UHart Preparing for New Occupational Therapy Program

November 23, 2020
therapist with infant

The University of Hartford is preparing to launch a new program in occupational therapy in 2021, helping to meet demand for professionals in this growing field.

The College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) will begin offering a combined five-year bachelor’s/master’s degree occupational therapy program in fall 2021. A post-baccalaureate master’s degree in occupational therapy (MSOT) is planned to begin in summer 2022.

The addition of occupational therapy is part of an expansion in the College of ENHP to prepare health professionals for in-demand careers. Jobs for occupational therapists are expected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational therapy is a natural complement to our established programs in physical therapy, prosthetics/orthotics and related health professions, and will allow us to grow our enrollment while meeting the need for more therapists,” said ENHP Dean Cesarina Thompson.

In addition to occupational therapy, the College of ENHP has launched new programs in exercise science and a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing during the past two years. These growing programs will be housed in the new state-of-the-art academic building opening in fall 2021 in the heart of campus.

Occupational therapy is a natural complement to our established programs in physical therapy, prosthetics/orthotics and related health professions, and will allow us to grow our enrollment while meeting the need for more therapists."

Cesarina Thompson, Dean, College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions
Occupational Therapy at UHart
  • 5-year combined BS/MS program
  • Move directly from the undergraduate to graduate program without reapplying
  • New academic building with state-of-the-art OT labs
  • Strong fieldwork partnerships and research opportunities at the graduate level
  • A growing field: jobs for OTs projected to grow 24 percent
  • High salaries: The national average salary for OTs is $87,000

Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people of all ages, helping them overcome health challenges to live active, independent lives. They may assist young children who have physical or mental disabilities, individuals who have sustained a brain injury, or older adults recovering from a stroke. OTs work in a variety of settings including schools, homes, outpatient clinics, mental health facilities, home health, and hospitals. Occupational therapy is an important part of treatment for people with illnesses and disabilities such as spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or limb loss. 

The ENHP occupational therapy program will offer students a number of advantages. Students in the combined program will earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in only five years, helping them start their careers sooner. In the undergraduate phase, students earn a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and begin the professional OT program in the fourth year.

Students will learn in state-of-the-art labs and learning spaces for the OT program in the new academic building. The 60,000 square foot building will include a home health suite with a kitchen and bathroom, and an OT skills lab with a climbing wall and therapy swings.

“Occupational therapy is a very rewarding career with strong demand and high salaries,” said Sarah Psillas, assistant professor and director of the Occupational Therapy program. “Getting to see your patients make progress and celebrate their victories is extremely gratifying.”

The graduate program, planned to begin in summer 2022 pending accreditation review, will feature small class sizes, strong fieldwork partnerships, and research opportunities. Students will also benefit from inter-professional education with other ENHP students in physical therapy, prosthetics/orthotics, and related allied health professions, Psillas said.

Learn more about the new occupational therapy program here.

Note: The undergraduate, pre-professional phase of the program will begin in Fall 2021. The professional program will be reviewed for candidacy status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in April 2021 with a decision expected in August 2021.


For Media Inquiries

Mary DiLeo