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Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Entry-Level) · OTD

Hybrid (Primarily Online) | 8 semesters


Each semester is 16 weeks long. Most of those weeks you’ll be learning from where you live, but the 6th and 14th weeks of each semester you’ll come on campus for in-person clinical skills acquisition and professional development. This face-to-face instruction includes meaningful labs that complement your online learning. Students will learn in our cadaver lab with pre-dissected specimens and experience the state-of-the-art virtual anatomy lab, technology lab for assistive technology, driving rehabilitation, and occupational therapy/optometry low vision suite all on our new campus.
Through RMU’s learning management system, online instruction will include regularly scheduled live lectures via Zoom with faculty experts and student colleagues. These typically occur on Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM MST. Instruction will also include pre-recorded, faculty-led lectures that may be viewed, asynchronous discussion forums (written and video), and the use of a number of instructional technologies (GoReact, Simucase, ICE Videos, etc.) and game-based learning resources (Kahoot). Students will also have direct access to faculty during virtual office hours (discussion board, live chat, or Zoom) to assist them in their courses and clinical affiliation planning.

We’ll reiterate you do not have to relocate to enroll in and complete this program. The large majority of the instruction takes place online. This is still a full-time program, so you’ll need to be committed and available to come on campus when required (2 times a semester during semesters 1-4 & 7). However, these visits are predetermined and spaced between extended periods of synchronous and asynchronous online instruction.

The program is designed to span 8 semesters over the course of 2.5 years. This is a year-round program, with breaks in between semesters so you’ll be working consistently toward your OTD.
During the early portion of the program, students will complete three Level I fieldwork rotations, which are one week in length. At the midpoint in the program, students will complete two Level II fieldwork rotations, each 12 weeks long. Finally, toward the end of the program, students will complete the doctoral capstone experience (or advanced clinical), which is 14 weeks long. Fieldwork rotations and the doctoral capstone experience are established and managed by program administration in collaboration with each student, taking into consideration their clinical interests, goals, and resources with the aim of providing students with diverse clinical experiences needed for practice as a generalist.
The program priority application cycle runs from mid-January through June 15 each year. However, late applications may be accepted through August 15 of each year on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates for admission will be evaluated once their application is complete. Once the program receives all application materials, the candidate will be considered. Within 15 business days of the application review, applicants will be informed whether they are immediately accepted, placed on a wait list, or not accepted.

As well as your OTCAS application, we ask students to submit an essay (1500 word minimum) that includes a personal statement and strategies for handling our limited-residency model. Students must also complete an:

-Interview: Prerecorded (predetermined questions) video interview/response
-Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic (VARK) inventory-style questionnaire

No, the GRE is not required to apply. However, it is an option to submit your scores. Should you wish to submit them here are the requirements:
-Minimum Verbal and Quantitative reasoning score: 35%
-Minimum Analytical writing scaled score: 3.0
-Must be taken within five years of application

The highest combination of scores for each section of the GRE will be accepted if the test is taken multiple times. Rocky Mountain University’s school code for submission is 0377.

No, there are no limits or quotas related to the acceptance of in-state or out-of-state students into the program.
Yes, prerequisite courses can be taken at any accredited institution of higher learning or online, as long as they satisfy our prerequisite requirements.
The OTD program accepts applications submitted with no more than nine credit hours of prerequisite courses work in progress (or planned) and evidenced in the OTCAS application. The prerequisite course(s) in progress or planned at the time an application is submitted must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher, all grades under “B” will disqualify an applicant from matriculating into the program.
After completing the program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam to become a nationally board-certified occupational therapist. During the last semester of our program, you’ll complete the Occupational Therapy Knowledge Exam (OTKE) to determine where your expertise needs improvement. You’ll receive feedback that you can then use to prepare for the NBCOT board exam.
An OTD degree prepares graduates as occupational therapists with the in-depth knowledge and skills to practice in various settings, including clinics, hospitals, school systems, or community programs. A Ph.D. degree prepares graduates with the in-depth research knowledge and skills to work as career scientists in various settings, including universities, clinical research institutes, or scientific industries. Both degrees prepare graduates for working in academia, albeit for different faculty roles.
A variety of financial aid loans and grants are available for qualified applicants to Rocky Mountain University. Students will need to meet with a financial aid adviser at the time of admission, before each semester, and upon graduation. Students seeking financial assistance may apply by contacting the Finance Office. Further information is found in the University Handbook.
Due to the exacting requirements of the occupational therapy course of study, it is unwise for students to expect to meet their expenses through outside work. Most semesters in the OTD program include between 15 and 18 credit hours, requiring approximately 50 or more hours per week of learning activities (including synchronous and asynchronous lectures, labs, and time for studying/assignments). RMUoHP does not specifically forbid such additional duties but does definitely discourage them. Furthermore, the OTD program reserves the right to indicate that such work be discontinued if, in the opinion of the faculty, it interferes with the satisfactory completion of prescribed academic activities.

