Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy involves the assessment and treatment of individuals whose ability to perform tasks of living is threatened or impaired by developmental disability, physical disability, psychosocial dysfunction, sensory impairment, or the aging process. The occupational therapy process involves the prevention or correction of physical, developmental, or emotional problems that affect functional performance of the individual. The goal of occupational therapy is to assist the patient in the performance of activities that provide meaning to her or his life.

Occupational therapists serve patients of all ages in a variety of settings including rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, public schools, psychiatric hospitals, day care facilities, sheltered workshops, homes, community agencies, and industrial sites.

Graduates of the MOT program are eligible to take the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and to apply for licensure that is required for practice in most states.  A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT examination or attain state licensure. Please be aware that disciplinary actions in your past, either felonies or misdemeanors, should be addressed with the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners beforehand.  Waiting to report it on your application for licensure will cause a delay in issuing a license.  It is recommended that applicants use this review before applying to or attending an OT program.  

The MOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  For further information about the accreditation process contact:

American Occupational Therapy Association
Accreditation Department
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Telephone: (301) 652-2682
http://www.acoteonline.org

Occupational Therapy Admissions Requirements

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) consists of 101 semester credit hours of graduate-level coursework, including 6 months of full-time clinical fieldwork.  A baccalaureate degree, completed by the end of the fall semester prior to summer admission, is required for admission to the program.   Applicants are encouraged to seek advisement from their college counselors or the Health Professions Office of Admissions and Special Programs at (866) 802-6288 (toll-free) or (210) 567-6220.

Applications for the MOT program are accepted between mid August and mid October). The OTCAS Application, supplemental application, official transcripts, and all supporting documents must be submitted by the application deadline in mid October (See School of Health Professions web site for each year's specific dates). The first semester of MOT coursework typically begins the last week of May. 

In addition to non-academic factors that are considered, admission requirements for the Master of Occupational Therapy program include:

  • Official transcripts from each college and university attended (Note: All transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be submitted in the original language and must be accompanied by a course-by-course evaluation through a NACES Members agency)
  • Grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on MOT Program prerequisites
  • Cummulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required
  • Knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy gained through a minimum of 40 hours volunteer and/or observation under the general supervision of a licensed occupational therapist as documented on Documentation of Experience form
  • Two Letters of Reference, preferably from licensed occupational therapists
  • Interviews with Occupational Therapy faculty
  • Completion of all M.O.T. Program prerequisites (27 hours) by the end of the fall semester prior to admission the following summer:
    • Human Anatomy with lab OR Anatomy & Physiology I, 4 hours
    • Human Physiology with lab OR Anatomy & Physiology II, 4 hours
    • Physics I Lecture (Introductory Physics), 3 hours
    • Kinesiology Lecture (to include principles of human movement), 3 hours
    • Abnormal Psychology, 3 hours
    • Development Psychology, 3 hours
    • Sociology and/or Anthropology, 3 hours
    • Statistics, 3 hours
    • Medical Terminology, 1 hour (certificate of completion is acceptable)
  • International Applicants only: Submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores; minimum scores 560 (paper) or 68 (Internet).

Occupational Therapy Degree Requirements

The professional phase of the Master of Occupational Therapy curriculum consists of 101 semester credit hours taken over 30 months of study.

