Occupational Therapy

Course Catalog: Occupational Therapy

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program at Rocky Mountain College prepares clinicians, educators, researchers and future leaders in the profession through engaged, experiential and evidence-based educational opportunities to expand knowledge about the health benefits of occupation and translate that knowledge to various therapeutic settings.

Accreditation
The Rocky Mountain College entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and was granted Candidacy Status on August 14 , 2018, by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is: www.acoteonline.org.

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, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The Letter of Intent to offer an entry-level OTD at RMC was submitted to ACOTE (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education) in January of 2017. The ACOTE Candidacy Application was submitted in April 2018. ACOTE granted the Rocky Mountain College OTD Program Candidacy Status on August 14, 2018. The first class of students began course work in January 2019. The initial Report of Self-Study is due in July 2020 and the ACOTE pre-accreditation decision will be received in December 2020. The initial on-site ACOTE evaluation will occur between April and July of 2021, and the ACOTE accreditation decision will be released in August of 2021.

Character Review and Eligibility to sit for the NBCOT Exam
All students should review the requirements for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) prior to applying to the OTD program (https://www.nbcot.org/). Applicants should view the Character Review (http://www.nbcot.org/character-review-process) to determine need for a character review prior to admission to the OTD program. Qualified candidates identified as requiring a Character Check by the NBCOT will be required to complete an Early Determination Review prior to admission to the OTD Program. A student may be conditionally accepted into the program with a spot held for the student and admission is granted upon a positive review in which the student would be eligible for certification by NBCOT. This will ensure students do not enroll in the OTD Program and if they are ineligible to take the national board exam to become a registered occupational therapist. Students are also required to review state licensure laws prior to admittance to determine eligibility for licensure upon completion of the OTD program and successful completion of the NBCOT Examination.

For current accreditation status and additional program information, see program website at www.rocky.edu/otd.

Instructional Themes

Student instruction in the RMC Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program is predicated on the following concepts (instructional themes):

  • Student self-directed learning
  • Interactive lectures provided by experts
  • Clinical application training sessions
  • Interdisciplinary seminars focused on community-based programming and practice, leadership and use of clinical reasoning skills
  • Problem-solving based on clinical reasoning/reflection
  • Research skill development
  • Teaching skill development
  • Community-based program development
  • Advocacy and policy development
  • Appreciation for diversity/social justice and understanding of cultural, social, physical and virtual contexts and their impact on occupational performance
  • Synthesis of theory and evidence to guide occupation-based, client centered occupational therapy services for individuals, groups and communities
  • Fostering life-long learners who are committed to promoting the profession through engagement in state and national occupational therapy associations

Didactic instruction on the assessment and intervention of individuals with deficits in areas of occupation is based on a developmental continuum. The knowledge and skills developed in the first year of the program establishes the groundwork for all didactic and clinical experiences that will follow.

Fieldwork (also called affiliations, placements or internships) is an integral part of the curriculum with three level I fieldwork courses offered in the curriculum. Level II Fieldwork cannot begin until the student has successfully completed all previous program coursework. A student has 24 months to complete Level II Fieldwork (two 12-week placements) once his or her didactic coursework is completed). The capstone project is completed the semester following the successful completion of two 12-week Fieldwork II rotations. The Doctoral Experience or Capstone Project is a 14-week requirement that must be completed in order to meet graduation requirements.

Program Outcomes

The first cohort of RMC OTD Program students began classes in January 2019 and will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam in 2022, pending ACOTE program accreditation approval. Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) will be found online at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.

Curriculum Overview

The OTD program is a 9 semester, 3 year on-campus program.

Year 1 - Introductory Courses - 42 credits
Year 2 - Evaluation and Intervention Courses - 43 credits
Year 3 - Level 2 Fieldwork/Clinical Rotations and Capstone Experience - 30 credits
Total Credits: 115

Program Requirements

Year One
Spring Semester (17 credits)
OTD 500: Introduction to Occupational Therapy (3)
OTD 502: Theoretical Approaches in Occupational Therapy (2)
OTD 504: Functional Anatomy and Movement Sciences (6)
OTD 506: Development and Disability Across the Lifespan (3)
OTD 508: Seminar Series 1: IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship (3)

Summer Semester (10 credits)
OTD 510: Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy (4)
OTD 512: Activity Analysis in Occupational Therapy (2)
OTD 514: Occupational Performance Across the Lifespan: Assessment and Evaluation (4)

