The Students Before Profits Award was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line. For our 2016 Online Master’s in Occupational Therapy award winners, we compiled a ranking of online and hybrid/low-residency programs from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities and have ranked the programs according to their affordability.
Occupational therapeutic post-acute care, which takes place in the home, rehabilitation settings, and skilled nursing facilities, was the largest and fastest-growing category of Medicare spending from 1994-2009. In 2017, occupational therapy, as a profession, will celebrate 100 years of service in providing science-driven, evidence based resources and care to address society’s needs in a globally connected and diverse workforce. As OT becomes a more specialized field of health care, professional clinicians and scholar leaders with increasingly advanced knowledge and skills to drive the field forward are needed. Head therapist positions in the field of Occupational Therapy are specialist positions which typically require at least a Master’s degree. These flexible online programs of study will greatly increase working therapists capacity to attain high level positions without the need to interrupt their current work.
Most programs included here are fully accredited both at the university level as well as at the specialized level of OT by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association. While we believe the programs included here that do not have this specialized accreditation to be high quality programs of study capable of advancing students in their career path’s, the many OT positions may require students to hold a degree from a program holding this accreditation. If considering a non ACOT accredited program, we advise prospective students to thoroughly research the field of employment they will likely enter upon graduation to ensure that the degree will provide needed qualifications.
Note that tuition rates listed below are based on cost per credit and individual programs may have additional fees.
#1. Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes University is a university located in Osford, England established in 1865 as the Oxford School of Art. OBU enrolls over 17,900 students and has been ranked among the top 500 universities in the world by multiple international publications.
The Master of Science in Contemporary Occupational Therapy offered through Oxford Brooks University is a distance learning program designed for UK, EU and international occupational therapists. The program emphasizes contemporary occupational therapy practice and theory and is open to students who possess a professional occupational therapy qualification who have at least 6 months of post registration experience working as an occupational therapist. The program can be completed in as little as 12 months of full-time study and consists of six graduate level modules and an original research project equivalent to 3 modules of credit.
Accreditation: Oxford Brookes University is an officially recognized university in the UK which is the equivalent of regional accreditation in the United States. The programs in Occupational Therapy are recognized by the College of Occupational Therapists (on behalf of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
Tuition: £13,460 ($14,743)
#2. University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis is a private nonprofit university located in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Established in 1902, the university offers associate’s, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees, and enrolls more than 5,400 students. In addition to programs offered through its main campus, the University of Indianapolis also offers degree programs through partnerships in China and Belize.
The Masters in Health Science degree program offered through the College of Health Sciences at the University of Indianapolis provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully negotiate the intricacies of healthcare environments. The MHS program has a strong clinical emphasis, including an appreciation of research evidence to support best practice. Students select a practice area concentration of either neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, or upper extremity and hand rehabilitation. The Online/Hybrid course sequence format allows students to be off-campus through most of the program. 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Indianapolis is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. U of I also holds specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
#3. Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University is a public university located in Denton, Texas. The university is coeducational, and while men are admitted into all programs offered, TWU is best known as being the largest state-supported university for women in the US. TWU was founded in 1901 and is an independent public institution, not affiliated with any of Texas’ university systems. Today, TWU enrolls over 15,200 students.
Texas Woman’s University Department of Occupational Therapy offers a Masters of Occupational Therapy Bridge program structured for practicing certified occupational therapy assistants who have a minimum of one year practice experience, hold a bachelors degree in any major from an accredited institution, and who have completed specified undergraduate prerequisite coursework. The MOT Bridge program is delivered online and in weekend on site sessions on the Denton campus and requires 40 months for completion. 33 credits are required for completion of the program.
Accreditation: Texas Woman’s University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs in OT are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
#4. A.T. Still University
A.T. Still University is a private nonprofit graduate university established in 1892 focusing on health sciences as well as the world’s first osteopathic medical school. The university is located in Kirksville, Missouri with a second campus located in Arizona and includes six schools and colleges offering programs in osteopathic medicine, dentistry, occupational therapy, and health management. A.T. Still University enrolls over 3,300 students.
A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences offers an online Advanced Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program designed to advance students in their occupational therapy practice, making a difference in their professional development as well as in the lives of the people they impact. This post-professional Masters degree program in is designed for practicing occupational therapists already holding an entry-level degree in occupational therapy. The program requires a minimum of 42 quarter (28 semester) credits for completion.
Accreditation: A.T. Still University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The OT program is recognized by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
#5. Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg State University is a public university located in Pittsburg, Kansas. Founded in 1903 as the branch of the State Normal School of Emporia, Pittsburg State has since grown to a comprehensive university enrolling over 7,200 students in degree programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through four colleges.
