Making a difference by helping people thrive.

Occupational therapists promote the ability to thrive and live the best life possible by enabling people to engage in the occupations that are personally meaningful to them. At Pacific, occupational therapy academic coursework and fieldwork are integrated into a curriculum that is founded on a biopsychosocial model, client-centered and designed to meet the diverse needs of the communities we serve.

32-month accelerated program

Interdisciplinary courses and simulation labs

Biopsychosocial curriculum model

About the program

Pacific's innovative Doctor of Occupational Therapy program prepares students to help people of all ages live their best lives by working through injury, disability and illness and practicing overall wellness and vitality in their daily routines. Instruction is delivered in an accelerated format offering interdisciplinary courses via innovative learning strategies, classroom meetings and simulation labs. Program graduates will be prepared to promote integrated health and wellness behaviors across the life-span for individuals and diverse communities.

Program length

The cohort-based, 120-unit program consists of eight trimesters (32 months). Students will start with foundational coursework then advance to learning intervention strategies for specific age groups and life challenges. The Entry-Level Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is awarded upon completion of Level II Fieldwork and Capstone requirements and within four years of  initial matriculation.

students using vr headsets
Why choose OT at Pacific?

Students in the entry-level Doctor of Occupational therapy program have close interactions and personal attention from our faculty. Many classes are small seminar style with larger lecture groups having about 40 students.
Faculty have extensive clinical experience, specialty certifications, research experience, and are passionate about teaching students and OT.

  • Hands-on practical experiences throughout curriculum
  • Biopsychosocial modeled curriculum
  • Community engagement and volunteering experiences
  • Faculty and peer mentoring
  • Interprofessional collaboration in the School of Health Sciences
Explore your future as an Occupational Therapist
Pathway Programs

Current Pacific undergraduate students now have two exciting pathways to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Choose between a pathway offering guaranteed interviews or one that guarantees admission.

Students engaged in hands-on field practice in University of Pacific's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in Sacramento, CA.

About the Occupational Therapy Program

OT Alumni

“I chose Pacific OT because of the location and small campus environment. I enjoy volunteering and working at the various hospitals and clinics in the Sacramento community. Therefore, I would love to serve back to the Sacramento community as an occupational therapist."

- Hannah Yanica Gantuangco, Class of 2023

“I chose Pacific OT because I appreciated the sincerity of all the staff that spoke at open houses and their willingness to answer my many questions. The campus is beautiful and as a bonus, conveniently located close to my family. What stands out about this OT program is its psycho-social model. I fully believe in integrated care and cooperation across providers for every patient. I like being part of a team working towards the best possible outcome.”

- Naima Reddick (she/her), Class of 2023

Designed to integrate University of the Pacific’s values and mission of ‘preparing individuals for lasting achievement and responsible leadership in their careers and communities,’ the curriculum prepares learners to be competent socially conscious practitioners who embody the professional identity of serving the occupational needs of their communities. Courses are built upon the biopsychosocial model and the following concepts are integrated throughout the curriculum:

  • Student-centered scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Advocacy/Occupational Justice
  • Client-Centered Leadership
  • Reflective Evidence-Based Practice
  • Occupation-based Community practice

Through the eight-trimester sequence, students learn to become general practitioners. However, with the doctoral level program, students will have the opportunity to focus on specialty areas of practice such as clinical research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education and theory development.

Our Mission

The mission of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at University of the Pacific is to prepare students to become competent, socially conscious practitioners in the use of occupation as a therapeutic measure for individuals and diverse communities. The student-centered curriculum aims to optimize student understanding of the value of occupation from various perspectives across the lifespan, including biological, psychological and social to promote a compassionate, client-centered, science-driven, and interdisciplinary team approach in the delivery of care.

Program Vision

To become one of the leading entry-level occupational therapy doctoral programs in Northern California that is focused on community integrated health and serving diverse communities. 

Department Vision

Develop and educate socially conscious global leaders that promote occupational justice in the field of occupational therapy. Cultivate an inclusive environment with team leadership that encompasses a diversity of perspectives. Promote and foster open dialogue that leads to a stronger community.

