Founded in 2000, Sacred Heart University’s Graduate Occupational Therapy Program was the first in Connecticut to meet the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education’s (ACOTE) requirement that all entry-level occupational therapy education programs award a post baccalaureate degree. The occupational therapy program is housed within the College of Health Professions along with physical therapy, speech-language pathology, athletic training, exercise science, healthcare informatics, and physician assistant studies graduate programs. Sacred Heart University is Connecticut’s only university that offers educational programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology; the three core rehabilitation professions considered critical to restoration of patient’s functioning. Occupational therapy participates with the other College of Health Profession’s programs and the College of Nursing to provide students with distinctive interprofessional learning opportunities that replicate the treatment team. Located just 55 miles from New York City in beautiful Connecticut, the area offers a wide variety of clinical and employment opportunities as well as exceptional recreational and cultural activities.
The College of Health Professions and the College of Nursing will move into a new Center for Healthcare Education building in early summer 2017. The new building includes state-of-the art laboratories such as occupational therapy sensory integration and pediatric laboratory, a fully-equipped home suite inclusive of a room-to-room lift tracking system, a Drive Safety driving simulator, a human cadaver laboratory, an audiology laboratory, simulation laboratories replicating hospital and ambulatory care settings, a motion analysis laboratory, a musculoskeletal laboratory, and a human performance laboratory. The building also includes a flexibly designed team-based learning auditorium allowing for a traditional auditorium audience with the capability to instantly transform and create eleven, collaborative work group tables, each with its own LCD monitor.
Our superb faculty include authors, recognized scholars, advocates, and expert practitioners. Year after year, program evaluation results identify faculty excellence, availability, and relationships with students as our most outstanding outcome. Sacred Heart University graduates perform extremely well on the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam. Also see Outcomes and Assessments.
The master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy is fully accredited through 2016/2017 (see Certificate of Accreditation) under the “Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist—2006” 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 is 301-652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org The program has refined its curriculum to comply with ACOTE’s 2011 Standards that went into effect July 2013. The program’s next ACOTE reaccreditation site visit is scheduled for July 2017.
For more information on Program Accreditation.
Why Occupational Therapy at SHU?
Sacred Heart University, located in Fairfield, Connecticut, offers an entry-level, master’s degree program in occupational therapy (MSOT). This graduate program is for people with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than occupational therapy. The program prepares students to master entry-level clinical practice skills and develop beginning-level skills in leadership and scholarship in occupational therapy.
The curriculum design is highly unique, utilizing a developmental approach and strongly reflecting a philosophy of humanism, service to others, and community-based practice.
The program allows students to develop their skills in a progressive sequence throughout the curriculum under the guidance of experienced faculty and practitioners.
The curriculum utilizes problem-based learning (PBL), incorporating small group tutorials led by expert faculty members, designed to bridge course content with practice by having students actively engage in the clinical reasoning process through case studies.
Students are provided with a strong educational background to address the spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs of their clients to design occupation-based interventions that enable clients to participate in their own work, school, play, home, society, and community lives.
The curriculum incorporates fieldwork, community-based practice, and service learning opportunities where students actively use clinical reasoning in the design of assessment and intervention strategies based on evidence, leadership, supervision and management, research and entrepreneurship.
The program actively prepares students to develop proactive and entrepreneurial skills in marketing occupational therapy services and program development in new practice areas. Faculty/student/practitioner collaborations and mentorships are structured into the program to facilitate this unique undertaking.
Dr. Jody Bortone, chair of the
Occupational Therapy Department, &
Professor Heather Miller Kuhaneck took
the first year master of science in
occupational therapy students on a field
trip to KidAbilities, an outpatient
occupational therapy clinic
that specializes in Ayres Sensory Integration
Faculty pursue continued development in evidence-based, engaged, team-based, and digital pedagogies, which they have implemented throughout the curriculum.
The faculty systematically seek students’ feedback about the program and tracks student learning outcomes through graduation. For information on progression, retention, graduation rates, please see our Outcomes and Assessment data.
Throughout the program’s growth, the faculty have maintained their commitment to the mission of creating an intimate and engaging culture. This has been accomplished through the use of faculty-student ratios appropriate to the teaching/learning strategies in each course, regular student advisement, mentored small group work, an open door policy regarding office hours, and faculty availability outside the classroom.
Faculty embrace the College of Health Professions’ commitment to interprofessional education and collaborate with the other College of Health Professions’ programs in Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Physician Assistant Studies, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Health Science and Healthcare Informatics, as well as the College of Nursing and the Social Work Programs, to involve students in interprofessional education activities.
- The program lives its mission and belief that learning emerges from interactions among students, faculty, and staff. Program outcomes indicate that student-faculty relationships and available and excellence of faculty are consistently its most outstanding outcomes.
NBCOT Pass Rates
For information on our NBCOT pass rates, view the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) program data results.
Information about Accreditation
The Occupational Therapy program is fully accredited through 2016/2017 (see Certificate of Accreditation) under the “Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist–2006” 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. The curriculum has been refined to meet the revised 2011 ACOTE Standards that went into effect July 31, 2013.
For more information, contact:
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE)
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449.
Tel: 301-652-AOTA (2682)
Graduates of the program are 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). Most states, including Connecticut, require licensure in order to practice; however, most initial state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.
Please note that a felony conviction might affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT exam or attain state licensure.
State-by-State Occupational Therapy Licensure
All 50 states and the jurisdictions of Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico have licensure laws for occupational therapists. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website provides links to state regulations regarding qualifications and licensure, continuing competency requirements, regulations, supervision, and telehealth.
AOTA provides a list of the states that offer temporary licensure to graduates from ACOTE accredited programs who have not yet passed the NBCOT exam.
AOTA’s Student Guide to Registration and Licensure offers a self-directed “tour” for graduates seeking information on the NBCOT exam and obtaining state licensure.
SHU Breaks Ground on Center for Healthcare Education
June 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart University broke ground today on a new building to house its Colleges of Health Professions and Nursing. Located at 4000 Park Avenue in Bridgeport, the Center for Healthcare Education will be three stories comprising 117,000 square feet on 8.7 acres. “Like the recently completed Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center, the new Center for Healthcare Education will provide our students with all the latest technology used in their future professions,” says SHU President John J. Petillo. “The expanded space and updated equipment will offer new opportunities for learning and ensure that they graduate well prepared to make their mark in the booming health-care industry.”
Seven Faculty Members Awarded Tenure
June 2, 2015
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart University’s faculty was celebrated recently at the University’s annual Faculty Reception. During the ceremony, University Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna announced that seven faculty members have been awarded tenure by the Board of Trustees. They are Kwamie Dunbar of Oxford, Anna Greer of Bridgeport, Dawn Melzer of Trumbull, Heather Miller-Kuhanek of Southington, Patrick Morris of Norwalk, Christopher Kelly of Hamden and Mary Treschitta of Fairfield.
Promoting Global Health Awareness Through Hands-On Training
November 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – When you get Christina Gunther talking about international study-abroad opportunities provided through Sacred Heart University’s College of Health Professions, the conversation quickly moves from travelogue and course listings to social justice, unique hands-on training and life-altering experiences. Gunther, director, Global Programs & Assessment, isn’t just an advocate—she’s a coach, mentor, diplomat, social worker, international tour director and global healthcare champion. And she’s working to change the world, one student, one country and one cultural experience at a time “with a talented group of faculty.”