the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy Program. The Occupational
Therapy program graduated its first class in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science
began offering a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree in the summer
of 2005 graduating our first MS class in 2007. The full-time
program includes two years of coursework on campus (including two summers)
followed by six months of level II fieldwork.
graduating from the program are eligible to sit for the national certification
examination administered by the NBCOT. After successful completion of the
exam, the individual will be credentialed as an occupational therapist,
registered (OTR). Most states require a license to practice occupational
therapy. State licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT
Certification Examination and additional open-booked testing on the state
law. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to take the
NBCOT certification exam or to obtain state licensure. Please feel free to explore our website in order to learn about the
program, admissions, and the profession. If you would like additional
information please send us an email.
In its simplest terms, occupational
therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want
and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities
(occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping
children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social
situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and
providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive
changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:
Occupational therapy services may
include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments
(e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training
in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the
focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an
integral part of the therapy team.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, employment of Occupational Therapists is expected to grow 29% from
2012-2022, considerably faster than the national average for all occupations.
To learn more about the current employment outlook please visit – Bureauof Labor Statistics
The mission of the University of
Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy program is to graduate entry level occupational
therapist leaders who are committed to providing excellent occupation centered,
client-centered, evidence-based occupational therapy. There are five curricular
threads that flow from this mission. These threads form the basis of the curriculum
design: foundational science, research skills, professional
identity/leadership, clinical skills, and theory.
Foundational science forms the basis
of scientific reasoning. Courses dealing with the structure and function
of the human body and how it moves form the building blocks of understanding
how occupational performance is affected by disease and developmental
delays. The rigorousness of these courses and the scientific reasoning
used in them gives students a solid foundation to mindfully apply the
occupational therapy process. These foundational science courses occur in
the first year of the curriculum, however students are asked to apply
foundational science concepts in other coursework, including fieldwork, to
explain the “science” behind treatment interventions, to justify evaluation and
intervention choices, etc.
Research skills are needed to
approach everyday occupational therapy practice with scholarly rigor. Learning
the skills and rigor of evidence-based practice (EBP) helps students develop
professional reasoning (Coster, 2008). An evidence-based practitioner has
the tools to make ethical and effective evaluation and intervention choices.
The coursework in this thread includes content that helps student develop the
skills needed to be an evidence-based occupational therapist. It is
important to note that EBP applications are woven into other courses, including
fieldwork, to promote application of EBP concepts in different treatment
contexts and with different populations.
encompasses how students implement their skills and knowledge as a student and
a therapist. The coursework in this thread emphasizes collaborating in
teams, assuming leadership roles, internalizing a strong professional identity,
demonstrating ability to practice with minimal supervision, valuing life-long
learning, and supporting/ promoting the profession of occupational
therapy. Therapeutic use of self, multicultural sensitivity and
professional behaviors are strongly emphasized throughout the coursework and
all fieldwork experiences.
Clinical skills include the
knowledge and skills that occupational therapists use to make decisions at each
step of the occupational therapy process. Courses in this tread include focus
on occupational performance problems encountered by various populations in
different practice settings (both current and emerging) as well as assessment
and intervention options.
Theory provides guides for
understanding practice situations, considering assessment and intervention
options, selecting the intervention, timing and method of delivery (Coster,
2008). Occupational therapy theories are covered in the clinical skills
thread in context with populations and practice settings. The coursework
in the theory thread requires higher level thinking.
of Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy Program graduates will:
The Occupational Therapy program is
accredited 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 is 30 months long and
includes 6 months of full-time Level II fieldwork. Students must complete
Level II fieldwork within 24 months of the completion of the didactic portion
of the curriculum in order to graduate. Graduates of the program will be
eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational
therapy 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. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit
for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Occupational Therapy educational
programs are periodically reaccredited to maintain the quality of the
program. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy
Program was last accredited in 2008 for seven years.
While in the program students
complete three level 1 fieldwork experiences in the areas of mental illness,
adult physical disabilities and pediatrics.
Fieldwork I placements may be in a variety of clinics, hospitals and
community based settings. Additionally,
upon completion of the academic portion of the program, students complete two
twelve week Fieldwork II experiences, one during the summer and one in
fall. Students must complete Level II
fieldwork within 24 months of the completion of the didactic portion of the
curriculum in order to graduate.
Students work closely with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator to select
the best placement settings for these experiences. The program strives to find FW placements
that will fit the student's learning style, provide a solid foundation for
entry level therapy, and are sensitive the interests of the individual
In order for students to be better
prepared for their Level II Fieldwork experiences, they participate in a
"hands-on laboratory" during their final two semesters of
coursework. Under the supervision of
licensed occupational therapists, students will experience "live client
interaction" as they practice the occupational therapy process with community
members (both adults and children) who have volunteered to be a part of the
Please be aware that a felony charge
may affect your ability to obtain fieldwork placements and/or sit for the board
We are pleased to report that the
UW-L student pass rate on the National Board for Certification of Occupational
Therapy (NBCOT) is excellent. The last
three years of examination results are noted in the table provided below.
A comparison of NBCOT pass rates for occupational therapy programs around the
country can be found at this link: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx
test takers who passed the exam
of first-time test takers who passed the exam
percent of students who passed the exam (includes retakes)
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA | 608.785.8000
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