Online Occupational Therapy Doctorate Programs

Get information about the requirements to earn your occupational therapy doctoral degree online. Find out about classes and other requirements along with licensure and employment outlook data.

What Can I Expect to Learn in an Online Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program?

Occupational therapy is an allied health discipline focused on rehabilitating patients who have suffered an injury or who have a mental, physical or developmental disability. In an online doctorate program, you'll learn about physical and mental activities, including hobbies and part-time employment that can be used to help patients develop or regain skills that will allow them to live independently.

You'll likely find that online doctoral programs go beyond the basic study of occupational therapy by covering advocacy, research and entrepreneurship. You can expect to learn about mental health, neuroscience, OT ethics and legal issues, media relations and operation of your own practice. You'll also explore various methods of researching and writing grants.

Course Topics Advocacy, research and entrepreneurship, mental health, neuroscience, OT ethics, legal issues, media relations, grant writing and business skills
Requirements Most commonly, a master's degree, experience working as an OT
Online Study All work completed and submitted online except for residency and research components of program
Working as an OT Minimum requirement for OTs is a master's degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE); licenses are awarded by each state
Job Outlook (2016-2026)24% growth (for occupational therapists)*
Median Salary (2018)$84,270 (for occupational therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need to Enroll?

Most online doctorate programs are tailored to students who have a master's degree and experience as an occupational therapist. However, some programs will allow you to enroll in an online doctorate program after earning a bachelor's degree. If you only have an undergraduate degree, you'll need to complete courses to earn your Master of Occupational Therapy before working toward your online doctorate.

How Does Online Study Work?

Most courses will be taken over the Internet. However, you'll need to complete residency requirements where you'll personally interact with patients in an occupational therapy setting. These residencies can last several days at a time. Other in-person requirements include research for your doctoral dissertation.

Can I Work as an Occupational Therapist After Earning My Degree?

The minimum educational requirement for occupational therapists is a master's degree awarded by a program recognized by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). You'll also need to be licensed in the state where you plan to practice.

Why Should I Earn This Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for occupational therapists was expected to increase 24% between 2016 and 2026 ( The BLS also reported that occupational therapists with specialized knowledge would have the best job opportunities. You can acquire such knowledge by completing interdisciplinary research while earning your online degree.