagnoses
Online systems to collect and analyze clinical data
The use of standardized evidence-based practice
An increased emphasis on health promotion programs
Strengthening care coordination and inter-professional relationships
Impact on Practice
Being an entry-level OTD can allow occupational therapists to:
Advocate for OT in a variety of settings
Have an opportunity to specialize in their field
More focused knowledge
Advanced in research and ability to choose interventions based on current research
Advocate for our profession
Impact on OTA's?
Will they need to move to bachelors degrees?
How does this change their educational experience?
If their program needs to become more advanced will this stray people away from getting their degree as an OTA?
A majority of the practitioners indicated that they had no desire to pursue their doctorate due to a lack of monetary reward or advancement, and had little time to pursue it due to other obligations
47% however said that they would pursue a higher degree in a different field from OT
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): Used for procedural coding or coding based upon the type of service provided while the ICD codes are used for diagnosis coding (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2015).
International Classification of Diseases 9th revision clinical modification (ICD- 9- CM) (which will be replaced by the ICD 10th edition as of October 1, 2015): Used for diagnosis- based coding
As such, the current literature indicates that reimbursement will be not be impacted by degree level
As of now, experience and setting have more influence than education level in regards to salary pay by employers.
The mean salary for both Master's OTR and Doctorate OTR were the same as of 2011 at $75,000
Employment is not dependent upon education degree, but a doctoral degree is encouraged for individuals pursuing a career in academia
Andrus, B. (2013). Four things you need to know about OT salary. Retrieved from
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). FAQs: AOTA Board of Directors position
statement on doctoral-level single point of entry for occupational therapists. Retrieved
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2015). Coding & billing. Retrieved from
American Occupational Therapy Association. (n.d.). Your career in occupational therapy:
Frequently asked questions about occupational therapy education. Retrieved from
Learning Path. (2013). Occupational therapy master's and doctorate: Degrees at a glance.
Retrieved from http://learningpath.org/articles/
Fischer, Thomas F., & Crabtree, Jeffery L. (2009). The Issue Is- Generational cohort theory: Have we overlooked an
important aspect of the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate debate? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 656-660
Dickerson, A., & Trujillo, L. (2009). Practitioners' perceptions of the occupational therapy clinical doctorate . Journal
of Allied Health, 38(1), e47-e53. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.libraryproxy.quinnipiac.edu/docview/705040599/fulltextPDF/674A264F1EA147B5PQ/1?accountid=13381
Case-Smith, J., Page, S. J., Darragh, A., Rybski, M., & Cleary, D. (2014). The Issue Is—The professional occupational
therapy doctoral degree: Why do it? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, e55-e60. Retrieved from
Agent of Change
No matter what your perceptions or opinions are on this topic, becoming educated on its impact on our profession is important. Spreading awareness about the advancement in education and being knowledgeable of both the positive and negative aspects that comes with this change in our profession can help others to understand this shift. Some arguments on this topic suggest that other professionals, that are unfortunately not as aware of occupational therapy as they should be, may have more respect and recognition of occupational therapists that hold a doctoral degree; this could be used to our advantage to further our profession. Even as we reach one hundred years of our profession’s existence, our profession is molded by the ever changing needs of society, of healthcare, and higher education. Our profession is evolving and opportunities are growing, making it imperative to continue to promote occupational therapy as a profession even if this transitional process and shift is uncomfortable to some because our professional identity is being questioned.
Kelsey Maroney, Cassie Catala, Katie Williams, Kelsey Zarek, Kaitlyn Marinelli, Alexa Molinari, Skyler Stein