Occupational TherapyAbout the Profession
Occupational therapy is a health profession that promotes life-long health and well-being of individuals, groups and communities through engagement in occupation. The primary objective embodied within the concept of “occupation” is the practitioner’s use of activities meaningful to the client within his own particular environment. Hence, occupational therapy services are provided within the contexts of activities of daily living, education, work, play, leisure and social participation. Practitioners provide services to individuals to increase their daily function, enhance/support health and development, prevent disability through promotion of effective performance skills within environments, and use of adapted tasks meeting their individualized abilities and needs.
Practitioners work with persons of all ages and cultural backgrounds whose independence has been impacted by physical and/or mental injury or illness, developmental or learning disabilities, or adverse environmental conditions. Occupational therapy services are provided in a variety of settings, including general and psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centers, intermediate care facilities, nursing homes, individual’s homes, school systems, community centers and agencies, and private practice. Occupational therapists function as clinicians, educators, consultants, researchers and administrators. Services to individuals, families and communities include: evaluation and treatment planning and implementation; assessment of home, work and community environments; training in the use of adaptive equipment; community needs assessment and program planning; and referral to appropriate follow-up services.
The Division of Occupational Therapy, one of the five Divisions within the School of Allied Health Sciences, was established in 1989. In its 1988-1993 strategic plan, the State of Florida identified the need for an increased number of allied health practitioners in the rapidly growing state. Consistent with the mission of the university and the State of Florida, the Division has conferred more than 200 baccalaureate degrees in occupational therapy. The last class of undergraduate students received their baccalaureate degrees in 2006. The division has now transitioned to an entry-level master’s degree program from which the first student graduated in 2007.
Humans are complex and active beings whose development is dependent upon participation in occupations. This participation is context dependent and involves the whole person. Humans continually adapt as they grow. When this adaptation process is interrupted, occupational therapy utilizes occupation to facilitate change and renewal.
We believe students should develop a solid base of knowledge that facilitates critical thinking, clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills, all of which are essential to transition from student to competent occupational therapy practitioner. Recognizing that all interventions must be focused on client priorities, we emphasize client-centered evaluation and intervention. We believe that occupation shapes health and that human beings grow and develop through occupation to participate fully in life with engagement in occupation as a critical outcome of the occupational therapy process.
The curriculum is designed to provide students with an educational experience which focuses on a modified problem-solving philosophy of education and general concepts about adult learners. This process acknowledges that skills must be achieved and maintained through research in a self-directed independent manner; foundational knowledge is best retained and applied when learned in a meaningful context of practice problems; and graduate education must respect the uniqueness of individuals and honor a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and learning styles that enhances the richness of the graduate experience.
The Mission of the Division of Occupational Therapy at Florida A&M University is to:
- Offer students a curriculum designed to create an environment that nurtures intellectual growth and scholarship through interactive and thoughtful discourse, self-directed learning and development of links between faculty and professionals to establish collaborative community partnerships.
- Prepare entry-level occupational therapists equipped with skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to demonstrate excellence with care in all professional practice contexts.
- Prepare entry-level practitioners capable of serving as leaders and contributors in an ever evolving society.
- Promote critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills to further knowledge of occupational science and the efficacy of occupational therapy practice, research and education.
- Prepare students to become skilled practitioners who provide occupational therapy services aimed at promoting health and wellness and at enabling individuals’ meaningful and satisfactory participation in life activities.
- Graduate students who are prepared to embrace life long learning concepts that reflect current theory, evidence-based practice ,and an understanding of individuals from different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
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
P.O. Box 31220
Bethesda, MD 20824-1220
Effective April 17, 2011, the accreditation status of the Occupational Therapy program was changed to Probationary Accreditation for noncompliance with Occupational Therapy Master’s-Level Standard A.5.4, which states “the average total pass rate of OT master’s program graduates taking the national certification exam for the first time over the three most recent calendar years must be 70% or higher.” Probationary Accreditation is an accreditation category. During a period of Probationary Accreditation, the program is listed as being accredited and students are eligible to take the national certification examination.· NBCOT Certification Results
For the three most recent calendar years (2009, 2010, and 2011) the performance of the graduates of the occupational therapy program was as follows:
Total number of program graduates 38
Total number of first-time test takers of NBCOT exam 31
Total number of first-time test takers who passed 11
First-time test taker percentage pass rate 35%
Total pass rate for all test-takers 77%
Most of our graduates are employed as occupational therapists. Recent surveys of employers rate our graduates as good or excellent employees and therapists!
Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP)