SRU’s occupational therapy doctoral program receives full accreditation


Students in an OT classroom

Slippery Rock University’s doctoral degree program in occupational therapy is now accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, meaning graduates of the three-year-old program will be eligible to sit for their national certification exams.

Jan. 29, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's doctoral degree program in occupational therapy is officially accredited. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association recently awarded SRU full accreditation through 2028.

SRU had previously maintained "candidacy status" for ACOTE accreditation since it launched its three-year program in 2018. As the first cohort will graduate later this year, the awarding of accreditation was the last step for SRU in fully implementing the new program.

"ACOTE accreditation is a major accomplishment for our program because obtaining it is essential for our students to start their careers as occupational therapists," said Andrea Fairman, associate professor occupational therapy and program director. "This allows our students to become eligible to sit for their certification exam, which is required for them to become licensed professionals."

The ACOTE is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. ACOTE accredits nearly 600 occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, by ensuring that each institution meets its educational standards.

"Having an accredited program is a great validation that means our students are receiving quality education that meet all the standards," Fairman said. "They can feel confident in their future careers by being graduates of our program."

There are currently 87 students enrolled in SRU's OTD program, including 28 students, who in their final year of the program, will eventually take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. More than 10,000 candidates take the NBCOT exam each year and in 2019 the pass rate was 72%. There are more than 140,000 people who are registered occupational therapists by the NBCOT.

As part of SRU's program, students receive training in advanced clinical, professional and leadership skills through on-campus learning at a facility in Harrisville with scheduled off-campus fieldwork placements.

More information about SRU's OTD program is available on the SRU website. To learn more about the ACOTE, visit

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