Values and Commitment

At the University of Pacific, it is our belief that diversity and inclusion are essential to the fulfillment of our institutional mission.
Our faculty is committed to promoting full engagement in occupations across the lifespan, and acknowledge that multiple systemic, environmental, and personal barriers limit successful engagement for some individuals, especially those who identify as members of  underrepresented racial and ethnic, disability, economically disadvantaged, and/or LGBTQIA+ communities. We are dedicated to preparing generalist clinicians that advocate for all individuals, are committed to social justice, and create inclusive strategies for those we serve.

Student Outcomes 

Graduation Rates

  Graduation Year   Students Entering/Graduating    Graduation Rate 
  2023  37/36  97%

NBCOT Pass Rates

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found here.

Accreditation Status

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is Graduates of the program 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.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3

OT Admissions

Read our Admissions information for everything you need to know about prerequisites, how to apply, and more.

OT students talk to each other
OT student uses a balance board
Path from admission to practice

The University of the Pacific Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program prepares students to become socially conscious occupational therapists who promote well-being, health, and advocacy in a global society. Our 32 month innovative accelerated program includes 5 didactic on-campus trimesters, two trimesters of Level II fieldwork, and a 14-week Doctoral Capstone. The curriculum is designed to provide a superior education for students to work as generalist occupational therapists in non-traditional and traditional settings.

The University of the Pacific Entry-Level OTD program is designed for full-time study. During the on-campus trimesters, students participate in an Interprofessional Learning Seminar that includes 9 School of Health Science programs. Our students participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer locally and abroad, and engage in leadership roles. The occupational therapy department offers peer and academic mentoring to guide students throughout the program.

All admitted students must:

  • Maintain an overall course grade of 70% or higher in course work (students may not repeat more than two courses, and no course may be repeated more than once).
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behaviors as described in the Occupational Therapy Student Handbook.
  • Maintain graduate school admissions requirements.

Students graduate after successful completion of:

  • Coursework with minimum 3.00 GPA.
  • 28 weeks of supervised Level II Fieldwork and 14-weeks of Doctoral Capstone within 24 months after finishing didactic coursework.
  • 120-units in a minimum of 32 months. Must complete all requirements within five years of initial matriculation.
  • Demonstrate competency of OT generalist practice skills including fundamentals of practice, basic tenets of OT, evaluation and screening, intervention, management of OT services, communication, and professional behavior.
  • Students must complete Level II fieldwork and the experiential capstone requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Once the entry-level OTD program receives accreditation status from ACOTE, graduates of the University of the Pacific will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Upon successfully completing the exam, the graduate will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure to practice. However, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

NBCOT Eligibility

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) may disqualify students with felony convictions/charges from becoming certified. The Qualifications Review Committee (QRC) will review the qualifications of examination candidates who have been convicted of or charged with a felony to determine if the circumstances appear to relate directly to the safe, proficient, and/or competent practice of occupational therapy. For students entering an OT program, the QRC may give an early determination for approval to take the certification exam. For more information, please contact the NBCOT directly.

State Licensure Requirements

For more information regarding state requirements, please visit the AOTA State Licensure Requirements website.

Employment Resources and Opportunities

  • Employment Resources - AOTA Job Link Resources
  • OT Salary and Workforce Information - AOTA OT Salary & Workforce Survey
  • OT Resume and CV Resources - AOTA Resume and CV Resources
  • OT Careers in Traditional and Non-Traditional Settings - OT Areas of Special Interest

Pacific’s OT faculty are at the top of their field and are here to guide you.

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We take a hands on approach with our students. This means we want to get to know you throughout your discovery and application process. Help us connect with you by taking the next step. 

Non-Discriminatio n Disclosure

The Program is an equal opportunity institution of higher learning and is firmly committed to nondiscrimination in its delivery of educational services and employment practices. In compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, such decisions will be made irrespective of the individual's race, color, religion, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age (except for minors), sex, marital status, citizenship status, military service status, sexual orientation, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic condition), disability and/or any other status protected by law. For further information, please see the University’s policy

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Occupational Therapy

3200 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Occupational Therapy