Degree Overview

The Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) degree is a full-time, entry-level program designed to provide students with fieldwork experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. You are required to attend all classes and clinicals in person at our Phoenix Biomedical Campus. This is not a post-professional program.

Successful graduates of the OTD program will become leading practice-scholars in the field.

The OTD curriculum emphasizes:

  • psychosocial change through a holistic approach to individuals and population issues
  • promoting quality of life in self-care, productivity/work, play/leisure and rest/sleep
  • addressing physical, emotional, and social aspects of working with client of all ages
  • promoting health through the interaction between the individual and environmental demands and expectations
  • course work that reflects client-centered engagement in meaningful activities

At this time, the occupational therapy program only offers a doctorate degree, as hiring trends point to a growing demand for OTDs.


NAU has acquired ACOTE recognized developing program status:

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation 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

In summer 2013, the NAU Department of Occupational Therapy applied for and was given OTD Developing Applicant Status (Step 1) through the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). On January 15, 2014 the NAU Department of Occupational Therapy submitted its candidacy application to ACOTE and anticipates a reply from ACOTE regarding its candidacy status in May 2014.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with accreditation procedures for developing academic programs throughout the application, admissions and matriculation processes. For more information on the accreditation process please review this letter from ACOTE. NAU agrees to be transparent in all communication with prospective students regarding our accreditation status and welcomes questions regarding our developing program.

Once accreditation of the program has been obtained, 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. 

Students must complete all graduation, fieldwork, and experiential component requirements in a timely manner. Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.