Four OT students discussing the layout of a room during a lab exercise
Graduate & Professional | In-Person

Occupational Therapy Doctorate, OTD

Become a clinician and join a rewarding healthcare profession! Learn to help others flourish through meaningful occupations and activities.

Why choose the OTD program at Belmont? 

Belmont OTD has a long history of success as a program. We are fully accredited through ACOTE and our NBCOT pass rate is consistently high. The OTD program is part of a dynamic interprofessional college of health sciences providing many opportunities for collaboration.

You will engage with a robust faculty team who represent various practice areas and specialties. Several faculty hold advanced certifications in pediatrics, seating and mobility, aging in place and assistive technology. Explore emerging practice areas such as pelvic floor health and primary care.

While studying at Belmont you will engage in service to the community with your faculty and peers. International service opportunities are also offered through Immersive mission trips and Level II fieldwork.

Enhance your leadership skills through active participation in our student organizations, BSOTA, and COTAD. Both organizations advocate for the profession and those we serve while honoring diversity, equity and inclusion.

You will join a vast network of Belmont OT alumni who are making a difference in their communities as entrepreneurs, professional leaders, researchers, advocates and educators!

What You'll Learn 

  • You will learn to advocate as a professional for the occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services.
  • You will experience broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • You will achieve entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education.
  • You will acquire the ability to plan and apply occupational therapy interventions to address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts and environments to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life.
  • You will become lifelong learners who keep current with and contribute to evidence-based professional practice.

The Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program at Belmont University is designed to help you develop expertise across four central themes: Clinical Reasoning and Practice Application; Leadership; Service; and Scholarship.

Today’s healthcare and wellness initiatives require occupational therapists to be well equipped to meet the diverse needs of their consumers and evolving industries. As leaders in the profession, you will be called upon to help shape the profession, to help design and deliver programs, to create new innovations, and to build on current practice.

This program will take you from a generalist skill level to an area of advanced practice of your choosing. Your educational journey starts out with a cohort of OT classmates and faculty that supplement your learning. The fieldwork coordinator works closely with you to select the best fieldwork I and II settings to integrate classroom learning with clinical skill development. The advance practice selection will be guided through faculty, fieldwork coordinator, and supervisors input as well as an expert mentor that will work closely with you during your residency or Capstone experience after all coursework is completed.

In the final semester students complete their Capstone Experience. Successful completion of the Capstone depends on the student's ability to integrate the four curricular themes of Clinical Reasoning and Practice Application, Scholarship, Service and Leadership to affect a positive social change.

The Capstone is an integral part of the program’s curriculum design and includes an in-depth experience in one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development.

Guided advisement and reflection is started in the student’s first semester. Coursework and faculty mentorship facilitates the student‘s creation of a learning plan tailored to their values, interests, and goals and contributes to the student's development of both generalist and advanced skills in occupational therapy. A faculty mentor and expert mentor will supervise and assist the student during the Capstone to successfully complete their individualized learning plan.

As a requirement of the doctorate of occupational therapy degree, students will complete a 14 week (560 hour) Capstone project. The student must successfully complete all didactic coursework, fieldwork I and II’s, as well as a competency prior to proceeding to the Capstone. Fieldwork hours cannot be applied towards the Capstone hours.

Students must complete their Level II fieldwork and Capstone within 24 months of completing their didactic coursework.

Capstone Projects

View the Belmont Digital Repository OT Collection

Two students working together at a counter in an OT Lab

Career Possibilities

  • Occupational Therapy Practitioner
  • Educator
  • Researcher
  • Entrepreneur
  • Advocate

Program Details

The depth and breadth of the OTD program is designed to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of an occupational therapy general practitioner.

The curriculum provides broad exposure to current practice settings and emerging practice areas. Students are educated in the use of occupation to provide therapeutic intervention for individuals and groups of all ages through in-depth exploration of evidence-based literature and Level I fieldwork opportunities. Through completion of a series of courses related to scholarship, students collaborate to develop and complete a culminating research project. Finally, students learn to synthesize advanced knowledge in a practice area through Level II fieldwork and the completion of an advanced Capstone Experience.

