UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 18, 2024

Introducing Utah Tech’s first doctorate degree

Starting in fall 2024, Utah Tech University will welcome its first-ever doctorate program in occupational therapy. Beginning students interested in pursuing occupational therapy will be able to begin their 108-credit program to begin the start of their career. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University will be offering a new 108-credit occupational therapy doctorate degree for its students starting in fall 2024.

Occupational therapy is a way for people of all ages to be able to work through injuries, illnesses or disabilities with the use of everyday activities and tools. Those who are involved in this corporation want to ensure that rural places in Utah have access to occupational therapy because there is a lack of people trained in the practice.

Samira Hall, manager for curriculum and graduate studies operations, said she hopes that all students involved will appreciate the program as well as take lifelong lessons and skills from it.

Sheila Longpré, associate professor of occupational therapy, and Jamie Garner, support specialist for the program, have been at work in creating this program from the ground up.

Eli Bermudez, dean for the College of Health Sciences, said this program has been in the works since summer 2017.

There are multiple requirements for those who are interested in joining this program including:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Pay a $50 application fee
  • Pay a $150 Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service fee
  • Complete prerequisite coursework at a regionally accredited institution within the past 10 years
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Complete all bachelor’s degree and prerequisite coursework prior to the first day of class in the occupational therapy curriculum
  • Include official transcripts from all institutions attended post-high school
  • Have at least 20 observation hours
  • Participate in a criminal background check

The priority deadline to submit applications is March 1, 2024, and the final deadline is May 1, 2024. For more information, in-person and virtual meetings will be available on the following days:

  • Feb. 6: HPC 203 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 7: Zoom meeting at 5:30 p.m.

For this eight-semester program, the tuition and fees for in-state students are about $86,500, and for out-of-state students, the total tuition & fees are about $121,250. 

Eight semesters of training will allow students to dive directly into an occupational therapy career. This will offer the opportunity to enter the work field straight after graduation and help meet the need for occupational therapists in many parts of Utah.

Longpré said: “They’re [students] going to be the next generation who teach the next generation. They need to be well prepared and practitioners who are competent and confident to be able to be those change agents.”