Fall Semester (15 credits)
OTD 516: Understanding Children as Occupational Beings (4)
OTD 518: Occupational Science and Research I (3)
OTD 520: Level 1 Fieldwork I: Pediatric Placement (1)
OTD 522: Assistive Technologies in Occupational Therapy (4)
OTD 524: Seminar Series 2: IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship (3)

Year Two
Spring Semester (17 credits)
OTD 600: Understanding Adults as Occupational Beings (4)
OTD 602: Level 1 Fieldwork II: Adult-based Placement (1)
OTD 604: Occupational Science and Research II (3)
OTD 606: Community-based Program Development in OT (3)
OTD 608: Seminar Series 3: IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship (3)

Summer-Semester (9 or 11 credits)
OTD 612: Management and Policy Development (3)
OTD 614: Leadership in the Profession of Occupational Therapy (3)
OTD 616: Teaching Practicum I (3)
OTD 626: Professional Development Portfolio (Subcohort A) (2)

Fall-Semester (15 or 17 credits)
OTD 618: Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (4)
OTD 620: Level 1 Fieldwork III – Mental Health/Psychosocial Placement (1)
OTD 622: Teaching Practicum II (3)
OTD 624: Seminar Series 4: IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship (3)
OTD 626: Professional Development Portfolio (Subcohort B) (2)
OTD 628: Clinical Reasoning and Evidenced-based Practice (4)

Year Three
Spring-Semester (9 credits)
OTD 700: Level 2 Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy I (9)

Summer-Semester (9 credits)
OTD 702: Level 2 Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy II (9)

Fall-Semester (12 credits)
OTD 704: Doctoral Practicum (10)
OTD 706: Practicum Evaluation and Dissemination (2)

OTD 500 - Introduction to Occupational Therapy

Semester: Spring; Year one
Semester hours: 3

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of occupational therapy practice through use of the Official Documents of the American Occupational Therapy Association and other evidence-based sources. The fundamentals introduced are: practice definitions, philosophical and ethical underpinnings, professional roles and organizations, the clinical reasoning process, and an introduction to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework--OTPF 3rd Edition (Process and Domain). The course emphasizes professional behaviors and values required for best-practice, evidence-based OT services.


OTD 502 - Theoretical Approaches in Occupational Therapy

Semester: Spring; Year one
Semester hours: 2

In this course, occupational therapy practice is examined through theoretical constructs. A historical framework is used to examine the development of earlier frames of reference as well as current conceptual practice models. This course emphasizes concepts integral to the understanding and use of human occupation as a basis for practice, as well as the dynamic relationships among occupational therapy principles, values and theories.


OTD 504 - Functional Anatomy and Movement Sciences

Semester: Spring; Year one
Semester hours: 6

This course covers the anatomy of the human body relevant to occupational therapy practice, including the skeletal system, muscle tissue, the muscular system, and the cardiovascular system. Basic components of motion, biomechanics, joint structure, specific muscle groups, and muscle function are addressed. Students will learn the basic components of palpation, joint structure and the study of kinematics, and will analyze functional activities necessary to carry out the tasks and roles of productive living using these principles.


OTD 506 - Development and Disability Across the Lifespan

Semester: Spring; Year one
Semester hours: 3

This course explores normal growth and development principles, theories, and their influence on occupational performance across the lifespan. Lifespan roles and all domains of development are presented. This course focuses on the importance of human occupation in relation to work/productivity, leisure/play and activities for daily living. The importance of maintaining balance between performance areas, fulfilling expected and desired social roles, and environmental impact are explored. The course emphasizes the influence of cultural, personal, temporal, social, virtual and physical contexts. This course will also cover the most common medical conditions seen by occupational therapists throughout the lifespan. Students are encouraged to become life-long learners and to research best-practice, evidence-based treatment approaches. Pharmacology is discussed as it relates to specific conditions, impact on therapy, side effects, precautions and indications of medication usage.


OTD 508 - Seminar Series 1 - IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship

Semester: Spring; Year one
Semester hours: 3

This is the first course in a four-part series that forms the cornerstone of the RMC OTD Program. The series promotes inter-professional education, facilitates an understanding of rural culture and agriculturally-based communities through an occupational therapy lens, and introduces core concepts of teaching and learning, leadership, advocacy and entrepreneurship, in order to prepare students to become OT educators and practitioners in both traditional and non-traditional settings.


