Occupational Therapy

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Occupational Therapy Doctorate

In this degree program offered by the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, you can earn an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree in just three years after completing the prerequisites.

Occupational therapists focus on increasing independence, participation and engagement in daily living activities for individuals, groups and populations.  Occupational therapists enable individuals of all ages to live their lives to the fullest by promoting health and well-being. Occupational therapists help people develop, recover, adapt, enhance, learn and improve the skills needed for accomplishing their goals and dreams. 

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for most professions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities.  Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who are facing life challenges due to illness, diseases, trauma, phychological distress, injuries, and other difficulties.  They promote the health and well being for a variety of populations.


What Distinguishes Drake's OTD Program?

Practical Experiences

You will begin working with clients in your first year, allowing you to enhance your knowledge base through hands-on involvement.

Year-Round Coursework

Beginning with the doctorate level course work, you will complete your degree in three years due to the year-round offerings of the program.

Personalized Experience

You will receive individual attention from faculty and staff to build lifelong mentors and connections within the occupational therapy profession.

Connections in the Capitol

As the only occupational therapy program in Des Moines, you will have many opportunities for unique practical experience and access to legislative activities related to health care and occupational therapy. Drake is located in Iowa’s capital city, which allows you to get involved in advocacy opportunities and become an active member of the Iowa Occupational Therapy Association.

Professional Preparation

Drake partners with numerous clinics, hospitals, special care facilities and private practice sites in Des Moines. Drake’s extensive local and national practitioner network offers chances for shadowing, mentoring and professional experiences. Additionally, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has a dedicated career development staff who will work with you to achieve your career goals.


The 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 301-652-6611 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. Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

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