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Utah Valley University and Rocky Mountain University Partner to Educate Future Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapy Education Opportunities Abound in Utah


In a unique higher education partnership, Utah Valley University (UVU) and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) signed an agreement to enhance educational opportunities for students to enter the field of occupational therapy. This program is designed to help students obtain an advanced occupational therapy education and enter the workforce earlier than traditional pathways. 

“UVU health programming and pathways for students is one of our priorities,” stated UVU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Wayne Vaught. “This partnership helps meet healthcare industry needs by allowing students to receive credits that apply to two different degrees, reducing the time they are in school and getting them into the workforce more quickly.”

“It is important for higher educational institutions to enter into partnerships like these, ones that leverage the strengths and offerings of each institution with the best interest of the students and the workforce in mind,” RMU President Cameron K. Martin said. “Good things happen when public and private higher education institutions partner to form complementary programs to provide the best possible value to students and in response to workforce needs.”

The ‘3 plus 3 program’ offers students a pathway to obtaining a doctorate in six years. Students would begin their educational journey at UVU completing their freshman, sophomore, and junior year in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BS) degree/program. During their third year, they would apply to the RMU Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program and begin the OTD program if accepted. The first two semesters of the OTD program count toward the upper-division courses for the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. Students would graduate from UVU with a BS and have just two more years to complete their RMU OTD degree.  

“The 3 plus 3 program between UVU and RMU demonstrates full collaboration between institutions to help students maximize their educational experiences,” said Dr. Malissa Martin, Executive Vice President and Provost of RMU. “UVU students who choose this pathway shave off a year or two semesters of coursework, thus entering the workforce in Utah and Intermountain West earlier and paying less overall tuition for their undergraduate degree.”

There is a growing market demand for trained and licensed occupational therapists in the United States. According to U.S. News & World Report, Occupational Therapy is the #4 ranked job in healthcare, with a projected 16,100 new jobs with a median salary of $93,180. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Report predicts that there will be about 9,600 occupational therapist positions opening each year, on average, over the next ten years. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 

What is Occupational Therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), “Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on the things you want and need to do in your daily life.” 

Common services occupational therapists work on include; 

  • Activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, and eating)
  • Adapting meaningful tasks and the environment (such as shower chairs or equipment to make daily tasks easier and safer)
  • Caregiver and family training
  • Planning and making the most of daily routines
  • Returning to work, school, and leisure activities
  • Techniques to aid in memory, concentration, and executive functioning (e.g., planning and prioritizing, functional cognition)
  • home safety and accessibility and fall prevention 
  • Driving rehabilitation and habitation

“The field of Occupational Therapy is all about helping clients get back to or create their own normal,” said Dr. Bryan Gee, Program Director for RMU’s OTD Program and Chair of RMU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. “As our population navigates the challenges of everyday living (aging, injury, illness, physical or social barriers) the need for healthcare professionals who can help live the best quality of life possible is crucial. Here at RMU, we are training professionals who are empathetic, well-versed in the latest evidence-based practice and technologies, and have a desire to change the lives of their clients.”

About Rocky Mountain University

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) is a graduate healthcare education institution accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Founded in 1998 and located in Provo, Utah, RMU offers high-quality and evidence-based master’s and doctoral degree programs in various healthcare specialties with a diverse student body and faculty.

About Utah Valley University

At Utah Valley University, we believe everyone deserves the transforming benefits of high-quality education — and it needs to be affordable, accessible, and flexible. With opportunities to earn everything from certificates to master’s degrees, our students succeed by gaining real-world experience and developing career-ready skills. We continue to invite people to come as they are — and leave ready and prepared to make a difference in the world.