RMC OTD program approved to admit inaugural class

BILLINGS, August 17, 2018 – In January 2019, Rocky Mountain College will inaugurate its first ever doctorate program, as it welcomes the first class in the occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program. This week, the college received Candidacy Status approval from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) to admit the inaugural class of 2022. 

The OTD program will prepare students to become practitioners, educators, and researchers who promote the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals, communities, organizations, and populations.

The ACOTE reviewers noted several strengths of the new program, including a strong fit with the needs of the community, demonstrated support and commitment from College leadership, and highly qualified faculty.

Twylla Kirchen, Ph.D., OTR/L, returned to Rocky Mountain College earlier this summer to launch the program, which was announced by Provost and Academic Vice President Dr. Stephen Germic in January 2018.

"The approval from ACOTE was critical. It builds on the program’s incredible momentum and strengthens recruiting for the inaugural class and beyond," Dr. Kirchen noted. 

The new OTD program will require 115 credit hours to be completed over three academic years. The mission and curriculum design of the program reflect the community and align with the area’s economy.

Occupational therapy is a rising profession, especially within the Rocky Mountain region. It is the goal of the OTD program to not only educate students within the program, but also to educate local constituents about the role of occupational therapy in community health.

RMC’s OTD program will be housed on the  third floor of the new Dr. Charles Morledge Science Building, which was constructed earlier this year. The facility will include classroom space and learning laboratories complete with kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom spaces that replicate the field conditions that future occupational therapists will face. Currently three faculty members, Dr. Kirchen, Dr. Kalyn Briggs and Tomeico Faison, CEO, MS, OTR/L, are preparing for the January start of the program. Over the course of the next few months, additional faculty members will be added. 

"We congratulate Dr. Kirchen on this important accreditation milestone," said RMC President, Dr. Robert Wilmouth, "this program symbolizes the continued evolution of Rocky Mountain College and our growth in helping to meet the health care needs of our region."

Dr. Charles Morledge Science Building