Students must successfully complete all Level II Fieldwork assignments and the Capstone experience of the program within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the OTD degree program. In all cases, all graduation requirements including didactic academic coursework, fieldwork and the Capstone experience, must be completed within 6 years (72 months) of starting the OTD Program.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program (Year 1)

Fall Semester - Year 1: 18 Hours
Spring Semester - Year 1: 18 Hours
Summer- Year 1: 6 Hours
Year 1 Total: 42 Hours

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program (Year 2)

Fall Semester - Year 2: 17 Hours
Spring Semester- Year 2: 21 Hours
Summer Year 2: 9 Hours
Year 2 Total: 47 Hours (48-53 hours with electives)

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program (Year 3)

Fall Semester - Year 3: 9 Hours
Spring Semester - Year 3: 10 Hours
Year 3 Total: 19 Hours

Total Program: 108 Hours (109-114 with electives)

Fieldwork education is designed to provide occupational therapy students with opportunities to integrate academically acquired education with practice. It is during the fieldwork experience that the student can learn, practice and refine skills of observation, evaluation, treatment planning, implementation and communication. In the fieldwork setting the student begins to define his or her future roles as a practicing occupational therapist and can develop the necessary self-confidence and effective characteristics essential to meeting the demands for this challenging field. Fieldwork provides many opportunities for feedback which promotes professional behaviors and attitudes and clinical expertise.

Fieldwork is an integral part of the education of an occupational therapist. Fieldwork must occur in an environment that provides experiences which reinforce previous learning and which challenge and motivate the student to develop professionally and adapt to clinic situations.

The School of Occupational Therapy coordinates fieldwork opportunities for students at locations in Tennessee and across the United States within regulatory guidelines established by each state. International opportunities may also be available. Belmont University is part of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) which guides placement in most states.

The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the planning and implementation of integrated and sustained fieldwork experiences. The experiences occur under the supervision of and with the support of occupational therapists or other qualified individuals. To ensure that the fieldwork activities support and enhance the goals of the program there is continual collaboration by clinical educators, academic faculty, and the academic fieldwork coordinator.

In keeping with Belmont University's occupational therapy program's mission and curriculum design, fieldwork will be directed toward meeting the goals of education for practice, advocacy, and research. The fieldwork experiences are designed to encourage values and behaviors that exemplify professional leadership, integrity, and social consciousness; these values/behaviors support the program's goals to develop ethical practitioners to meet the immediate and future needs of the community.

The occupational therapy program requires both Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. Level I fieldwork is an integral part of the didactic portion of the educational program. Students are exposed to diverse practice settings to increase their understanding of occupational therapy. Level II fieldwork is the culminating educational experience for the Belmont University occupational therapy student.

Starting in the spring of the first year, students begin the first of three Level I fieldwork experiences. Students engage in directed observation and participate at clinical fieldwork sites where they can begin to apply principles taught in previous and concurrent coursework.

Level I Fieldwork

Level I fieldwork is designed to facilitate student integration of knowledge, clinical skills, and professional behaviors to prepare for Level II fieldwork and future practice.

Level I fieldwork is organized into 3 courses: psychosocial, aging populations, and pediatrics, with each course covering a variety of practice settings. Level I fieldwork uses a several teaching/learning methods and experiences, including seminar, in-person simulations, virtual simulations, standardized patients, faculty-led field trips, guest speakers, reflective assignments, interactions with fieldwork educators, and supervised practice experiences in the community.

Level I practice experiences may be supervised by occupational therapists or other appropriate personnel in the setting (e.g., occupational therapy assistants, social workers, and teachers). The faculty, academic fieldwork coordinator, fieldwork educators, and students continually evaluate the fieldwork experiences to ensure and improve effectiveness.

Preparation of the student prior to each Level I experience includes review of professional behaviors, safety procedures related to student and clients/patients, objectives, and assignments for the experience. Some of the fieldwork experiences may involve travel up to 100 miles from the Belmont campus

Level II Fieldwork

Upon completion of all of their academic work, students then enter the community to apply their knowledge, skills and abilities through completion of their Level II Fieldworks. Belmont has established over 800 clinical sites in occupational therapy across the United States.

The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, generalist occupational therapists.

