20 Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Occupational Therapy
| Staff Writers
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Pursue a meaningful, fast-growing, and high-paying career with one of the most affordable online doctorate in occupational therapy.
In one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations, occupational therapists assist people with physical or mental health challenges while they e-engage in daily activities. These activities may include eating, socializing, driving, bathing, caring for others, and much more.
Occupational therapists are employed in hospitals, outpatient clinics, mental health settings, schools, home health, and academia. They develop individualized care plans so people can successfully complete the activities they need and want to do.
Are you an occupational therapist looking to advance your current practice? These programs can help you develop an area of expertise, innovate existing methods, and secure a leadership role in OT. Each of these programs are affordable and online, so you can continue working in the field while building advanced skills and knowledge.
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What kind of doctorate in occupational therapy should you get?
Post-Professional doctorate programs are the most common, but you can also find entry-level doctorate programs. However, post-professional doctorate programs are shorter and often online. Most entry-level programs are on campus and involve extensive field experience requirements.
Whichever route you go, it’s likely that you can find both online and on campus options. Online programs offer you the flexibility to balance school, work, family, and other obligations. They can also be completed from anywhere, with no need to relocate. If you’re looking for an affordable online program but not sold on OT, check out our list of the 50 Most Affordable Online Graduate Schools.
How much money do people make with a doctorate in occupational therapy?
Your salary will depend on what occupational therapy field you decide to work in. A doctorate is not required to practice occupational therapy, so you may receive the same salary as someone with a master’s degree.
However, some organizations will pay more for your advanced degree. You can also pursue opportunities in leadership, research, and academia that may result in a higher salary.
In the next 10 years, occupational therapy jobs are expected to increase by 24 percent. That’s triple the average job growth rate. Occupational therapy is a high-paying career that’s also in high demand.
What can you do with a doctorate in occupational therapy?
A doctorate in occupational therapy prepares you to become a healthcare manager or to continue practicing occupational therapy in a school, clinic, hospital, or other medical setting.
Other options include becoming a college professor or a medical research scientist.
Your doctorate study will prepare you to evaluate and analyze existing programs and outcomes and develop innovative programs that benefit your practice, community, and the OT profession as a whole.
What are the requirements for a doctorate in occupational therapy?
To pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy, you will need a master’s degree. Some programs require that your master’s is in OT, while others do not. Post-professional doctorate programs accept only licensed occupational therapists in good standing. Some require at least 2-3 years of experience in the field.
Most of these programs are about 35 credits and take 2-3 years to complete on a part-time basis. You will take courses on current trends in OT, research and best practices, program evaluation, and more. Some programs allow you to create an individualized study plan or take additional electives in a chosen area of specialty.
You will likely be required to complete a capstone project, and you may be asked to visit campus at the beginning and end of your program. Some programs have field experience requirements that you can complete at your current workplace.
What are the most affordable doctorate in occupational therapy programs?
We’ve compiled a list of the most affordable doctorate in occupational therapy programs based on net tuition costs. Of course, you also want a program that will provide a high-quality education. That’s why each program on our list is also accredited, meaning they’ve met rigorous academic standards.
All College Choice data and information comes from trusted sources such as:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. News and World Report
Official college and university websites and course catalogs
You can rest assured that every program on this list provides a high-quality, affordable, and flexible education. Whatever your aspirations in Occupational Therapy, these programs can help you achieve them without breaking the bank.
Established in 1897, Bay Path University is a private university in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The university takes an innovative approach to learning and empowers students to become leaders in their communities and careers. Students benefit from a supportive, diverse community and a contemporary, flexible education. Bay Path offers all-women undergraduate programs, co-educational master s programs, and an online doctorate in occupational therapy.
Bay Path s post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program helps occupational therapists remain competitive in the ever-changing field by expanding their skills and knowledge. The 36-credit program offers tracks in Administration, Advanced General Practice, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Education, and Mental Health. The core curriculum includes coursework in:
Evidence-based practice Occupational science Community practice Bioethics Leadership and advocacy
Bay Path s program is 100 percent online with no residency requirement. Students can complete the program in four to eight terms. All students complete capstone projects customized according to their career interests. No GMAT or GRE is required, and financial aid is available.
