Graduation and Credentialing

Accreditation

UIC’s entry-level OTD degree program has been granted Candidacy Status for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Consistent with ACOTE policy, the program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Progression and retention requirements

The Department of Occupational Therapy monitors student academic progress, including cumulative degree grade point average.

To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 (B average). The GPA is the average of all grades, including courses not required for the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) degree program. A grade of less than C in any required course (including a grade of unsatisfactory) will result in a recommendation for dismissal from the entry-level OTD program, even if the cumulative GPA is above 3.0. Students may appeal their dismissal to the department’s Academic Standing Committee.

A cumulative GPA below 3.0 will result in academic probation. Students are allowed two enrolled academic terms to raise their GPA and leave probation. Students who fail to raise their GPA to 3.0 or otherwise fulfill the terms of their probation within the deadline will be dismissed from the university.

Exceptions may be considered by the UIC OT Academic Standing Committee on a case-by-case basis.

Graduation requirements

Students must be in good academic standing to graduate, even if all other requirements have been met.

Students must complete the 110 credits while meeting GPA requirements. Students on academic probation (with a degree GPA less than 3.0) will not be allowed to graduate until their degree GPA is 3.0 or greater.

Time limits for completion

  1. All elements of the program must be completed within six years.
  2. Students must start Fieldwork Level II within 12 months of completing its prerequisites.
  3. Fieldwork Level II must be completed within 24 months after it begins.
  4. Leaves of absence beyond one year are not routinely considered.

Exceptions may be considered by the UIC OT Academic Standing Committee on a case-by-case basis.

Part-time status

The program is usually completed on a full-time basis. Part-time status is granted only by petition to the Academic Standing Committee, including a formal plan that complies with the following time limits:

  1. Students must start Fieldwork Level II within 12 months of completing its prerequisites.
  2. Fieldwork Level II must be completed within 24 months after it begins.
  3. Leaves of absence beyond one year are not routinely considered at any point of progression in the program.

Exceptions may be considered by the UIC OT Academic Standing Committee on a case-by-case basis.

Certification and licensure

Graduates of the entry-level OTD program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam for occupational therapist. After successful completion of the exam, the graduate will be a registerd occupational therapist (OTR).

All states require licensure to practice and each state has specific requirements. State licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.

Character review and background checks

A felony conviction or academic disciplinary action may affect a graduate’s ability to take the NBCOT certification exam or attain state licensure.

NBCOT conducts background checks for certification exam applicants who have affirmative responses to one or more of the character review questions:

  1. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? (NOTE: Applicants must answer affirmatively even if convictions have been pardoned, expunged, released, or sealed.)
  2. Do you currently have a felony charge or charges against you?
  3. Have you ever surrendered any professional license, registration, or certification or had one denied, revoked, suspended, or subject to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board, including NBCOT?
  4. Do you currently have a professional license, registration, or certification under review for possible disciplinary action?
  5. Have you ever been found by any court, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness, or willful or intentional misconduct which resulted in harm to another?
  6. Do you currently have a charge(s) of negligence, malpractice, recklessness, or willful or intentional misconduct that resulted in harm to another against you?
  7. Have you ever been suspended and/or expelled from a college or university?
  8. Are you currently under active investigation that could lead to being suspended and/or expelled from a college or university?

A detailed, written explanation regarding the incident(s), and documentation pertaining to probation or parole are required as part of the NBCOT Character Review.

NBCOT offers the Early Determination Review for prospective or current OT students to learn if a past issue will affect their certification exam eligibility before they undertake or complete their studies.