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 (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 acoteonline.org. 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.
The accreditation process, which takes approximately two years, is designed to start before the first class of students enters the program and completed before the first class graduates. The first cohort of students will begin class in the fall of 2014.
Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.
ACOTE Accreditation Process for New Programs
To ensure commitment to the development of quality programs and to review the potential viability of an applicant occupational therapy educational program prior to the admission of the first class of students, all new programs seeking accreditation by ACOTE are required to apply for Candidacy Status as the first step in the three-step accreditation process for new programs.
The following are the three steps of the accreditation process for new programs.
Step 1 – Application Review
For new programs, the process begins with submission of the Candidacy Application. Upon review of that Application, ACOTE grants, defers action on, or denies Candidacy Status. Although the designation “Candidacy Status” is not a guarantee of accreditation, it does indicate that the resource allocation and plan for development of the proposed program appear to demonstrate the ability to meet the ACOTE Standards for a Doctoral-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist, a Master’s-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist, or an Associate-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapy Assistant if fully implemented as planned. Candidacy Status must be granted before students may be admitted or notified of admission to the program and is required in order for the program to proceed to Step 2.
Step 2 - Initial Review
If Candidacy Status is granted, the program may admit its first class of students and proceed to the second step of the process, the initial review. In this step, the program assesses its compliance with the ACOTE Standards and submits an initial Report of Self-Study. Upon review of this report, ACOTE grants, defers action on, or denies a Letter of Review. The granting of a Letter of Review indicates that on the basis of the paper review of the submitted materials, ACOTE has determined that the program is likely to meet the applicable ACOTE Standards if fully implemented in accordance with its plans. The granting of a Letter of Review is not a guarantee of accreditation status.
Step 3 – Initial On-site Evaluation
In the third step of the process, ACU will prepare a self-study of the OT program. Then, ACOTE will plan an initial on-site evaluation conducted by a two-member team. The team will prepare a report of on-site evaluation, upon which ACOTE decides if the MSOT program is likely to meet accreditation standards. If ACU is given a favorable on-site evaluation, the first class will participate in fieldwork in January 2016 and the first class will take the accreditation exam in September of 2016.
Read ACOTE’s Letter to Prospective Applicants