A leading private research university in the heart of Boston, Boston University enrolls over 34,000 students and offers more than 300 areas of study. It s ranked among the Top 50 universities nationwide by U.S. News and World Report. BU is known for groundbreaking research and world-class faculty: Fulbright Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, poet laureates, and more. Elite students from all 50 states and over 130 countries attend the university. BU offers an online Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
Boston University s Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy utilizes a mentorship model in which each student is paired with a faculty advisor who offers individualized guidance. The 33-36 credit program requires 10 courses and a doctoral project. Students gather for two one-day on-campus components at the program s beginning and end. Courses include:
Health Promotion and Wellness Social Policy and Disability Educational Theory and Practice Evaluating Clinical Theory and Research Outcomes Measurement and Monitoring
To successfully complete the doctoral project, students critically analyze the evidence base for current approaches, analyze relevant social and cultural factors, develop an innovative method to improve current outcomes, and design methods to evaluate new outcomes. BU also offers an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Brenau University is ranked one of the nation s best regional colleges and a Best Value regional college by U.S. News and World Report. Brenau has campuses throughout Georgia and in Jacksonville, Florida. The school is comprised of a Women s College, undergraduate and graduate schools, and online degree programs. Thirty-two percent of Brenau students study online. Brenau offers a nationally ranked Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program.
BU s 36-credit Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program prepares evidence-based leaders in the OT field. Students take two courses per semester year-round, completing the degree in two years. Graduates learn the skills to develop and manage clinical research, educate individuals, families, and communities, or become managers or entrepreneurs. They complete courses such as:
Occupational Science and Occupation-Based Practice Leadership, Ethics, and Advocacy Program Development Systems Professional Reasoning Teaching in Practice, Community Classroom
Courses are offered online, with students attending one 2-3 day weekend on campus each semester. Advanced practice courses are available in pediatrics, neuroscience/neuro rehab, community practice, and more.
Chatham University is a private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a 150-year history of excellence. Known for its leadership in the field of sustainability, Chatham opened the world s first fully sustainable campus in higher education in 2014. Chatham is consistently ranked as one of the North s best regional universities by U.S. News and World Report. The university serves 2,200 students and offers more than 60 degree programs, including a Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy.
The online Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy consists of 10 courses designed to enhance the careers of practicing occupational therapists. Students apply evidence-based literature, gain advanced theoretical knowledge and clinical competence, and expand their understanding of public policy, business management, and professional advocacy. Courses include:
Occupational Science Advanced Practice Concepts and Skills Occupational Therapist as Entrepreneur Methods of Evaluation Leadership and Professionalism
Two short residency requirements of 2-3 days at Chatham University are required. Students also complete a capstone project, implementing an intervention within their clinical setting. They evaluate the efficacy of their program and present their findings on Chatham s campus to program faculty and students, as well as area practitioners.
A Lutheran institution of higher education, Concordia University Wisconsin is one of nine universities forming the nationwide Concordia University System. The university has educated students from a Christ-centered perspective for 137 years, preparing them to serve their communities and the world. CUW boasts a 90 percent job placement rate and offers over 70 degree programs, including a primarily online Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
Concordia s Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy is for occupational therapists interested in specialty education in upper extremity rehabilitation, pediatrics, or education. Each candidate chooses one of these three specialty tracks. Core courses include:
Professional Writing for Occupational Therapy Advanced Evidence-Based Practice Capstone Occupational Science Mentoring/Clinical Education
Applicants must have three years of experience as an occupational therapist, a minimum 3.0 GPA in an occupational therapy degree, and a current license to practice OT. All courses are taught online, with two on-campus visits required. One is a two-day orientation and the other is a three-day visit during the second year.
A private Jesuit Catholic university in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University emphasizes the development of leaders who will offer meaningful service to others. U.S. News and World Report has named Creighton the Midwest s best regional university for sixteen years running. Creighton enrolls 8,910 students, and recent graduates report a 99 percent success rate. The university launched a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in 1999.
Creighton developed the nation s first entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, as well as the first innovative hybrid pathways program. The nationally ranked program focuses on values-centered, evidence-based patient care and service. Students complete various field experiences and courses such as:
Occupations and Occupational Therapy Occupational Therapy in Mental Health Neuroanatomy Clinical Anatomy Physical Rehabilitation
Fieldwork includes a 3.5-week experience, two three-month placements, and a doctoral experiential component totaling 16 semester hours. These experiences are available in a variety of geographic locations and practice setting. Creighton also offers a flexible online Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy that combines coursework in a student-selected professional area with expert mentorship.