Pittsburg State University’s Master of Science in Health, Human Performance, and Recreation is offered as an online program of study. This program is designed to prepare students for careers in the field of sports, physical education, wellness and recreation. Students select from three areas of emphasis: General, Human Performance and Wellness, and Sports and Leisure Service Management. The Human Performance and Wellness or Sport and Leisure Service Management emphases require an internship as part of their degree program. A minimum of 32 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Pittsburg State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#6. Concordia University—Wisconsin
Concordia University is a private liberal arts university founded in 1881 and affiliated with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. CUW enrolls over 7,900 students and offers over 130 degree programs and certificates at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level.
The online Transitional Master’s of Occupational Therapy program is designed for practicing occupational therapy assistants with at least one year of experience, but students can enter the program at different levels determined by career experience. Students will gain a breadth of experience in designing rehabilitation programs and interventions for a wide variety of clients and desired outcomes. Approximately 67 credits are required for completion of the degree. Occupational Therapy Assistants looking to earn both their Bachelors of Science in Rehabilitation Science and their Masters of Occupational Therapy can do so through Concordia online.
Accreditation: Concordia University Wisconsin is regionally accredited through the North Central Association for Colleges and Schools. The MOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
#7. Trinity Washington University
Trinity Washington University is a private Roman Catholic University located in Washington, D.C. Trinity Washington’s College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate programs are for women only, while the School of Education and School of Professional Studies admit both men and women at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school was established in 1897 and received university status in 2004. TWU enrolls approximately 2,100 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of academic disciplines.
The Master’s in Occupational Therapy program offered at Trinity Washington University is designed to prepare students for entry-level practice while meeting the needs of working and non-traditional students. The program utilizes a blended-learning format that combines weekend classes, structured online learning, and community placements. Classes meet eight times a semester and emphasize active learning, skills practicums, and case-based problem-solving. Online instruction, including lecture, directed reading, and discussion, is used to deliver basic and advanced content, and concurrent clinical placements in diverse practice settings provide opportunities for observation and supervised practice. The program requires 69 credits for completion and involves five semesters of full-time study, followed by two 12-week full-time Level II field work placements.
Accreditation: Trinity Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
#8. Shenandoah University
Located in Winchester, Virginia, Shenandoah University is a private comprehensive university enrolling approximately 4,000 students. The university was founded in 1875 as “Shenandoah Seminary” for the training of Methodist ministers in the region and has since grown to encompass seven schools offering over 90 programs of study. Shenandoah University still retains its affiliation with the United Methodist Church and is one of five such affiliated institutions in Virginia.
Shenandoah University’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is delivered in a hybrid format, with much of the content delivered online. Students attend classes on campus one day per week and fieldwork experiences are completed on non-campus days and during normal working hours. Additionally, students are expected to engage in hands-on experiences in their home communities as directed by faculty. The learning model requires students to think critically and act professionally in independent, interpersonal and community-based problem-solving experiences. Graduates of this program enter the field as skilled and compassionate occupational therapists, serving a diverse range of patient populations in a variety of health care and community-based settings. 75-credits are required for completion of this Master’s degree.
Accreditation: Shenandoah University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The MOT program is recognized by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education.
#9. Belmont University
Belmont University is a private, nonprofit university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the largest Christian university and the second largest private university in the state of Tennessee enrolling over 7,200 students. Belmont was established in 1890 and has since grown to encompass seven colleges offering 75 academic majors with 20 master’s and four doctoral programs.
Belmont University’s Gordon E. Inman College of health Sciences & Nursing offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in an accelerated format combining intensive weekend classes in Nashville once each month with an online component supplementing classroom activities. This is a demanding full-time program that builds on the education and skills that OTAs and PTAs working with occupational therapists have already accomplished. A minimum of 75 credits are required for completion of the program and can be completed in six semesters of full-time study.
Accreditation: Belmont University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
#10. Bay Path University
Bay Path University is a private, nonprofit university located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Bachelor’s degree programs at Bay Path are strictly for women, while master’s programs are coeducational. The university was founded in 1897 as the Bay Path Institute and achieved university status in 2000. Bay Path enrolls over 2,300 students and offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that focus on hands-on application of course work.
Bay Path University’s Master of Occupational Therapy Bridge program is an accelerated path for a licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant or Physical Therapy Assistant to earn a Master of Occupational Therapy degree while continuing to work in the field. Our Bridge Program provides heightened focus on evaluation, as well as, treatment. The program is offered in a blended format, with online content coupled with on-site experiences approximately every other weekend. Depending on the student’s entry point (Associate’s Degree or Associate’s & Bachelor’s Degree) the program will consist of 67 to 98 credits.
Accreditation: Bay Path University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.