Occupational Therapy OT

| 28 February 2023

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

The Post-Professional OTD Degree


If you’re a licensed occupational therapist (OT) and are exploring the range of places an occupational therapist can work, you may be contemplating ways to take your occupational therapy career to the next level.

A Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy  (PPOTD) is a viable and attractive option. This degree program prepares graduates to improve patient lives and work toward elevating and expanding the OT field.1

Read on as we dive into the specifics of a Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy  program so that you can decide if it aligns with your personal and professional goals.


What is a Post-Professional OTD?

A PPOTD is a terminal degree—meaning, it’s the highest level of education you can receive in the field of occupational therapy.2

A rigorous PPOTD curriculum provides licensed OTs with additional training in:2

  • Education
  • Clinical leadership
  • Research

Depending on the degree program you choose, a PPOTD usually culminates in a doctoral capstone project.2


What are the Benefits of Receiving a Post-Professional OTD?

Practitioners with a PPOTD are at the apex of their field.2 Typically, PPOTD candidates choose this route to:

  • Advance the occupational therapy field at the local and state level and within professional organizations.3
  • Expand their teaching options.2
  • Fulfill an executive leadership role.3
  • Collaborate effectively with leaders in various professions.3


How Does a PPOTD Differ from an OTD?

A Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is an advanced degree program that typically requires two additional terms, after receiving a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT).4 Unlike a PPOTD, however, an OTD is not a terminal degree.2 The programs also have slightly different objectives for some candidates:2

  • PPOTD candidates typically look for a role in higher education or executive leadership.
  • OTD candidates may seek a leadership position or open an occupational therapy practice.4

PPOTD programs are an ideal choice for working OTs looking to advance their career, while an OTD is considered an entry-level degree.2


What are the Admission Requirements for a Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PPOTD)?

OT school requirements for post-professional OTD programs vary. The following requirements typically apply:

  • Undergraduate and/or post-graduate degree – To be considered for a PPOTD program, you must have either an undergraduate degree in OT or an MOT from an accredited university.3
  • Official transcripts – Official transcripts from the institution you received your degree(s) are a critical part of the admission process. Transcripts must be submitted directly from the academic institution.3
  • Professional recommendations – Most post-professional OTD programs will require letters of professional recommendation.3 Generally, these are requested from OT colleagues.
  • Curriculum vitae – Your CV, or resume, will offer your chosen university key details on the trajectory of your career.3 Typically, PPOTD candidates are licensed occupational therapists with experience in the workplace, or individuals eligible for licensure.3


What Does a Post-Professional OTD Program Entail?

By the time a PPOTD candidate enrolls in their chosen occupational therapy program, they will already possess a comprehensive understanding of occupational therapy, and most will have experience as an OT.3 A PPOTD program is designed to heighten one’s knowledge and experience and expand OT expertise as an instructor, practitioner, advocate, researcher, and executive leader.

Each PPOTD program has its specific path. However, a post-professional OTD program generally includes:3

  • Online courses3
  • The opportunity to learn from expert faculty-practitioners across several specialties3
  • Optional immersion sessions3

Occupational therapy education courses may run the gamut, depending on the phase of your educational journey and the specialty you choose. A few examples include:

  • Foundational Theories in Education3
  • Teaching Methods in Higher Education3
  • Foundations of Healthcare Administration3

If you’re interested in teaching in an occupational therapy academic program, some PPOTD programs offer a bridge program to facilitate this goal.3


How Long Does It Take to Obtain a Post-Professional OTD Degree?

The time it takes for you to complete a PPOTD program may vary. This depends on the level at which you enter a PPOTD program and the pace at which you work:3

  • Bachelors – If you enter a PPOTD program with a BS in OT degree, you may be in school for two to four years, or more.
  • Masters – If you have a master’s degree, you may only need to commit to one to three years.

You may also accelerate your PPOTD program. This is contingent upon the amount of time you have to dedicate to your program and your job, familial or other obligations. Fortunately, many PPOTD programs allow you to complete most, if not all, of your coursework online.


Boost Your Career with a Post-Professional OTD Degree

Many occupational therapists enjoy rewarding roles and help to improve patients’ lives. A PPOTD gives graduates the opportunity to also make a significant impact in the field.

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers student-first education to develop healthcare professionals across many fields and levels. Our Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PPOTD) program was crafted with the modern student in mind. Through distance learning and optional immersion sessions, the program empowers students to learn at their own pace, and from a place that suits their lifestyle and schedule.

Earn your doctoral degree with the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences—and experience the life-changing impact of the leading edge of healthcare.

Request information about our OT programs and apply now to launch a rewarding OT career.



  1. American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., “What is Occupational Therapy?”, AOTA, last modified 2023, https://www.aota.org/about/what-is-ot
  2. K Hoyt and S Lyon, “Which OT Degree? (OT, OTD, PPOTD & More!),” OT Potential/Occupational Therapy Resources, last modified August 2022, https://otpotential.com/blog/occupational-therapy-degree
  3. University of St. Augustine for Health Services, “Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy,” edu, last modified 2023, https://www.usa.edu/college-of-rehabilitative-sciences/post-professional-doctor-occupational-therapy-pp-otd/
  4. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, “Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree,” last modified 2023, https://www.usa.edu/college-of-rehabilitative-sciences/doctor-occupational-therapy/


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