Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapy student guides another student through an eye exam.

Elevate your OT potential

Start your occupational therapy career with this doctorate degree – and open more paths in the profession.

Become an OT. Showcase your expertise. Build the knowledge and skills to make a difference beyond the clinic.

Why earn an Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (EL-OTD) degree?

Two occupational therapy students having fun in a lab. One student is pushing another sitting who is sitting down on a circular roller.

Expand your career scope  – Teach. Research. Lead. Become an occupational therapist and have the credentials to pursue non-clinical roles down the road.
Learn with peers – Complete the program with other future OTs. You’ll learn from faculty who remain active in clinical settings.
Great settings – Get hands-on training in new, high-tech facilities.
Affordable costs – The numbers don’t lie: MSU costs less than most OT schools. Support your education with scholarships and other financial aid.

Designed for future OTs

This program helps you become a licensed occupational therapist (OT).

To begin the program, you must:

Apply now (OTCAS)

What is an occupational therapist?

OTs help people with health issues live a fuller, more meaningful life through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).

Two occupational therapy students studying together during class.
Access a sample schedule for completing the Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. You can finish in 3 years (nine semesters).

Career options with an EL-OTD: Pursue leadership and non-clinical roles


Two occupational therapy students handling equipment in a therapy lab for children.


Put your knowledge and training to use, even beyond the clinic.

This doctorate degree helps you start as an entry-level OT practitioner. But you'll also learn about all the great things OTs can do elsewhere.

You can eventually move into non-clinical roles like:

  • Advocacy
  • Entrepreneurship (private practice)
  • Leadership and management/administration
  • Education and teaching
  • Research

Discover what’s possible in the rewarding profession of occupational therapy. Have a greater role in helping people recover (and relearn) the skills it takes to live.

Capstone experience: The pinnacle of your OT education

In your final year of the program, you’ll complete a capstone experience and project that highlights your expertise on a subject area.


The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program at Missouri State has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be 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). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Explore other occupational therapy programs at MSU

Here are other options to help you achieve your goals in occupational therapy.

For current occupational therapists

Advance your career with the 100% online Postprofessional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PP-OTD) degree.

Explore the Postprofessional program

For future occupational therapists who want the traditional role

Get the qualifications you need to work on the clinical side – and finish your degree sooner – through the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program.

Explore the master's program

Just starting college and looking for a major? Try pre-health

New occupational therapists must have a master’s or doctoral degree.

To pursue a master's or doctoral, you just need to take the right prerequisites (courses) before you apply to your preferred program. Like most advanced health care programs, occupational therapy doesn’t require a specific major (bachelor’s degree).

A pre-health program can put you on the right path.

Explore pre-health

Contact information


Person item component: SapnaChakraborty@MissouriState.edu
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Person item component: RiannonShelley@MissouriState.edu
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O'Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center, Suite 203
Relay Missouri
711 or 800-735-2966
Missouri State University
Occupational Therapy Programs
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield 65897
Website address