20 Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Occupational Therapy

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Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Occupational Therapy Badge

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.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Occupational Therapy

Rank School Location
1 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
2 Boston University Boston, MA
3 Brenau University Gainesville, GA
4 Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA
5 Concordia University Wisconsin Mequon, WI
6 Creighton University Omaha, NE
7 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
8 Governors State University University Park, IL
9 Indiana University Indiana, PA
10 Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
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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.

Let’s look at a few career options and the median salary for each, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Occupational Therapist: $83,200
  • Medical research scientist: $82,090
  • Medical/health service manager: $98,350
  • Health specialties professor: $122,890

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
  • PayScale
  • U.S. News and World Report
  • Princeton Review
  • 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.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  • Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  • Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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
    Location

    Gainesville, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  • Concordia University Wisconsin
    Location

    Mequon, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  • Creighton University
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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 University
    Location

    University Park, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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 University
    Location

    Indiana, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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 University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

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