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After completing her master of occupational therapy degree at University of the Sciences in 2007, Meghan (Bridgeman) Riexinger MOT’07, OTR/L, landed her ideal job—working with children as an occupational therapist for the Upper Township School District in New Jersey, where she remains today.
With nearly 10 years of work experience under her belt, Riexinger said she had an itch to further her education so that she can continue to grow as a healthcare provider and stay up to date with the most advanced practices. However, with a full-time job and a family of her own, she knew returning to school would not be an easy task. When USciences launched its online, post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy (DrOT) program last summer, Riexinger saw it as the perfect opportunity to reach her goals and started the program in the fall.
“This program is catered to working occupational therapists, like me, who have families and other commitments that make it near impossible to stick to a regimented and on-campus class schedule,” said Riexinger. “There may be times I’m cranking out my readings and assignments at 4 a.m. or 11 p.m. but having the freedom to choose [the time] is what works best for me.”
Designed for novice occupational therapists with graduate degrees to experienced clinicians looking to advance within their careers, the University’s 33-credit online DrOT program features required core courses and electives options that allow students to focus on their areas of interest. The courses are delivered through an asynchronous learning format so that students can work at their own pace to complete their weekly course expectations, such as required readings, web-based activities, online discussion forums, and assignments. This program requires only two campus visits related to the final capstone project.
“Perhaps the most appealing trait about this program is that it offers students flexibility in earning their clinical doctoral degree at a pace that best fits their current professional and personal lives,” said David Pallister, JD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy at USciences. “Instructors are readily accessible to students through email, phone, and webinars to ensure a close and individualized working relationship.”
Although the program is still in its first year, Pallister has already seen a significant improvement in the students’ ability to search and critique the professional literature to answer clinical questions that have impact on their actual patients and clients. Because of the program's appeal to working professionals, Pallister is also confident about the growth of the program over the next few years.
“There are many reasons for this encouraging and confident outlook,” said Pallister. “Some have to do with the current shift of entry-level occupational therapy programs moving to the doctoral level, the desire for clinicians to advance their clinical knowledge and career with an advanced degree, the aforementioned program focus, flexibility, pace, and distance format.”
In order to be considered for entry into this online DrOT program, interested students must be occupational therapists with a master’s degree and two years of practice experience, and initially certified by National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Click here for more information about the Department of Occupational Therapy at USciences and its online DrOT program.