Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program Admissions Procedure Compiled October 31, 2019/ Revised April 09, 2021/ Revised January 2023
Rocky Mountain College will admit one new cohort of OTD students who will begin classes in January each year (30 students/cohort).
The 2024-2025 OTCAS WebAdmit cycle is now open! We admit students on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. Reminder: OTCAS conducts an annual maintenance period that occurs from approximately mid-June through mid-July. We encourage applicants to complete their application in OTCAS prior to or after the OTCAS maintenance cycle. We are incredibly excited about the 100% face-to-face learning opportunities our program offers. OT is about doing, and if you are a hands-on learner, this program is for you! Apply today! Feel free to contact Dr. Twylla Kirchen at email@example.com if you have additional questions.
To ensure that applicants are vetted based on their understanding of and passion for occupational therapy (OT) as well as their demonstration of technical skills, emotional intelligence, research mindset, fellowship and group interaction, and appropriate writing abilities, the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program at Rocky Mountain College (RMC) has established the following admissions procedures to be implemented by the established admissions committee.
The admissions committee consists of the program director and the RMC OTD Program faculty.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Once an application has been verified, a member of the admissions committee will notify the applicant through the OTCAS system that the application is under review.
The coordinator, a member of the Admissions committee, will notify applicants who have a GPA (general or pre-requisite) under a 3.0 that an appeal for extenuating circumstances may be considered. We offer a GPA waiver on an individual basis. The coordinator will inform the applicant that this process does not guarantee a GPA waiver, interview offer, or admission to the program. Once the waiver request is submitted to the coordinator, it will be presented to the admissions committee, who will review and discuss the waiver. The committee will then vote to either move forward with vetting the candidate or denying consideration to offer an interview for the program.
The coordinator will review and evaluate verfied applications and determine whether an interview will be offered. Applicants have the option of interviewing in person or via Zoom.
Final Applicant Evaluation
Once an applicant has completed their interview, the committee will get together to review notes and scores and holistically evaluate the applicant. The committee will then decide whether to grant the applicant a seat in a specific cohort year, put them on an active list, or deny them admission.
Graduates of Rocky Mountain College who have met all the requirements for admission and have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 60 credits earned at RMC will be granted an automatic interview. This interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
No advanced placement, transfer credit or credit for experiential learning may be applied toward fulfilling the RMC OTD curriculum.
The following information is available to potential applicants on the RMC OTD Program website (www.rocky.edu/otd).
- OTCAS opens: Mid-July annually
- NOTE: annual OTCAS maintenance occurs from approximately mid-June to mid-July. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to avoid the maintenance period.
- Application deadline: December 15
- Decision posted: Rolling Acceptance
- Classes begin: January
The following materials are required. (NOTE: meeting admissions criteria does not guarantee admission to the program).
- A bachelor’s degree is required prior to enrollment. Official transcripts from the degree-granting institution(s) must be sent to Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).
- A minimum of 3.0 overall GPA is required. However, the program admissions committee may grant a GPA waiver when presented with extenuating circumstances.
- Completion of all prerequisite courses. Prerequisite coursework may be completed during the admission cycle. Candidates should include any planned courses in OTCAS transcript section. Coursework must be completed by the time students matriculate into the program.
- Applicants taking prerequisite courses during the application cycle may submit unofficial transcripts and proof of enrollment. Applicants will not be able to enroll until official transcripts have been received verifying completion of prerequisite courses with a “C-” or better, and the required minimum GPA of 3.0, unless a GPA waiver is granted.
- Three references are required (submitted via OTCAS). It’s strongly encouraged to have one reference from an occupational therapist. Reference from a college professor who can attest to your ability to enter a competitive professional program is recommended, but not required. References from family members will not be accepted.
- Applications will be accepted online through OTCAS (www.otcas.org). The initial application fee is $145.00 and a $60.00 fee for each additional OT program application. Students must use OTCAS to submit an application to Rocky Mountain College.
- In addition to the OTCAS fee, a non-refundable program application fee of $45.00 is required.
The following materials are recommended, but not required. (NOTE: providing the additional materials does not guarantee admission to the program).
OT Observation Hours: 40 hours are recommended NOT required to explore occupational therapy as a career.
