The University of Central Arkansas Department of Occupational Therapy earned reaccreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education for the occupational therapy master’s degree program. A memorandum announcing the accreditation was sent to the department in August.
The master’s program already had received a 10-year accreditation, but the curriculum changed starting this fall. With the change in curriculum, the department needed to request approval and accreditation.
“The purpose of this accreditation is to determine whether the occupational therapy educational program meets the appropriate approved educational standards for a redesigned program implemented this fall. This curriculum redesign was proposed to effectively meet the 2011 Accreditation Standards for a Master’s Degree Entry-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist that became effective July 2013,” said Jennifer Moore, interim chair and associate professor, Department of Occupational Therapy.
The redesigned program changes the current program from a combined bachelor/master of science program to a fully graduate level curriculum. The revised program enables a more efficient delivery of entry-level occupational therapy education. The length of the redesigned master’s curriculum decreased from nine-and-a-half semesters to six semesters.
ACOTE mandates that entry-level degree educational programs for the OT prepare practitioners to effectively perform as direct care providers, as well as serve as consultants, educators, managers, researchers, and advocates for clients they serve in the current and projected health care environment.
Moore said, “The change enables us to be consistent with national trends and competitive with programs in similar institutions. Additionally, having a fully graduate entry level program will facilitate the feasibility and development of a doctoral degree in occupational therapy.”
The mission of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education is to foster the development and accreditation of quality occupational therapy education programs. As an autonomous entity, ACOTE establishes rigorous standards for occupational therapy education at multiple degree levels, thereby supporting the preparation of competent occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. ACOTE will continually evaluate its functions to serve as a model for ethical, accountable, and efficient practice, and acknowledges occupational therapy’s contribution to promoting the health and participation of people, organizations, and populations through engagement in occupation.