Nov. 14, 2022 – Valparaiso, Indiana – The College of Nursing and Health Professions at Valparaiso University is filling a major need in Northwest Indiana with an entry-level occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program. According to a Sept. 2022 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from now to 2031 — far exceeding the average growth across all occupations.

Theresa Carroll, OTD, OTR/L, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy and academic fieldwork coordinator for the program, believes that occupational therapists are uniquely qualified to work with the new focuses and values of a post-COVID-19 system, where preventative care and readmission prevention are the main points of focus.

“A research study evaluated all the services that could be provided to reduce readmissions and discovered that occupational therapy was the best value for the hospital’s dollar,” Professor Caroll said.

Valparaiso University’s current connections with Northwest Indiana health care providers also means that OTD students will have a far higher rate of finding meaningful field work than they would at an institution where placement is more competitive.

“I am beyond excited,” said Karen Allen, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “When you look at the U.S. statistics for labor, occupational therapy is one of the professions where jobs exceed the number of professionals available. The wonderful thing is that when our students graduate, they will have jobs.”

The OTD program kicks off in January 2023. Apply or find more information  at valpo.edu/ot, or at OTCAS. If you have questions and need to speak with someone before applying please contact Professor Carroll at (219) 464-6394  or at theresa.carroll@valpo.edu; or Sara Story at sara.story@valpo.edu.