The Louisiana Board of Regents voted unanimously today to approve the creation of the first Doctorate of Occupational Therapy in Louisiana. This vote follows unanimous approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors at their April board meeting.
The first class will be admitted in May of 2022 with the last admission to the current Master’s of Occupational Therapy occurring in May of 2021. The first graduates of the doctoral OTD will occur in May of 2025. At that time, graduates will be eligible to sit for the national licensure examination, the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Our Occupational Therapy program has had a 100% pass rate on the NBCOT for the past ten years.
The creation of this doctoral program will eliminate the need for Louisiana students to pursue this advanced degree out of state and allows pursuit of specialized practice areas and expanded faculty and research opportunities. “We are proud to be trailblazers in the state of Louisiana for excellence in academic opportunities that are meaningful and relevant to our citizens. The leadership and commitment of our OT faculty to develop and implement this advanced OTD program will produce an enduring impact on the future students and our communities,” said Sharon Dunn, Dean of the School of Allied Health Professions.
Occupational therapy is a high demand field as reflected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projection of a 17.9% employment growth for occupational therapists between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 23,700 new jobs are predicted to become available. According to US News, these positions are not only in demand but provide a meaningful career as occupational therapy is #28 in the top 100 most desirable jobs in the US.
Currently occupational therapists are playing a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic as OT’s are instrumental in helping patients regain the ability to perform the daily activities necessary for self-sufficiency and independence. Occupational therapists also address barriers that occur due to the social and emotional issues resulting from being quarantined.