Introduction to Biology
Lab not required
Human or Vertebrate Anatomy
Lab not required but recommended
Human or Vertebrate Physiology
Lab not required but recommended
Recommended but not required
Introduction to Psychology
Lifespan Human Development (birth to death)
3 + *
More than one course may be required to fulfill the “birth to death” requirement.
A medical terminology certificate may be used to fulfill this requirement.
*Can be combined with Anatomy and Physiology for 8 credits. (NOTE: Anatomy and Physiology courses can be taken online).
Information on how to provide this information can be found on the OTCAS application form.
Essay: The OTCAS application form will require a brief personal essay describing why you selected OT as a career and how an occupational therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. The essay should be no more than 1500 words in length.
Transcripts must be received prior to the scheduled class matriculation date or class standing will be revoked. Failure to submit the mandatory transcripts or fulfill any other requirements specified in a conditional offer of admission to the program, prior to the scheduled class matriculation, will result in the withdrawal of the conditional offer.
In addition to initial submission through OTCAS, upon acceptance into the RMC OTD Program, any additional final official transcripts accounting for outstanding required coursework should also be mailed directly to:
Rocky Mountain College
Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102
The admissions committee will send invitations to selected candidates to interview. Not all applicants will be invited to interview. An interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
Rocky Mountain College is committed to providing courses, programs, services and facilities that are accessible to students with disabilities. To identify and provide the necessary support services as soon as possible, students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the disability services office as soon as possible after enrolling.
Students with disabilities are responsible for identifying themselves, providing appropriate documentation and requesting reasonable accommodations. Diagnostic services are not available through disability services.
Disability documentation needs to be submitted to, and approved by, the Disability Services Coordinator before any accommodations can be arranged.
The following documentation is needed to determine eligibility for modifications or accommodations:
- A detailed evaluation from a professional qualified to diagnose a disability. The evaluation should have been completed within the last three years. Evaluations may be from a licensed clinical psychologist, school psychologist, learning-disability specialist, medical doctor, and/or neuropsychologist;
- For learning disabilities, evaluations should include test results with composite and subtest scores for intelligence, reading, math, written language, processing skills, and speech and language when appropriate;
- A report that states the disability as a diagnosis; and
- A current IEP or 504 Plan with stated modifications and accommodations.
All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Coordinator
Rocky Mountain College
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102
Please see Disability Verification Form and guidelines for documentation of ADHD/ADD.
NOTE: some accommodations are not easily available at the graduate level, so it is important that candidates get their documentation to the Disabilities Services Coordinator as early as possible so the Coordinator can discuss individual academic needs.
NBCOT Testing Accommodations
The following information comes from the Overview portion of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Testing Accommodations Handbook:
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the NBCOT provides reasonable and appropriate Testing Accommodations (TA) for exam candidates with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to take the OTR [Occupational Therapist Registered] or COTA [Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant] certification examination An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g., caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, breathing, learning and walking).
In order to request TA for the OTR or COTA examination, exam candidates MUST have a documented disability as defined by the ADA. Having a diagnosed disability does not automatically necessitate testing accommodations.
English as a second language, computer anxiety, and test anxiety are not covered disabilities under the ADA. Pregnancy is also not a disability covered under the ADA; however, if the candidate is experiencing a resulting medical complication, TA may be considered. Candidates with a transitory or temporary condition (i.e., sprains, facture, or medical emergencies) who would like to request TA should contact NBCOT as soon as possible before the exam is scheduled to take place. TA requests are reviewed based on the candidate’s specific request, the nature of the disability and supporting documentation.
NOTE: all students enrolled in the RMC OTD Program will be required to take a preparation course exam for the NBCOT’s OTR certification exam prior to graduating from the Program. Upon graduation, alumni of the RMC OTD Program will need to take and pass the NBCOT OTR certification exam prior to practicing as a fully licensed occupational therapist.
Additional Program Requirements
After having been granted acceptance into the RMC OTD Program and prior to attending, students must provide:
- Provide documentation (in EXXAT) for immunizations required by each specific site at which the student is completing affiliations. This may include, but is not limited to; MMR, varicella, tetanus, and completion of the Hepatitis B immunization series. Students need to have an updated MMR booster. There may also be site-specific immunization requirements that will be communicated to the students, as they become known to the AFWC.
