Innovative program to help occupational therapy assistants earn a degree through a hybrid online/on-campus model
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) was granted Candidacy Status for its new entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Bridge Program by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). This program was developed in response to a need in the healthcare education landscape, as only one other university (located in California) in the West offers an MOT bridge program.
This program was created to serve practicing occupational therapy assistants (OTA) who want to earn a Master’s degree and become licensed occupational therapists while still practicing in the field. The MOT bridge program will be delivered over two years (six semesters) using a hybrid instructional model, meaning students will not be required to relocate to the RMU campus in Provo, Utah, to attend classes. Instruction will be delivered via online courses, and students will come to campus to participate in two in-person intensive learning weeks each semester. During these onsite weeks, students will receive hands-on lab experiences, skill checks, practical examinations, mentoring, and advisement.
“The Master of Occupational Therapy program was created to meet a need within the current healthcare landscape,” said the Chair of RMU’s Occupational Therapy department, Bryan M. Gee, OTD, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, CLA, FAOTA. “This new program provides a unique opportunity for occupational therapy assistants nationwide to earn an advanced degree without having to move or quit working.”
Occupational therapy assistants eligible for the MOT Bridge Program must have a bachelor’s degree in any field to enroll in this program. RMU is working with universities that offer bachelor’s programs to serve as the bridge between an associate’s degree and a master’s. Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTA) are eligible to enroll in the program immediately.
“A master’s degree in the field of occupational therapy will provide occupational therapist assistants the opportunity to advance their careers and enable them to pursue advanced credentialing opportunities in pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and physical rehabilitation,” said MOT Founding Director Kimberly Lloyd, OTD, MOTR/L.
“Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is dedicated to meeting current and future healthcare needs, and we saw a gap in the educational opportunities for occupational therapy assistants,” said RMU President Cameron K. Martin, PhD. “RMU’s newly accredited Master of Occupational Therapy innovative and flexible program allows working professionals across the nation to advance their education without the need to relocate or put their careers on hold.”
With the announcement of this Candidacy Status approval, RMU is accepting applications for Fall 2024 enrollment for students who currently hold a bachelor’s degree. Admissions advisors will also work with applicants who require a bachelor’s degree to find a program that will allow them to eventually progress to RMU for a master’s. RMU anticipates becoming fully accredited by the ACOTE following the graduation of its first cohort in 2026.