Master of Occupational Therapy Sample Plan of Study

First Year
SummerCredit Hours
OCCT 5001Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy 2
OCCT 5023Research 1: Assessment and Research Statistics 3
OCCT 5014Professional Communication in Occupational Therapy 3
Fall
OCCT 5007Occupational Justice and Participation 1
OCCT 5012Application of Neural Systems to Occupation 4
OCCT 5010Human Occupation across the Lifespan 3
OCCT 6026Psychosocial Components of OT 4
OCCT 5011Research 2: Introduction to Research &and Design 3
OCCT 5022Environmental Technologies 1 2
OCCT 6005Introduction to Anatomy 1.5
Spring
OCCT 5020Occupational Therapy Process: Neonate-Preschool 4
OCCT 5021Service Delivery Systems 1 2
OCCT 5024Clinical Medicine 1 1
OCCT 5071Level 1 Fieldwork: Neonatal-Preschool 1
OCCT 5013Applied Biomechanics of Movement 3
CSBL 5022Inter-professional Human Gross Anatomy 5.5
Second Year
Fall
OCCT 5025Pathology for Occupational Therapy 3
OCCT 6020Occupational Therapy Process: School Age 4
OCCT 6021Service Delivery Systems 2 2
OCCT 6022Environmental Technologies 2 3
OCCT 6070Level 1 Fieldwork: School Age 1
OCCT 6024Clinical Medicine 2 1
OCCT 6077Level I Fieldwork: Adult Biomechanical Dysfunction 1
OCCT 6030OT Process: Adult Biomechanical Dysfunction 4
Spring
OCCT 5005The Role of Occupational Therapy in Low Vision Rehabilitation 2
OCCT 6031Service Delivery Systems 3 3
OCCT 6069Level 2 Fieldwork: Seminar 1
OCCT 6037OT Process: Adult Neuromuscular Dysfunction 4
OCCT 6045Clinical Medicine 3 1
OCCT 6034Professional Issues 1
OCCT 6076Level 1 Fieldwork: Adult Neuromuscular Dysfunction 1
OCCT 6073Level 2 Fieldwork A 10
OCCT 6027Health Care Management 3
Third Year
Fall
OCCT 6074Level 2 Fieldwork B 10
OCCT 5003Evidence-Based Practice Capstone 3
 Total Credit Hours: 101.0

Occupational Therapy Objectives/Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Occupational Therapy program, the student will demonstrate the attitudes, knowledge and skills necessary for competent practice. The graduating student will:

  • Apply theoretical and empirical knowledge from the basic, behavioral, social, and knowledge of occupation in planning and implementing occupational therapy practice.
  • Advocate for clients, families, and the profession through employment as an OT.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in professional situations, using appropriate modes of expression, documentation and interpersonal interaction.
  • Uses research evidence when making clinical decisions and keeps abreast of current scientific knowledge.
  • Participate and contribute in the planning, development, and implementation of state of the art clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate competencies in the complex, collaborative, and changing health care, educational and community environments.
  • Display cultural competence in meeting the occupational performance needs of diverse populations.
  • Provide occupational therapy services within the framework of legal, ethical, and professional standards.
  • Demonstrates leadership skills in all aspects of professional activities.

Occupational Therapy Program Policies and Information

Ethics

Ethical principles reflect the values of a profession and thereby serve as action-oriented guidelines that are designed to be preventative rather than disciplinary.  Occupational therapists are expected to abide by the ethics adopted by the profession (AOTA Code of Ethics, 2015). The Occupational Therapy Department subscribes to this ethical code and expects the behaviors of students to be consistent with these principles.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an important part of the educational process for becoming an occupational therapist.  It represents the part of the program for the student to develop clinical skills through observation and experiential learning and to apply understanding of theory and techniques through extended, supervised experience.  

Fieldwork occurs away from the Health Science Center at affiliated clinical institutions/sites.  The majority of the fieldwork sites are located within the State of Texas.  Students may complete fieldwork only at assigned facilities. The Department maintains agreements with approved fieldwork sites, and these have been carefully selected to assure compatibility with the department philosophy, objectives, and curriculum design.  The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator maintains contact with the fieldwork facilities to support links between the didactic and fieldwork aspects of the curriculum.  Grades are based on the student’s performance, judgment, and attitude as measured by the on-site supervisor using the Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student.

While students are given an opportunity to express their preferences for location of placements, the program cannot grant assurances that student will be placed in their setting of choice.  Student placements are reserved many months (and in some cases, up to two years) in advance of a scheduled fieldwork experience.  Students are responsible for observing therapy for the treatment of conditions relating to the concurrent semester’s theory and skills courses and to fulfill assignments of the theory or lab course.  The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator maintains contact with the fieldwork facilities to support links between the didactic and fieldwork aspects of the curriculum.  All assigned work including observational/participatory times, written and oral assignments, and class discussion participation must be satisfactorily completed in order for the student to receive a passing grade.  Grades are based on the student’s performance, judgment, and attitude as measured by the on-site supervisor using the Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student.

