Duke Occupational Therapy Doctorate Gains ACOTE Accreditation 


It’s official! Duke University’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program has been granted accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for seven years. 

Duke OTD joins 90 other programs accredited to award a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and 483 programs awarding OT degrees at the associate, bachelor, master, doctorate levels. 

“We are so pleased to conclude our journey in becoming accredited successfully. I am so grateful to our students, our faculty, and staff, and the many School of Medicine, community, and fieldwork partners who have helped us develop and improve our program,” said Barbara Hooper, PhD, OTR/L, FAOT, division chief and founding program director of the Duke OTD program. 

The program welcomed its first class of 40 students in August 2021 and now has 130 students. The first cohort graduates in May and will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). After successful completion of the exam, each student will become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). 

“While we are celebrating today, we are also thinking about the generations of students who will come to this university and learn to become occupational therapists for decades to come,” said Dr. Hooper. “And by extension, this incredible point in Duke OTD’s history is about how our program will help to positively impact so many lives by helping future clients rejoin and restore the occupations that give them meaning and fulfillment. “ 

ACOTE evaluators conducted an onsite visit in late October. The final step ends with the evaluators submitting the Report of On-Site Evaluation, more commonly called the ROSE report. The ROSE report communicated its key findings to the ACOTE Board of Directors, which met earlier this month and voted to grant Duke OTD accreditation through 2030. 

“All in all, our journey has been a truly positive experience filled with excellent, stimulating conversations and tremendous contributions and ideas from our faculty, staff, students, and colleagues across the School of Medicine and the health professions community,” said Dr. Hooper. 

Accreditation has been a stated function of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA®) since 1923. ACOTE is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ACOTE accredits occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs in the United States and its territories and programs in the United Kingdom.