OTD 510 - Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy

Semester: Summer; Year one
Semester hours: 4

This course explores neuroscience and its correlation with diseases and disabilities specific to OT practice. Current evidence will be used to understand and synthesize function and dysfunction of occupational performance in clients across the lifespan. Various experiential learning strategies and techniques will be used to understand various neurological conditions. Course content will also be linked with OT theories and frames of reference to facilitate student understanding of evidence-based practice in occupational therapy within the neuro-rehabilitation setting.


OTD 512 - Activity Analysis in Occupational Therapy

Semester: Summer; Year one
Semester hours: 4

Activity analysis of meaningful activities and occupations are explored and documented using professional terminology from the OTPF-3rd Edition. Therapeutic approaches related to the teaching/learning process are incorporated. Analysis of occupational performance skills and the transaction between client factors, activity demands and contexts are emphasized.


OTD 514 - Occupational Performance Across the Lifespan: Assessment and Evaluation

Semester: Summer; Year one
Semester hours: 4

Fundamentals that support occupational performance through evaluation and assessment across the lifespan are examined. This course will focus on understanding the components of evaluation, including reliability, validity, and other parametric qualities applicable to all areas of occupational performance throughout the lifespan. Topics will include standardized and non-standardized assessments and the clinical reasoning processes related to assessment and evaluation. Students will use various experiential learning techniques related to evaluation and assessment, with a specific emphasis on therapeutic use of self, which is a philosophical foundation to OT practice.


OTD 516 - Understanding Children as Occupational Beings

Semester: Fall; Year one
Semester hours: 4

This course focuses on occupational performance of young children (infants, toddlers and preschoolers), school age children, and adolescents with disabilities. Theories and principles of normal development are used as a baseline for identifying the impact of illness, injury, or environmental factors on occupational engagement. Various frames of reference and evaluative and intervention approaches for children and families in medical, home, community and educational settings are examined. A holistic approach is presented for the purpose of developing a child’s abilities to engage in their occupations while meeting expectations of family and environment.


OTD 518 - Occupational Science and Research I

Semester: Fall; Year one
Semester hours: 3

In this course, the history and basic concepts of occupational science are examined and students become familiar with literary work that supports occupational science. The basic steps of the research process are addressed, including problem definition, literature review, design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings. The course also covers qualitative and quantitative research approaches, critical analysis of literature, and a review of statistical concepts. Students are required to identify a research question, and prepare and submit a grant and an IRB proposal related to a specific line of scholarly inquiry. Students are introduced to the capstone project and asked to consider a potential focus area.


OTD 520 - Level 1 Fieldwork I - Pedriatric Placement

Semester: Fall; Year one
Semester hours: 1

In this fieldwork experience, classroom learning is enriched through directed observation and participation in clinical practice settings. Experiences are supervised by professionals working in one of a variety of clinical settings (e.g., early intervention, schools, clinics, hospitals, etc.). Placements are arranged to complement the intervention courses. Level 1 fieldwork experiences prepare students for the more complex Level 2 fieldwork clinical experiences.


OTD 522 - Assistive Technologies in Occupational Therapy

Semester: Fall; Year one
Semester hours: 4

This course focuses on the evaluation, activity analysis, and intervention process related to using assistive technology in OT practice. Course content includes software, hardware and low-tech devices/strategies, and focuses on adaptation of activities and contexts to maximize patient/client function and independence.


OTD 524 - Seminar Series 2 - IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship

Semester: Fall; Year one
Semester hours: 3

This is the second course in a four-part series that forms the cornerstone of the RMC OTD Program. The series promotes inter-professional education, facilitates an understanding of rural culture and agriculturally-based communities through an occupational therapy lens, and introduces core concepts of teaching and learning, leadership, advocacy and entrepreneurship, in order to prepare students to become OT educators and practitioners in both traditional and non-traditional settings.


OTD 600 - Understanding Adults as Occupational Beings

Semester: Spring; Year two
Semester hours: 4

This course examines young, middle, and older adults as occupational beings. Students are exposed to a variety of clinic and occupation-based assessments used to evaluate common adult-based conditions. Students develop and implement intervention plans across the continuum of care. This course promotes evaluation and treatment of functional disability for adults in clinical and natural environments and focuses on occupational performance, while considering client factors, tasks and context. Application of knowledge, clinical reasoning, theoretical practice models, and cultural and contextual issues in evaluating and planning treatment are emphasized throughout the course. Best-practice documentation skills are applied to a variety of adult-based practice settings, and standardized patients are used to evaluate student learning.