The student is responsible for making any required living arrangements and should be prepared to incur expenses for transportation, food, and lodging during required fieldwork assignments.  Fieldwork students are expected to obey policies and procedures of the facility providing the fieldwork experience, and should submit all required assignments and evaluations, and other documentation as requested.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) requires completion of all fieldwork within 24 months following completion of academic preparation. This requirement assures continuity of academic concepts.

Program Costs

In addition to required tuition and fees, there are costs for textbooks, scrubs, and equipment. The full-time clinical fieldwork experiences included in the curriculum may require that students locate outside of San Antonio for the duration of the rotations. Fieldwork expenses will vary according to individual arrangements depending on the cost of travel, temporary housing, maintenance of local accommodations, etc. Students are encouraged to budget for major expenditures that could be associated with these assignments.  Detailed information about program costs can be found on the Department of Occupational Therapy website.

Standards of Practice

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA, 2010) publishes minimum standards of practice. These standards are viewed as minimum expectations for therapists as they conduct their professional activities on a daily basis. Please note that standards by other agencies, whether voluntary, regulatory, or institutional, may be more specific or rigorous than those published by AOTA.

Courses

OCCT 5001. Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy. 2 Credit Hours.

This course is an overview of the critical issues of occupational therapy. This course includes the history, frames of references, current trends, and legislative concerns that impact practice.

OCCT 5003. Evidence-Based Practice Capstone. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides the student with the opportunity to apply the principles of evidence-based practice in a treatment settling to an identified client. This process will include an integration of evidence-based research methods with a discussion and analysis of all aspects of occupational therapy management for the client.

OCCT 5005. The Role of Occupational Therapy in Low Vision Rehabilitation. 2 Credit Hours.

An introductory Web-based course in the field of low vision rehabilitation designed to help occupational therapy practitioners develop a comprehensive understanding of how low vision can impact an individual's occupational performance and the therapy process. Evaluation and treatment interventions utilizing a multidisciplinary approach are presented. A one-day practicum (8 hours) at the Lions Low Vision Center of Texas is required.

OCCT 5007. Occupational Justice and Participation. 1 Credit Hour.

This course traces the development of an occupational justice approach to health and well being from an international perspective. The student will have the opportunity to explore ways to enable participation in occupation, within a sociopolitical context.

OCCT 5010. Human Occupation across the Lifespan. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of the character and purpose of human activity throughout the life span. Areas of occupation, performance skills, performance patterns, client factors, and contexts are examined for each stage of life.

OCCT 5011. Research 2: Introduction to Research &and Design. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of this lecture course is to introduce the student to the purpose of research and designs appropriate for answering research questions in practice settings. Topics include quantitative and qualitative designs.

OCCT 5012. Application of Neural Systems to Occupation. 4 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of the structure and function of the human nervous system, with particular emphasis on the application of theoretical concepts to treatment techniques practiced in occupational therapy. Clinical cases are an integral part of the course, and are discussed using the neuroscience principles being studied.

OCCT 5013. Applied Biomechanics of Movement. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of kinesiology and biomechanical principles related to human motion with application to occupational therapy assessment techniques of the musculoskeletal system. This course will provide the student with the opportunity to learn a basic knowledge of kinesiology and biomechanics of human movement in preparation for the study of the biomechanical approach to evaluation and treatment of physical dysfunction as occupational therapists.

OCCT 5014. Professional Communication in Occupational Therapy. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is the study of effective communication skills for occupational therapists in health care relationships. The course will focus on an understanding of self-communication behaviors and development of skills to interact non-verbally and verbally with patients, health teams, supervisors, families, and groups. Lecture, videotapes, and experiential activities will be used.

OCCT 5020. Occupational Therapy Process: Neonate-Preschool. 4 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of occupational therapy practice with neonates up to preschool age children and their families. Early interventions, to promote the engagement of young children and their families in occupation to support participation in a variety of contexts, are examined. Emphasis is placed on family-centered theories and practice.

OCCT 5021. Service Delivery Systems 1. 2 Credit Hours.

This course explores service delivery systems that exist for infants and young children with medical conditions and developmental disabilities. Topics include the organizational culture, administrative structure, missions, documentation procedures, and team interactions associated with occupational therapy in pediatric hospitals and early intervention programs.

OCCT 5022. Environmental Technologies 1. 2 Credit Hours.

This course provides the philosophical and therapeutic basis for occupational therapy utilization of adaptive, technological, and therapeutic equipment and materials. Activity analysis and problem-solving principles are developed. Included will be environmental adaptations and adaptive equipment for personal care, leisure, and home management.

OCCT 5023. Research 1: Assessment and Research Statistics. 3 Credit Hours.

This course focuses on principles of assessment and the psychometric properties of tests. The concepts of accurate evaluation, evaluation methods, purposes of evaluation, levels of measurement, standardization, validity, reliability, and test administration are examined. Students will have the opportunity to develop skill in selecting and using the most appropriate standardized assessment for a given purpose.

OCCT 5024. Clinical Medicine 1. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is an overview of the manifestations of developmental disabilities in pediatric patients and their medical and surgical management.

OCCT 5025. Pathology for Occupational Therapy. 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces the principles of human disease including a discussion of the pathogenesis, morphology, clinical course and treatment of those diseases most pertinent to the graduate occupational therapy student. The first portion of the course is devoted to the principles of general pathology while the second portion of the course is a review of systemic pathology.

OCCT 5071. Level 1 Fieldwork: Neonatal-Preschool. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is an opportunity for the student to observe and begin participation in the assessment and treatment of infants and preschool children and their families. Students will be exposed to clinical and community facilities that serve this population.

OCCT 5091. Special Topics. 1-6 Credit Hours.

This course will be arranged through departmental faculty. The course topics vary according to student interests. Semester hours are variable and credit hours will be assessed per topic. Could be offered in fall or spring summer sessions.

OCCT 6005. Introduction to Anatomy. 1.5 Credit Hour.

This introductory course examines the structures of the human body. Students will gain introductory knowledge about the major anatomical components of the skeletal, muscular, vascular and peripheral nervous systems. This course will precede CSBL 5022 Gross Anatomy.

OCCT 6020. Occupational Therapy Process: School Age. 4 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of occupational therapy practice with school-aged children. Occupational therapy assessment and intervention are examined in relationship to the child's engagement in occupation to support participation in the home, school, and community contexts. Performance skills and patterns, activity demands and client factors are discussed, with the following highlighted: sensory integration, motor skills, behavior management, comprehension and handwriting, activities of daily living, school tasks, and transitional skills.

OCCT 6021. Service Delivery Systems 2. 2 Credit Hours.

This course examines service delivery systems for school-aged children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Topics include the organizational culture, administrative structure, missions, documentation procedures, and team interactions associated with occupational therapy in public schools; transitional living programs; and prevocational and supported employment settings.

OCCT 6022. Environmental Technologies 2. 3 Credit Hours.

This course explores the assistive technologies available for use by individuals with disabilities so they may pursue educational, vocational, and recreational occupations. Included are computer input/output technologies, augmentative and alternative communication systems, aids for persons with sensory impairments, and electronic aids to daily living.

OCCT 6024. Clinical Medicine 2. 1 Credit Hour.

Clinical manifestations of adult biomechanical disorders will be presented. The medical and surgical management for these conditions will be described.

OCCT 6026. Psychosocial Components of OT. 4 Credit Hours.

This course provides the occupational therapy student with an understanding of psychiatric disease classification and the diagnosis and medical management of psychosocial conditions. Students will compare and contrast the contemporary bodies of knowledge in common use throughout the mental health arena and learn the specific occupational therapy evaluation and intervention procedures as they relate to each theoretical frame of reference. This course requires the student to observe, identify, and associate areas of occupation, performance skills, performance patterns, client factors, activity demands, and contexts as related to psychosocial components of participation with age-specific populations through visits to community settings.