Eastern Kentucky University is based in Richmond, Kentucky and has four branch campuses. The university offers more than 40 flexible online degree options. These programs are affordable and provide six start dates each year for student convenience. Students enrolled in online programs learn from the same world-class professors and follow the same curriculum as on-campus students. EKU offers a 100 percent online Master s to OTD program.
The Master s to OTD Program is focused on best practices and leadership-building. It s designed for licensed, certified occupational therapists with a master s degree. The nationally respected OT program prepares occupational therapists to lead change in OT services for diverse populations. Candidates complete courses like:
Policy Analysis for Occupational Therapy Applied Research in Occupational Therapy Evidence-Based Practice for Occupational Therapy Leadership Seminar I-IV Capstone
EKU s graduate program in occupational therapy is ranked among the nation s best by U.S. News and World Report. Courses are delivered in accelerated eight-week terms, and the degree can be completed in approximately two years. Course plans can be tailored to each student s interests, and no campus visits are required.
Governors State is a public university in University Park, Illinois, about 30 miles outside of Chicago. It was founded in 1969 and emphasizes flexibility and innovation. 5,500 GSU students choose from 88 academic programs in diverse fields. GSU offers the most affordable tuition rate in the state of Illinois. The university also supports students with evening classes and many online options, including a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.
GSU s 45-credit Doctor of Occupational Therapy program links research, education, and practice to help occupational therapists advance their current practice. Candidates prepare to be innovators in the field and to refine academic or clinical teaching skills. The program emphasizes service to vulnerable and underserved populations. Courses include:
Research Methods for Occupational Therapy Advanced Theories in Occupational Therapy Occupation-Centered Practice and Process Leadership, Policy, and Program Development Advocacy and Empowerment in Legal and Ethical Occupational Therapy Policy
Applicants must have a master s degree in OT, or a bachelor s degree in OT and a master s degree in any field. The curriculum consists of web-based and web-hybrid courses. Web-hybrid courses combine online and on-campus classes. Students create an individual study plan to incorporate their research interests into their coursework.
Indiana s premier urban public research university, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was founded in 1969. The school offers over 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs from Indiana University and Purdue University. IUPUI enrolls 28,710 students and is noted for its diversity and community engagement. Both the university and some of its programs are nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. IUPUI offers an online Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
The Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program equips occupational therapy practitioners to advance their careers. The one-year, 30-credit program guides candidates in developing personal development goals and creating an individual capstone project. The curriculum consists of courses such as:
Advancements in Occupational Science Applied Translational Research in Occupational Therapy Evidence-Based Practice in Occupational Therapy Leadership Administration in Occupational Therapy Teaching in Occupational and Rehabilitation Sciences
This program prepares candidates for careers such as OT faculty, advanced occupational therapy clinician, and translational researcher. Applicants must be a licensed occupational therapist and hold a master s degree, although the degree does not have to be in OT.
Jefferson is a private university formed in 2017 through the merger of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson University was initially founded in 1824, while Philadelphia University was founded in 1884. Together, the universities value civic engagement, experiential learning, and exceptional value in education. Jefferson has campuses throughout Philadelphia and offers cutting-edge online programs, including a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
The Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy allows students to develop and refine their area of expertise through in-depth study and practice. Graduates are prepared to drive innovation in traditional and emerging areas of OT. Students complete an individualized plan of study and may focus on areas such as Children and Their Families in Context, Teaching in the Digital Age, Health and Community Participation, or Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. Fifteen credits of core coursework are required in courses like:
Advanced Level Evidence-Based Practice Leadership: Moving Beyond Traditional Roles Visionary Practice Development and Evaluation Seminar in Clinical Research Seminar in Advanced Practice
The broad focus areas listed above can encompass electives in Autism, Hand Rehabilitation, Neuroscience, and Teaching, Health Literacy, and Cultural Competence and Humility. Electives may include experience-based courses, and all students create a capstone project based on their advanced area of expertise.
Misericordia University is a private Catholic university in Dallas, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1924 by the Sisters of Mercy and continues to provide a quality education through the the tenets of service, mercy, hospitality, and justice. The name Misericordia means heart of mercy. The liberal arts university enrolls 2,879 students and offers 37 degree programs, including a Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
Misericordia s Doctorate in Occupational Therapy program prepares occupational therapists to be agents of ethical care, social responsibility, and positive change. Graduates are also prepared for major career advancements. Students choose a Pediatric or Adult/Geriatric specialization and learn immediately applicable content. Students complete 24 core credits including:
Advanced Application of Theory Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Quality Programs Supporting Practice Through Public Policy and Advocacy Providing Evidence for Best Practices Education, Presentation, and Publication
In addition to core coursework, candidates complete 9-12 credits in their chosen area of specialization. A formally evaluated clinical project is also required for capstone coursework. The program is completed part-time over a two-year period. Classes meet on campus for one weekend day at the beginning and end of each semester.
Founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1964, Nova Southeastern University is now classified as a research university with high research activity. In total, Nova Southeastern enrolls over 21,000 students across its eight campuses. The forward-thinking university offers an affordable online Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
NSU s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program empowers students to become innovative leaders in the occupational therapy field. Students complete two courses each semester and travel to campus for 2-3 days of intensive coursework at the mid-semester. All students take core courses, then choose courses based on their career goals in consultation with the program director. Courses include:
Theory Development for Models of Practice Evidence-Based Practice and Critical Thinking in OT Contextual Aspects of Occupational Performance Community Program Development Program Evaluation and Outcome Measurement
Students complete a capstone project that is facilitated by a residency experience with experts in the student s area of interest. Program graduates direct occupational therapy and rehabilitation services, develop and lead innovative community programs and services, establish private practices, serve as consultants, and influence public policy decisions.
Established in 1884, Temple University is a top-ranked research university in Philadelphia. Temple is a leader in healthcare, science, and education and enrolls more than 38,000 students across 17 schools and colleges, eight campuses, and hundreds of degree programs. Recognized as one of the nation s best universities by both Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report, Temple is also known for providing excellent value. TU offers an online Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
Temple s online Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy is a nationally ranked post-professional program for occupational therapists who want to advance to leadership positions within the field. Students develop advanced knowledge in entrepreneurial innovation, clinical practice, higher education, and other interdisciplinary areas. The 31-credit program can be completed in two years and is comprised of courses such as:
Evidence-Based Practice and Clinical Research Studies in Outcome Measures and Analysis Leadership in the Health Professions: The Art and Science of Influence Occupational Based Theories and Participation Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions
The curriculum includes 22 credits of required coursework and nine elective credits in a chosen area of clinical interest. Students also complete 160 hours or four weeks of clinical field study and a four-course capstone series. Two in-person meetings are required annually at Temple s Center City Campus in Philadelphia. These meetings include orientation and opportunities to network with faculty.
Despite its name, Texas Woman s University is a co-educational public university. Based in Denton, Texas, TWU enrolls 15,000 students and is the largest university primarily for women in the United States. It has additional campuses in Dallas and Houston and is known for its innovative online degree programs. One of these programs is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree.
TWU s 33-credit hour Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is designed for part-time enrollment to allow practicing occupational therapists to remain active in the profession. Students typically complete the degree in 5-6 semesters. The program consists of a core curriculum and individually mentored professional development in an area of specialization. One or two campus visits are required each semester, but courses are primarily online. These courses include:
Current Issues and Trends in Occupational Therapy Advanced Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy Practice Theory and Knowledge Development in Occupational Therapy Applied Research Design and Methods Mentored Professional Development I, II, III, and IV
Through UWT s program, practicing occupational therapists prepare for advanced roles as master practitioners, occupational therapy educators, and advocates for clients and populations. In addition to the requirements listed above, candidates select elective courses related to their chosen specialization.
Towson University is located in Towson, Maryland. The public university was founded as a training school for teachers in 1866. Towson boasts the resources and excellent faculty of a large university, combined with the close-knit community of a much smaller school. One of the nation s top public regional universities, TU serves over 22,000 students and offers more than 100 academic programs. This includes an online Post-Professional OTD program.
TU s 33-credit Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate is part-time and can be completed in six consecutive semesters. The program is designed for working occupational therapists and covers advanced intervention and assessment, as well as in-depth knowledge of the systems, fundings, and mechanisms of healthcare from an OT perspective. Courses include:
Advanced Occupational Therapy Assessment Advanced Occupational Therapy Interventions Participation and Quality of Life in Communities and Populations Health Advocacy Across Service Settings Clinical Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
Candidates complete an individual capstone project related to their area of expertise. They take two courses per semester, with the ability to take classes online with on-site immersion experiences. Applicants must have a master s degree with an overall graduate GPA of 3.25. Licensure and certification in OT are also required.