Level II fieldwork includes an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients. During this experience you will get to apply what you've learned in the classroom to occupational therapy intervention programs for clients in a wide variety of traditional and emerging practice settings.

During Level II fieldwork, you will have opportunities to enhance clinical reasoning and reflective practice, model professional behaviors, and develop and expand a repertoire of occupational therapy assessments and treatment interventions related to human performance.

Level II fieldwork for the OTD program at Belmont University consists of two twelve week experiences. Level II fieldwork (OTD 6480) is taken in the summer after the second year (students will register for the course in the spring and the fieldwork experience may begin the last week of the spring semester).

Students must complete all fieldwork and Capstone experience requirements within 24 months following completion of academic work.

Students in the OTD program at Belmont have opportunities to meaningfully engage with community partners throuogh service and level I fieldwork. Students may also choose to complete level II clinicals abroad in places like Ireland or Ecuador. Students are encouraging to engage in professional service organizations at the school, state and national level (BSOTA, TNOTA and AOTA). Students can strive for additional certificates in Leadership through Belmont GOLD and choose to be trained as Mental Health First Aid responder. Students are empowered to practice advocacy and inclusion skills through Belmont's COTAD (Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity) student membership and events.

Each year, the School of Occupational Therapy admits a class of 60 students to Belmont’s Doctorate of Occupational Therapy program. Students begin study in August of each year.

Applications for admission and applicant credentials are received nearly exclusively through the Occupational Therapist Central Application Service (OTCAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Candidates may apply for admission after completing a bachelor's degree or entering the 3+3 program.

Learn more about the Admissions Process

Program graduates are eligible to apply to take the NBCOT national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). OTD students who have successfully completed all didactic coursework, level II experiences, and their capstone project are eligible to take the exam before graduation. However, NBCOT exam results will not be released until final transcripts are submitted by the Office of the Registrar to NBCOT.

Application procedures for taking the national board exam for occupational therapy can be found at:

In addition, most states require licensure to practice, which is a separate process from NBCOT certification. Licensure requirements vary by each state.  However, state licenses are usually based, in part, on successful completion of NBCOT Certification Examination For specific state licensure requirements always consult the state occupational therapy regulatory agency. - See more at:

Some states allow therapists to practice on a temporary license while waiting to take or receive the results of the NBCOT certification exam. If you fail the exam, you may not be able to continue to practice on the limited permit.

Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to be eligible to take the national certification examination or obtain state licensure. 

Doctoral (OTD) and Master’s (MSOT) Programs in Occupational Therapy
Belmont University's OTD and MSOT programs meet the state educational requirements for Licensure as an Occupational Therapist in the states listed under Positive Licensure Determinations.

Positive Licensure Determinations

Negative Licensure Determinations

No Licensure Determinations

Educational Requirements for State Licensure
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
None Educational Requirements for State Licensure
  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • Virgin Islands
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Republic of Palau

Doctoral Program (OTD) Course in Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs)
Belmont University's OTD Physical Agent Modalities course meets the didactic portion of the state educational requirements leading to Physical Agent Modalities Certification in Tennessee. Belmont University has not made a determination regarding whether the program's curriculum meets the state educational requirements for professional licensure or certification in PAMs in other U.S. states and territories.


The Occupational Therapy Doctoral degree program at Belmont University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE); 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929; 301-652-2682; Program performance data on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) National Certification Exam for all schools is available on the NBCOT website. Cost of attendance is included on the Cost & Financial Aid page.

Alumni Testimonial

“I have loved my time as a student in Belmont University’s OTD Program. The program provides a multitude of opportunities for students to engage in their education, join national organizations, and serve the community. I have built life-long friendships within my cohort. Belmont’s amazing professors have mentored and challenged me and always strive to ensure student success. The learning opportunities that Belmont provided were invaluable and gave me confidence during both of my level two fieldwork experiences. As I graduate and become an occupational therapist, I cannot imagine a better place to prepare for my future career.”

 Sarah Duckworth, OTD, Class of 2023

Request Information


Ready to Apply?

Start Your Application

Contact Us

College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Sarah Caylor
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions
(615) 460.6722
Schedule a Call

MSOT Program:
OTD Program:
DPT Program: