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General Program Information

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
  • customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
  • an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.  (AOTA, 2019. What is Occupational Therapy? )

What is the difference between an entry-level doctoral occupational therapy program and a masters-level program?

Currently, both master and doctoral degree levels are routes of entry to the profession and are accredited by ACOTE. Both degree levels prepare graduates to be entry-level practitioners. The doctoral degree offers additional semesters of study focusing on clinical practice skills, evidence-based practice, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. Both degree levels require Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. In addition, entry-level doctoral students must complete an additional experiential component (16 weeks) and culminating project. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate prepares students for autonomous and independent practice in a changing environment, as well as allows for increased flexibility to participate in various practice settings.

Frequently asked questions about the entry-level master’s and doctoral degrees for occupational therapists (Reprinted in part from American Occupational Therapy Association, 2015)

How long is the program at Presbyterian College?

The program is a full-time, 36-month curriculum. There are part-time tracks, or online version of the program. Classes are typically Monday through Friday from 8 am-8 pm and clinical rotation schedules are based on the hours of the clinic in which the student is assigned. The program has one start date a year, January.

Can I transfer Credits to reduce the number of courses I have to take?

No. Classes are taken as a single cohort and there is no advanced standing or transfer credits permitted for the program.

You state you are a church related program, Christian based College. Do I need to be a Christian to attend the College?

No. We have people from many faiths that attend our College and we welcome everyone to the campus and enrollment at Presbyterian College. Our college does have a strong Christian faith-based component and as such, there are many religious ministries available on campus. Presbyterian College is committed to nurturing an inclusive environment that fosters mutual respect for all members of our campus.

Does the OTD program provide health insurance?

No. Students are required to maintain their own health insurance for the duration of the program.

Can I work while I am attending the OTD Program?

This is a rigorous graduate program, and students are strongly discouraged by the program from working while enrolled. There are a number of evening and weekend activities as well as the demands of the program that may not permit time for employment. Students are not allowed to work for the PC OTD Program.

Admissions

What is the minimum GPA?

You will need a minimum of 3.0 for your overall GPA and a 2.8 math/science GPA, but we expect that most accepted students will surpass this minimum. In addition, all prerequisite courses must reflect a “C” or better to be accepted.

Do I have to have a bachelor’s/baccalaureate degree to apply to the program?

Yes, and it can be any major as long as you complete the pre-requisite coursework before matriculating into the program.

Is Healthcare experience required for admission to the program?

No. but we do ask that you shadow an OT for 40 hours in two (2) different settings that provide OT services to clients (Psychology, Out-patient, pediatrics, adult etc…).

Do I need a laptop for the program and or any other technology that maybe required?

Students will be expected to provide a laptop and smartphone or other devices with the capabilities to download medical applications.

Is a deposit required?

Yes, there is a deposit of 1,000.00 dollars to hold your seat in the class you apply for once accepted.

Can I defer my acceptance to the program and be placed in a future class?

Offers of acceptance are valid for the current entering class only. However, deferrals can be addressed and each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Is it possible to be accepted if I have a criminal record?

All prospective students must be honest about their criminal record. Background checks will be performed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and CastleBranch. Presbyterian College OTD Program has the right to deny enrollment based on previous convictions or false information. Appeals to any information found during the background check or drug screen must be made directly through CastleBranch according to their listed policies and procedures. All cases will be reviewed individually. Note: a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure, this should be explored prior to the application process. The school cannot guarantee a student with a felony can sit for the national examination or receive state licensure.

When should I have my materials into OTCAS to meet the deadlines set?

OTCAS recommends having your application completed 4-6 weeks prior to the deadline. You may complete your application later but you risk further delays in processing and this could jeopardize your admissions status. Rolling admissions will be used and it is beneficial to apply early.

Does the program require the GRE?

Yes, The GRE is required; however, there is no minimum GRE score. GRE scores will be sent directly to OTCAS system from ETS. Presbyterian College GRE code is 2176.

Will you review my application before it is complete?

No. An application will not be reviewed until it is made available to us as a complete, verified application by OTCAS. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact OTCAS directly to verify the receipt of all application materials by OTCAS and the current status of his/her application.

Do I need to have all the prerequesites complete in order to apply to the program?

No. Each prerequisite course must, however, be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or higher prior to December 31, before matriculation into the OTD program in January. You must maintain the required overall GPA and Math/Science GPA while completing the prerequisite work or admission will be denied. You must indicate on the OTCAS application which courses you still need to complete and the terms in which you plan to complete them.

What if I do not have my prerequisite coursework completed by the time of matriculation?

If the prerequisites are not complete by December 31st before matriculation into the OTD program in January, you will not be permitted to enter the program.

Am I able to take prerequisite courses at another college of community college?

Absolutely, as long as the college is regionally accredited in the United States. You are also permitted to take prerequisite courses through online classes if the college/university is accredited.

Is there a supplemental Application for admission to the OTD program?

Yes, there is an application form that is needed to be filled out and a fee of 35.00 dollars.

How many references do I need to send with my OTCAS Application?

Send three reference forms, one from the occupational therapy practitioner who supervised volunteer or work experience. The second and third references should be provided by major advisors or professors.

Clinical Work

How many clinical experiences are there in the OTD Program?

There are 7 total; 4, level 1 experiences (usually 1 week in length), 2, level 2 experiences (12 weeks in length), and a doctoral experience (14 – 16 weeks in length). The level 2 and Doctoral experiences are the last year of the program for a total of 40 weeks.

What is fieldwork experiences?

Fieldwork education is an integral component of the occupational therapy curriculum that provides students the opportunity to integrate didactic learning with clinical experience. The development of a students is dependent on guided observations and clinical interactions that combine critical thinking and the performance of clinical skills allowing students to become an entry-level occupational therapy practitioner.

How are the clinical experiences scheduled and location?

The Director of Clinical Education and OT faculty will consult with students to identify available clinical sites that best fit each student. Choosing clinical sites requires significant consideration of the various factors that can affect students including but not limited to personal attributes, academic and clinical abilities, financial resources, specific practice interests, availability of living accommodations, and location preferences. Students should be willing and prepared to participate in clinical education at locations other than South Carolina. The clinical experiences take place during both the didactic (Level I Fieldwork) and clinical education (both level II and the Doctoral Experience) portions of the curriculum There is a limited availability of clinical sites and educators qualified to supervise students. The program makes no guarantee that PC OTD students will be given their desired choice of clinical placement, particularly in the state of South Carolina. The program will send out requests to our contracted locations and see what is available and will have a drawing for the placement sites for level 1. The same is true for the level 2 sites, but we will attempt to put you in a place you want to go to based on the availability and a list you will provide during the school year of our contracted sites. Doctoral experiences are usually done based on student interest and we will assist in finding and contracting with the necessary groups to have a successful placement. Usually, facilities for Level 2 and the Doctoral experience are nationwide.

Are there costs that are associated with clinical education?

Yes, students should be prepared for costs beyond tuition, fees, and books for clinical education. Costs related to clinical education relate to compliance and credentialing (CPR, drug screening, vaccinations, and other facility requirements), clothing/uniforms, food, housing, transportation, etc. because students may need to travel beyond the local area or even away from SC for Level I/Level II and your doctoral experience.