- Provide documentation of an annual TB test, administered & read by a licensed professional such as a registered or licensed practical nurse, physician or physician assistant.
- Provide a copy of a valid driver’s license.
- Provide verification of health insurance coverage for the duration of the FW.
- Maintain an active cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification for the duration of the fieldwork. If a student is at a pediatric site, they need to complete a pediatric CPR class as well.
- Complete Universal Precautions Training & HIPAA Training.
- Provide/complete proof of a criminal background check.
- Provide/complete a 10-panel clean drug screen.
- Some sites require additional background checks. It is the student’s responsibility to pay for additional background checks.
- Ensure necessary student health forms are on file.
- Annual Criminal background checksat student expense.
- Annual 10- panel Drug Screen at student expense.
- Signed Technical Standards document
- Proof of immunizations at student expense which include the following:
- TB test (annually)
- Flu shot or waiver (annually)
- Hepatitis B series
- COVID vaccination or waiver
- HIPAA training (annually-completed in program/courses)
Students who are unable to be fully vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons, must apply for vaccination waiver approval from the Direcor of Human Resources. Dr. Briggs is the point of contact in our program. It should be noted that a student who is not fully vaccinated may face clinical site options during FW I, II and capstone.
Complete the $1000 OTD Seat Deposit Form
- Proof of current health insurance at student expense.
- Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers certification at student expense.
- Any additional requirements as stated by specific health care agencies at student expense.
Students are required to upload all above additional requirements in their EXXAT profile and will be required to maintain current and updated documentation of all of these additional requirements thorughout the duration of the program.
NOTE: the RMC OTD Program admissions committee reserves the right to assess applicant qualifications on a case-by-case basis and adjust appropriate admission criteria when warranted by special considerations pertaining to applicant background and experience.
It is the applicant’s responsbility to:
- Keep the admissions coordinator informed of any changes in contact information. This must be done in writing (email is acceptable).
- Ensure the program’s receipt of all required application materials.
- If all prerequisite requirements have not been met at the time the candidate applies/interviews AND they are offered and accepts a seat in the RMC OTD Program, all courses must be completed before matriculation.
NOTE: failture to complete the program prerequisite courses with a grade of “C-” or higher prior to the matriculation date of the class for which application is being made will result in withdrawal of the seat offer.
Selection Process & Preferences
All completed applications undergo a preliminary selection screening process, which evaluates and awards admission points based upon the following program preferences:
- Past Academic Performance.
- Cumulative and prerequisite GPAs. A minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.0 is required to be a competitive candidate. A miniumum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 is required.
- NOTE: however, the RMC OTD Program Admissions Committee reserves the right to assess applicant qualifications on a case-by-case basis and adjust appropriate admission criteria when warranted by special considerations pertaining to applicant background and experience.
- Documented completion of all program-specific prerequisite courses before the scheduled class matriculation date. Students are required to provide evidence of the awarded Bachelor’s degree and completion of the program-specific prerequisite courses.
- Grade improvement in repeated courses.
- The GRE is recommended not required. A writing score of at least 3.5 is preferred.
NOTE: effective March 18, 2020, the GRE and in-person Anatomy and Physiology application materials are recommended not required.
Geographic Home: Applicants are awarded admissions locality preference points based upon the permanent address within the Program’s stated region (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North or South Dakota, Utah, or Idaho).
Personal Statements: Applicants are evaluated for their ability to express themselves in written communication as evidenced by the required personal statements.
Letters of Recommendation: The letter writer’s assessment of the applicant’s ability to be a future occupational therapist is the basis for this evaluation.
Applications are ranked according to the number of points awarded during the selection screening process. Those with the admission minimum-required score for a rolling admissions interview are immeidately invited to complete the second phased of the selection process: an interview conducted either in person or via Zoom.
Upon notification of acceptance to the RMC OTD Program, applicants will be required to submit a $1000 non-refundable admissions deposit. This deposit, which must be received within fourteen days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) of being notified of acceptance, will be applied toward the first Spring Semester tuition. If students are applying and admitted for a subsequent year, they must submit the Enrollment Verification Form and pay the seat deposit no later than 6 months prior to the start of the program.