LONGMEADOW — Bay Path College has been granted approval by the Mass. Board of Higher Education to offer two master’s degree programs in the field of occupational therapy: the Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.), which began this month; and the Master of Science in Advanced Practice Occupational Therapy, a unique “retreat- style” weekend program to be implemented in September.
Both programs are open to women and men.
The M.O.T. degree is an entry-level master’s degree for individuals who are not occupational therapists. Completion of this degree allows students to sit for the national occupational therapy examination and become an OTR (occupational therapist, registered). For women without an undergraduate degree, the M.O.T. takes five years of full-time class work, earning a bachelor’s degree along the way.
For certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) with an associate degree, OTA courses taken at that level transfer into the B.S. degree, and the master’s can be earned in approximately three years. Men and women with a completed B.S. or B.A. degree may earn the M.O.T. with two full years of full-time class work and completion of certain prerequisites.
The Master of Science in Advanced Practice Occupational Therapy is intended for men and women who are already OTRs with either a B.S. or M.O.T. as their entry-level degree, according to Dr. Karen Sladyk, chair of the college’s Occupational Therapy Dept.
“It allows OTRs to advance their practice in supportive and individualized advanced study of occupational therapy,” she said, adding that the unique, retreat-style weekend program allows the OTR to study on campus just one weekend per month, on Saturday and Sunday, and students can take one or two classes per semester.
The weekends are supplemented by easy Internet phone contact with both peers and faculty between classes, which are designed to be intensive study similar to attending a conference or institute, she said. In this program, the M.S. may be finished in two years, or the new certificate of Advanced Practice may be completed in one year.
Sladyk noted that a major reason Bay Path has added master’s level OT degrees is that all entry-level occupational therapy degrees must be master’s level by 2007 to continue to meet the accreditation standards of the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
“In addition,” she said, “the U.S. Dept. of Labor stated in the 2000-2001 governmental report on jobs in the United States that occupational therapy will see greater than average growth this century.”
For more information on the new programs, call (413) 565-1332.