An internationally renowned research university, the University of Alabama-Birmingham enrolls nearly 22,000 students. Thirteen of the school s graduate programs are ranked in the Top 25 nationally by U.S. News and World Report. In addition to excellence, the university is known for affordability. UAB strives to provide quality education at reasonable rates. One of the university s high-quality, low price programs is an online Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
The only program of its kind in Alabama, UAB s Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy prepares leaders in academia, advocacy, and healthcare for professional and community organizations. Candidates choose from a general track, Low Vision Rehabilitation track, or a Healthcare Quality and Safety track. The 40-credit curriculum includes courses such as:
Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Occupational Therapy Practice Leadership for Advanced Practice Excellence Advocacy and Healthcare Policy in Population Health Management for Advanced Occupational Therapy Practice Program Evaluation in Occupational Therapy
Applicants must have at least one year of clinical experience and a master s or bachelor s degree in occupational therapy. All students take the same core courses, then complete courses in their selected specialization or choose from general OT electives.
Also known as KU, the University of Kansas is a public research university in Lawrence, Kansas. It was opened in 1866 and currently enrolls 28,500 students. In total, KU has five campuses and a wide variety of online programs. The university is ranked one of the Best in the Midwest by Princeton Review and one of the nation s Best Value colleges by U.S. News and World Report. KU s online offerings include a Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Students in KU s Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program focus on specialization and professional leadership while continuing to work in the field. The innovative curriculum integrates core coursework and specialization opportunities to prepare graduates for leadership in their chosen areas of concentration. You can expect to take courses such as:
Occupation Based Practice Quantitative Evidence Program Evaluation Theory and Practice Professional Development
At least once during the program, candidates attend an annual on-campus meeting. Applicants must have registration or licensure in OT and a master s degree in any field. The four key components of the curriculum are Professional Leadership, Evidence Based Practice, Specialty Practice, and Teaching.
The University of Utah is the state s flagship university. Nicknamed The U, the school is located in Salt Lake City and enrolls over 31,000 students. It s one of the top 100 universities worldwide and offers nearly 200 academic programs. Through UOnline, students can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees from the University of Utah on their own schedule. One fully online option is a doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
The Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy accommodates students with either a Bachelor s or Master s degree, offering specific paths for both. The program provides OT professionals with a stronger and more current theoretical base, advanced leadership skills, and knowledge and skills in evidence-based research related to a chosen area of interest. Students design an individualized capstone project and complete a plan of study outlining how it will help meet his or her career goals. Courses include:
Contemporary Theories and Models in OT Practice Critical Analysis of Occupational Science Academic and Clinical Teaching in OT Culture and Occupation Program Development and Grant Writing
Applicants must have certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and a minimum of two years working in the field. Students with a master s degree complete a 36-credit program, while students with a bachelor s degree must complete an additional 24 credits.
A prolific public research university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison was established in 1848. UW currently enrolls more than 44,000 students and is sixth in the nation in research expenditures. The school has driven innovation and discovery in a wide range of fields. It s ranked among the Top 15 public universities nationally by U.S. News and World Report. UW offers an online Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is a part-time online program that takes three years to complete. Candidates develop an understanding of advanced leadership and practice skills, broaden their knowledge base, and learn to apply research to occupational therapy through courses like:
Advanced Practice in Inter-professional Contexts Application of OT Evidence in the Practice Environment Advanced Outcome Measurement in Occupational Therapy
UW s OT program is consistently ranked in the top 10 percent worldwide. Program candidates also complete capstone research and learn to utilize their new skills and knowledge to optimize their practice of occupational therapy. Graduates go on to leadership positions in the rapidly growing OT field.
Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked a Top 100 research university by the National Science Foundation and currently enrolls over 31,000 students. The school values innovation, diversity, and access. VCU offers more than 200 programs, including an affordable Occupational Therapy Doctorate.
VCU s Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program provides leadership development and advanced practical skills that prepare graduates to drive innovation and benefit occupational therapy and their communities. Coursework is part-time, and all students complete a Capstone Leadership Project related to their individual interests. Courses include:
Evidence Bases for Occupational Therapy Practice Program Development and Evaluation Developing Fundable Projects Leadership Applications for Occupational Therapists Concepts in Disability Leadership for Occupational Therapists
Candidates complete the Research/Scientific Foundations Core and Theory/Practice Foundations Core. These courses form pillars for the Leadership Core. Through this program of study, students learn to critically assess and integrate a critical framework while taking on a leadership role in the OT profession.
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