OTD 602 - Level 1 Fieldwork II - Adult-based Placement

Semester: Spring; Year two
Semester hours: 1

In this fieldwork experience, classroom learning is enriched through directed observation and participation in adult-based clinical practice settings. Experiences are supervised by professionals working in one of a variety of clinical settings (e.g., hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home-health, mental health agencies, etc.). Placements are arranged to complement the intervention courses. Level 1 fieldwork experiences prepare students for the more complex level 2 fieldwork clinical experiences.


OTD 604 - Occupational Science and Research II

Semester: Spring; Year two
Semester hours: 3

In this course, readings from a broad range of interdisciplinary research such as occupational science, psychology, education, medicine, sociology, etc. are used to critically analyze various research approaches and methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The goal of this course is to understand how theory, scientific knowledge and practice are interrelated. This course also examines efficacy/intervention research that impacts health, development and social participation. Students continue to work on the research question identified in Occupational Science and Research I. Data collection is completed, analyzed and interpreted. Students submit research findings to a peer-reviewed journal or present at a state or national conference. By the conclusion of this course, students must identify a topic of interest for the capstone project and an advisor is assigned.


OTD 606 - Community-based Program Development in OT

Semester: Spring; Year two
Semester hours: 3

This course prepares students to develop a community-based program within a variety of geographical regions, and including both urban and rural environments. Emphasis is placed on the importance of being an OT entrepreneur and advocate, in order to grow the profession of occupational therapy and meet the occupational needs of all human beings. Students will learn the importance of conducting a needs assessment as well as strategies for developing, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of a program. Ideas for program development from a variety of perspectives are explored, including potential for evaluation of processes and outcomes, social and clinical indicators of need, asset mapping, and potential impact of the program. The roles of key stakeholders, regulatory bodies and evaluators, development and use of program theory, and dissemination of evaluation results for improvement of programs and policies are emphasized. This course will explore the possibility of using telehealth to meet the OT needs of underserved populations.


OTD 608 - Seminar Series 3 - IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship

Semester: Spring; Year two
Semester hours: 3

This is the third course in a four-part series that forms the cornerstone of the RMC OTD Program. The series promotes inter-professional education, facilitates an understanding of rural culture and agriculturally-based communities through an occupational therapy lens, and introduces core concepts of teaching and learning, leadership, advocacy and entrepreneurship, in order to prepare students to become OT educators and practitioners in both traditional and non-traditional settings.


OTD 612 - Management and Policy Development

Semester: Summer; Year two
Semester hours: 3

This course uses case study analysis and real-world application to promote an understanding of the importance of effective management skills within the context of occupational therapy services.
Students develop an understanding of federal and state legislation and regulations and the various contexts of service delivery in occupational therapy practice. Students evaluate contemporary policy issues, including trends in occupational therapy settings. Principles of reimbursement systems and their impact on occupational therapy are analyzed.


OTD 614 - Leadership in the Profession of Occupational Therapy

Semester: Summer; Year 2
Semester hours: 3

The purpose of this course is to empower students to become leaders in the profession of occupational therapy. Course topics include: organizational leadership, leadership styles, effective communication, civility in the workplace, and the importance of embracing diversity. Students explore concepts of change in practice, community, organizational, political and social action contexts. Students identify and engage in leadership opportunities on campus, within the community, and/or in state and national organizations.


OTD 616 - Teaching Practicum I

Semester: Summer; Year two
Semester hours: 3

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of teaching and learning as it applies to the development, implementation and evaluation of occupational therapy course content and/or patient/family educational programs. Students have the opportunity to enhance learning in one or more of the following ways: assisting OT faculty members with developing a specific lecture for the first-year program, creating a continuing education workshop under the supervision of a designated OT faculty member, assisting with the development of a patient or family education program, providing a staff in-service while in partnership with a licensed occupational therapist, etc.


OTD 618 - Occupational Therapy in Mental Health

Semester: Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 4

This course provides students with a fundamental knowledge of adolescent and adult-based psychosocial/mental health evaluations and interventions required to support adaptation and participation in occupation. The course focuses on enhancing student knowledge of core and specialty practice settings, mental health diagnoses, medications, stigma and stereotyping. Students become familiar with the process of planning and implementing a mental-health-based, occupational therapy group.