Fieldwork FAQ

Please get in touch with Dr. Ronald Honey at to discuss making arrangements to accept a level II fieldwork student.

Our level I fieldwork experiences (OT 719, 729, 739) requires students to participate in a minimum of 40 hours for each fieldwork experience.

Level II fieldwork experiences are full-time, as defined by the clinical site, for 12 weeks, in accordance with Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards.

For RMU’s OTD program, students complete their first level I fieldwork in the second semester, second level I in the third semester, and third level I in the fourth semester. Please see OTD Program curricular sequence.
At RMU, Level II fieldwork is completed during semesters 5 and 6. Please see OTD Program curricular sequence.
OTD students are required to submit evidence of a physical assessment, immunizations record, criminal background check, drug screen, TB test, flu shot, HIPAA training and CPR certification, and other site-specific documents as requested.
There are a variety of practice settings in which students can perform level II fieldwork including but not limited to acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient pediatric rehabilitation, mental health facilities, school systems, outpatient adult rehabilitation, home health care and nontraditional settings. RMU’s OT program meets the ACOTE requirement that either one level I or level II fieldwork experience has “its focus on psychological or social factors that influence engagement in occupation”.
The Level II fieldwork site and the academic program together decide time off during fieldwork. The student is responsible to meet the time requirements of the placement. Please see Rocky Mountain University’s fieldwork attendance policy.

The new ACOTE Standard C.1.16 states that “supervision should be direct, then decrease to less direct supervision as is appropriate for the setting, the severity of client’s condition, and the ability of the students.” Supervision should also be consistent with state licensure regulations, reimbursement guidelines such as Medicare and Medicaid, and facility policy. Unless specified by reimbursement guidelines or other regulatory requirements, supervision need not always be “line of sight.” Telephones, mobile phones, or other communications technologies may supplement on-site supervision.

Remember that other professionals can participate in student supervision, but the primary supervisor must be an occupational therapist. The ACOTE Standards permit Level II fieldwork to be in a setting where there is no OT employed by the facility. In such cases, the program must document there is a plan for the provision of supervision by an OT.

On-site supervision must be provided in accordance with the plan and state credentialing requirements, and the student must receive a minimum of eight hours of OT supervision per week, including direct observation of client interaction. Additionally, the OT fieldwork educator must be readily available for communication and consultation during work hours.

Please explore the following resources for more information on student supervision guidelines:

These situations should be discussed with the student’s academic fieldwork coordinator (AFWC). Any time that the fieldwork educator is away, another person must be designated as the responsible party and contact person to whom the student can go for guidance. Any state licensure regulations and reimbursement guidelines such as Medicare or Medicaid must also be followed.

Level I Fieldwork Education Experiences
Level I A Pediatric -April 22-26, 2024 (1 week)
Level I B Psychosocial- August 19-23, 2024 (1 week)
Level I C Adult or geriatric neurological/physical- December 16-20, 2024 (1 week)

Level II Fieldwork Education Experiences
Level II Fieldwork A- January 6- April 25, 2025 (12 weeks)
Level II Fieldwork B – May 5- August 22, 2025 (12 weeks)

Yes, a fieldwork educator can earn 12 professional development units (PDU) for providing 12 weeks of full-time Level II fieldwork or one PDU for each full-time week of Level I fieldwork supervision.
Yes, supervision of a Level I or Level II fieldwork student can be split in numerous ways. The fieldwork sites can collaborate with the Rocky Mountain University academic fieldwork coordinator to develop the best plan for split supervision.
For level II fieldwork, OTD students must be supervised by an occupational therapist who meets state regulations and has a minimum of one year of practice experience subsequent to initial certification.
The first step is for the fieldwork site to notify the student that he/she is at risk of failing fieldwork. Then the site should let the student know that the site will now notify the academic fieldwork coordinator (AFWC) and encourage the student to call the AFWC as well. One of the roles of the AFWC is to serve as a mediator between a student and the fieldwork educator about concerns. The AFWC can provide the site and student with a different perspective, can advise on possible solutions, and can guide all parties through the necessary next steps.

