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OTD Program Officially Accredited

Billings, Mont., August 20, 2021 – On behalf of its Program Director Dr. Twylla Kirchen, Rocky Mountain College’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is pleased to announce the program is officially accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). After receiving Candidacy Status on August 14, 2018, from ACOTE, the program welcomed its first, inaugural class of 30 students in January of 2019. The program was notified of official accreditation on August 20, 2021. ACOTE voted to Grant a Status of Accreditation for a period of seven years, the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an occupational therapy program.

The OTD Program at Rocky Mountain College, through interdisciplinary therapeutic approaches and community engagement, empowers students to address critical local and regional needs while in the program, so in the future they may excel in addressing needs wherever their degree takes them. The program currently has and will continue to have three cohorts of up to 30 students at any given point in the academic year. The next cohort to join the program will begin in January of 2022, being the first cohort to begin with the program accredited. The program itself is three years long. The first two years focus on academic content taught in person on campus, and the last year is off campus across the state and nation to complete their didactic portion, which includes two Level 2 Fieldwork rotations and the implementation of their Doctoral Capstone Experience project and dissemination.

Students were enrolled prior to official accreditation so the program was able to submit an initial Report of Self-Study in May of 2020, with pre-accreditation granted in December of that year. The initial on-site ACOTE evaluation occurred virtually in May of this year, having revealed five areas of strength. Throughout the entire accreditation process, starting back in January of 2017, no areas of concern have been reported by ACOTE.

Billings, the largest medical center in an 800-mile radius, is also the hub for educational interactive video technology, distance medical conferencing, and referrals from rural hospitals and clinics throughout the intermountain region. There are many designated health professional shortage areas, including occupational therapy, leading many Montanans seeking rehabilitative services to face access barriers. The presence of Rocky Mountain College’s OTD program will help meet the needs of Montana and its residents.

The first class of students will graduate from the program this November. They will have six months after their grades matriculate in January of 2022 to sit for their National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam.

To learn more about the OTD program, visit rocky.edu/otd.