OTD 620 - Level 1 Fieldwork III – Mental Health/Psychosocial Placement

Semester: Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 1

This fieldwork experience enhances classroom learning about occupational performance of adolescents and adults who present with psychosocial or mental health concerns and increases student knowledge of clinical reasoning and conceptual practice models used in the mental health practice settings. Level 1 fieldwork experiences prepare students for the more complex level 2 fieldwork clinical experiences.


OTD 622 - Teaching Practicum II

Semester: Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 3

This course builds on the student learning obtained in the Teaching Practicum I course. Student understanding of the scholarship of teaching and learning is enhanced by examining the evaluation of teaching outcomes from Teaching Practicum I. Students revise the course or training as needed and implement and re-evaluate the learning outcomes. Students develop a measure to evaluate and analyze teaching and learning outcomes over time and propose how data analysis results could inform OT educators or practitioners about best teaching and learning practices in occupational therapy.


OTD 624 - Seminar Series 4 - IPE, Occupations of Agriculturally-based Communities, Introduction to Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship

Semester: Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 3

This is the final course in a four-part series that forms the cornerstone of the RMC OTD Program. The series promotes inter-professional education, facilitates an understanding of rural culture and agriculturally-based communities through an occupational therapy lens, and introduces core concepts of teaching and learning, leadership, advocacy and entrepreneurship, in order to prepare students to become OT educators and practitioners in both traditional and non-traditional settings.


OTD 626 - Professional Development Portfolio

Semester: Summer; or Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 2

This course is designed to promote student development of a capstone project that will enhance clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, and/or education. The course is guided by a contract written by the student and approved by a faculty member who serves as the student’s capstone advisor. During this course, the student develops a professional portfolio, which guides the capstone experience at the conclusion of the program. Half of the cohort will take this course in the summer and the other half will take the course in the fall.


OTD 628 - Clinical Reasoning and Evidenced-based Practice

Semester: Fall; Year two
Semester hours: 4

This course is designed to prepare students to provide best-practice, occupation-based and evidence-driven OT services to persons with occupational performance limitations. This course incorporates case studies to develop clinical reasoning skills and examines evidence-based evaluation and treatment options. Case studies integrate content and therapeutic approaches from previous courses. This course provides an overview of evidence-based practice (EBP) and various levels of evidence. Students develop practice questions, gain an understanding of available resources and analyze existing evidence. This course emphasizes the practical application of EBP and promotes best practices in occupational therapy.


OTD 700 - Level 2 Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy I

Semester: Spring; Year three
Semester hours: 9

The purpose of this level 2 fieldwork experience is to provide students with an introduction to full-time occupational therapy practice within a clinical setting. Students gain experience in delivering occupational therapy services to a variety of individuals across the lifespan in a variety of settings. This course enhances interpretation of previously learned skills and knowledge through clinical reasoning and reflective practice. This level 2 fieldwork experience prepares students for entry-level, occupational therapy practice (Part 1 of 2).


OTD 702 - Level 2 Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy II

Semester: Summer; Year three
Semester hours: 9

This level 2 fieldwork placement builds on clinical work experiences in OTD 700 and expands student experience in delivering occupational therapy services to a variety of individuals across the lifespan in a variety of settings. This course promotes interpretation of previously learned skills and knowledge through clinical reasoning and reflective practice. The goal of this clinical experience is to allow students to increase professionalism and competency to that of an entry-level occupational therapist (Part 2 of 2).


OTD 704 - Doctoral Practicum

Semester: Fall; Year three
Semester hours: 10

This practicum provides practical leadership opportunities and advanced skills in one or more areas of interest in clinical practice, administration, research, program or policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development. This course implements a previously proposed, developed and approved capstone project. Student completes 540 practicum hours.


OTD 706 - Practicum Evaluation and Dissemination

Semester: Fall; Year three
Semester hours: 2

This course consists of a practicum evaluation and dissemination of the results of the doctoral practicum experience. This course includes the compilation and analysis of practicum outcomes and the interpretation and application of findings/outcomes. Students are required to disseminate capstone project outcomes via written publications and/or verbal presentations.


  • Twylla M. Kirchen, Associate Professor, Director of OTD Program
  • Judith Melvin, Associate Professor
  • Kalyn Briggs, Assistant Professor
  • Kerry Mader, Assistant Professor
  • Delisha Patel, Assistant Professor, Director of Research