All OTD courses can be repeated one time as a part of the program’s remediation policy.

The academic program is not permitted to inform the fieldwork site of a student’s disability without the student’s permission. It is the student’s decision whether or not to disclose a disability. The academic fieldwork coordinator (AFWC) will counsel students on the pros and cons of sharing this type of information prior to beginning fieldwork. If a student decides not to disclose, the AFWC is legally not allowed to share that information with the fieldwork setting in accordance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws.

A fieldwork setting cannot refuse to place a student with a disability unless that student is unable to perform the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations. To refuse placement solely on the student’s disability is discriminatory and illegal.

To ensure adequate preparation for the NBCOT exam following graduation from our OT program, we require that our students complete both level II fieldwork experiences within the United States. Students may have the option to complete an international fieldwork experience as a third level II experience if available.
We strongly advise against requesting a job shadow at a potential fieldwork site due to the overwhelming amount of job shadow requests received by many facilities.
Rocky Mountain University awards a pass/fail grade for Level II fieldwork. This grade is determined based upon a student’s score on the fieldwork performance evaluation (FWPE), which is provided by your fieldwork educator. Scores are determined as satisfactory or unsatisfactory at midterm point of fieldwork (six weeks). Final evaluation scores are provided near the end of 12 weeks. This score indicates whether a student has passed or not passed their Level II fieldwork experience.

Each student is asked to review the list of Fieldwork (FW) education sites in the online fieldwork management system. Each student turns in their ranked top three site/location preferences for each FW experience. The AFWC leans heavily on considerations for the best fit for student/site/fieldwork educator (FWE) and educational learning needs. When several students request the same site, final decisions are made by the AFWC. Multiple meetings between the student and the AFWC may occur to find the best match for each student in their FW education sites. No FW education site is guaranteed to an OTD student.

Three excused absence days are permitted per fieldwork education experience. Any more than three absence days must be made up. All time away from the fieldwork education site must be approved by the AFWC, fieldwork educator, and site coordinator. If a fourth day is missed due to an excused absence, make-up time must be completed with the fieldwork education site as available or in the form of extra assignments at the discretion of the FWE/FWE education site coordinator in conjunction with AFWC.

Doctoral Capstone FAQ

Please get in touch with Dr. Sarah Mbiza at to discuss making arrangements to accept a doctoral capstone student.

Our doctoral capstone experiences (OT 761) requires students to participate in a minimum of 14 weeks, in accordance with Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards.
For RMU’s OTD program, students complete their capstone experience in the winter semester of the third year. Please see OTD Program curricular sequence.
Requirements for the capstone experience will vary depending on the site. Students will be made aware of these with ample time to complete them.
Students will pursue one or more of the following focus areas for their doctoral capstone experience/project: Clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.
The site mentor, faculty advisor, capstone coordinator and student will collaborate to decide how time will be used during the capstone experience. The student is responsible to track and provide verification of the time usage during the placement using a log. ACOTE Standard D.1.5 states that “no more than 20% of the 560 hours can be completed off site from the mentored practice setting(s), to ensure a concentrated experience in the designated area of interest.”
There are a variety of settings in which students can complete their experience including but not limited clinical settings and community-based settings. Community based setting include the following: day programs, forensic settings, refugee programs, clubhouses, homes for developmentally disabled settings, veteran programs, etc.
The student is expected to complete a minimum of 80% (448 hours) on-site under the supervision of the site mentor. The role of the site mentor is to guide the student in the development and implementation of the capstone project proposal, implementation and dissemination.
These situations should be discussed with the student’s doctoral capstone coordinator (DCC). Any time that the site mentor is away, another person must be designated as the responsible party and contact person to whom the student can go for guidance.

Program Accreditation

Accreditation: The entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at Rocky Mountain University has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E Bethesda, MD  20814. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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.