Stop the OTD Mandate by ACOTE

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Please sign this petition to stop degree escalation for occupational therapists!  The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has issued a mandate to inflate the entry-level degree requirements for the occupational therapy profession from a master's to a doctoral degree. This NON-EVIDENCE BASED decision was made AGAINST feedback from key stakeholders including occupational therapy practitioners, OT faculty, general public/ consumers, employers, and regulators. (See the AOTA survey link below).  Additionally, a clear majority of those involved in the recommendation and decision-making process were faculty or higher education administrators. This creates a significant conflict of interest, given the potential benefits achieved by higher education with increased degree requirements.

The worldwide entry-level qualification of occupational therapist is at the Bachelor or Master’s degree level, making the new ACOTE requirement grossly out of step with international consensus.

All stakeholders are requested to sign this petition due to following NEGATIVE impacts of the OTD mandate:

·      Anyone desiring to enter the OT profession will have to pay HIGHER TUITION for a doctoral degree. 

·      There is the potential for an increase in the cost of care for OT services to compensate for the increased cost of education.

·      Many practitioners may not be able to work in lower paying settings, such as rural/remote areas, due to high student loan debt.

·      A required OTD means MORE STUDENT LOANS for graduates.

·      This new requirement limits career advancement opportunities for OT Assistants due to discrepancy in degree requirements.

·      With the closure of many OT programs there may be a shortage of practitioners within the US.

·      Since a doctoral degree is not required elsewhere in the world, therapists from overseas may not be able to practice in the United States, contributing to future workforce shortages that will impact U.S. consumers.

·      Changing the educational program requirements will require many states to have to modify their practice acts, inviting threats to occupational therapy licensing all over the United States.

We demand that ACOTE rescind its plan for degree escalation and cancel plans for requiring a doctoral degree as a single point of entry to the occupational therapy profession.

References:

Link to ACOTE 2015 survey-https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/EducationCareers/Accredit/7OTEntryLevelSurvey.PDF

After you sign, please include which of the following represents your role in the comments section:  OT, OTA, OT Employer, AOTA Member, Consumer, General Public.                     #NoOTDmandate 



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