OCCT 6027. Health Care Management. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is intended to provide the graduate student with an opportunity to assume supervisory, administrative, or management functions related to the delivery of occupational therapy services in the contemporary health care systems. The course is a study of the political, economic, legal and ethical factors that impact occupational therapy practices. Special emphasis will be given to the occupational therapy management functions of planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, controlling, and communicating.

OCCT 6030. OT Process: Adult Biomechanical Dysfunction. 4 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of the theories and approaches of occupational therapy assessment and intervention for adults with musculoskeletal disorders. Areas of occupation, performance skills, performance patterns, client factors, and contexts are examined.

OCCT 6031. Service Delivery Systems 3. 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines service delivery systems that exist for adults and the elderly with physical dysfunctions. Topics include the organizational culture, administrative structure, missions, documentation procedures, and team interactions associated with occupational therapy in rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, vocational settings, nursing homes, home health settings, assisted living settings, and hospice programs. This is the third in a series of courses addressing occupational therapy systems across the lifespan.

OCCT 6034. Professional Issues. 1 Credit Hour.

This interdisciplinary course is an overview of professional and ethical issues facing allied health professionals. Topics to be discussed include responsibilities of the health care practitioner, life and death decisions, patient confidentiality, substance abuse, whistle bowing, and informed consent. Ethics in research and other critical issues related to health care problems will also be addressed. Collaborative activities and simulated cases will be used to enhance discussion among students.

OCCT 6035. Concepts and Practices in Teaching. 2 Credit Hours.

The purpose of this course is to explore adult learner teaching methodologies and techniques that are applicable to classroom, clinical, or community settings. Students will define objectives, and plan and prepare instructional materials and practice skills.

OCCT 6037. OT Process: Adult Neuromuscular Dysfunction. 4 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of the theories and approaches of occupational therapy assessment and intervention for adults with sensorimotor and neuromuscular dysfunction. Areas of occupation, performance skills, performance patterns, client factors, and contexts are examined.

OCCT 6045. Clinical Medicine 3. 1 Credit Hour.

Clinical manifestations of adult neuromuscular disorders will be presented. The medical and surgical management for these conditions will be described.

OCCT 6069. Level 2 Fieldwork: Seminar. 1 Credit Hour.

This course will focus on the transition from classroom to Level 2 Fieldwork experiences. Students will have the opportunity to identify Level 2 fieldwork expectations, explore professional behaviors and ethics, review AOTA, NBCOT, and the State of Texas licensure requirements, and begin preparation for job searches.

OCCT 6070. Level 1 Fieldwork: School Age. 1 Credit Hour.

Students will have the opportunity to observe the occupational therapy process in public school, community, and supported employment settings with children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. This course is the third in a series of fieldwork courses that allow students to experience community and public school programs and observe occupational therapy for children with disabilities ages 4-21 years. It is taught in the second year of the program. Corequisites: OCCT 6021 and OCCT 6020.

OCCT 6073. Level 2 Fieldwork A. 10 Credit Hours.

This first three-month fieldwork placement in an occupational therapy setting where the student will gain competence in providing occupational therapy services to individuals with physical dysfunctions or developmental disabilities.

OCCT 6074. Level 2 Fieldwork B. 10 Credit Hours.

This second three-month fieldwork placement in an occupational therapy setting where the student will gain competence in providing occupational therapy services to individuals with physical dysfunctions or developmental disabilities.

OCCT 6075. Level 1 Fieldwork: Elective. 1 Credit Hour.

Students are required to observe, participate in, and critique the occupational therapy process in a setting of their choice in collaboration with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.

OCCT 6076. Level 1 Fieldwork: Adult Neuromuscular Dysfunction. 1 Credit Hour.

Students are required to observe, participate in, and critique the occupational therapy process with adults and older adults with neuromuscular dysfunctions within community and rehabilitation settings.

OCCT 6077. Level I Fieldwork: Adult Biomechanical Dysfunction. 1 Credit Hour.

Students are required to observe, participate in, and critique the occupational therapy process with adults and older adults with biomechanical dysfunctions within community and rehabilitation settings.