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A professor instructs a student on the placement of reflective markers that will be used during motion capture.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is a post-professional degree. With an OTD, you are better prepared to address the challenges of today’s complex and ever-changing health care and education settings.

Beyond an entry-level master’s degree, OTD students complete additional preparation in leadership, advocacy, theory and research, and an additional mentored advanced doctoral experience.

Program Type

Doctoral

Program Format

On Campus
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Occupational Therapy…

Students learning about occupational therapy
  • The areas of study have been purposefully developed to integrate knowledge from multiple occupational therapy subdisciplines.
  • Our program has a strong focus on learning the process of research and incorporating evidence into the professional practice.
  • Experience the best of both worlds at UWM, a leading research institution just blocks from Lake Michigan. Milwaukee has great restaurants, great music and great art – everything you need to balance your life as a student.

Employment Outlook

Earnings

The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $84,950 in May 2019. The lowest 10% earned less than $56,800, and the highest 10% earned more than $121,490.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for occupational therapists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)$90,830
Home health care services$89,220
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists$87,190
Hospitals; state, local and private$85,510
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local and private$74,670

Expected Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism or the loss of a limb.

The need for occupational therapists is expected to increase as the large baby boomer generation ages and people remain active later in life. Occupational therapists can help senior citizens maintain their independence by recommending home modifications and strategies that make daily activities easier. Therapists also play a large role in the treatment of many conditions and ailments commonly associated with aging, such as arthritis and stroke.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School. In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the following departmental requirements:

  1. MSOT or MOT degree from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®)-accredited program (or equivalent recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, WFOT).
  2. Occupational therapy licensure (or international equivalent approved by WFOT). Current master’s students matriculate to the OTD program when they are licensed. Students may be provisionally admitted to the OTD program and accumulate credits toward graduation for one semester while required documentation is being prepared or approved.
  3. The competitive admissions process also includes evaluation of GPA, coursework, professional experiences and statement of personal interests.

To apply to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, you must apply to the UWM Graduate School. All materials must be received prior to the review of the application.

Portrait of Justin Almquist
  • University Services Program Associate, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Kris Barnekow
  • Associate Professor, Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Implementation Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Tamicah Gelting
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Carol Haertlein Sells
  • Professor Emerita, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Mark Johnston
  • Professor Emeritus, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Katie Jopp Portrait
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Jay Kapellusch
  • Professor, Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Phyllis King
  • Professor, UWM Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Occupational Ergonomics Laboratory Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Alyssa Schnorenberg
  • Researcher, Mobility Lab Manager, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Michelle Silverman
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, ATAD Certificate Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Bhagwant Sindhu
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Brooke Slavens
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Roger Smith
  • Professor, Occupational Therapy Program Director, Graduate Program Coordinator, Research Design & Disability Center Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Adeola (Toni) Solaru, MSOT, OTR/L
  • Assistant Clinical Professor, Rehabilitation Science & Technology, Programs in Occupational Therapy, Sciences and Technology
Portrait of Virginia Stoffel
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Julie Thomas
  • Administrative Specialist, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Inga Wang
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Dana Washburn
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Important Dates

Priority application deadlines

Fall semester
All application materials due by January 15

Spring semester
All application materials due by October 1

Note: Applications will continue to be accepted after the priority deadlines.

Contact

Kris A. Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L
OTD Implementation Chair
krisb@uwm.edu
414-251-6720