U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip to main content

U.S. Army Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program

OT Briefing

Entry-level Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy

Training future occupation therapy leaders for service in the United States Army

Mission: To produce active duty, commissioned occupational therapist who are clinicians and leaders prepared for worldwide military health system practice.

Vision: To be the premier graduate program in occupational therapy optimizing military readiness and defining occupational therapy education, research, and practice.

Admissions Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen and between ages of 21 and 42
  • Hold a Baccalaureate Degree in either Arts or Sciences from and accredited college or university
  • Minimum GRE of 300 combined with verbal (145) + quantitative (149)
  • Minimum GRE analytical writing score of 3.5
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA overall and in OT required coursework
  • 24 Occupational Therapy observation hours
  • Pass full medical physical
  • Favorable security investigation
  • OTD Prerequisite Classes

Program Advantages

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) offers a unique opportunity compared to traditional graduate programs in occupational therapy. The program consists of two phases:

Phase 1: Eighteen months of graduate education with emphasis on Person-Occupation-Environment interaction across the lifespan, healthcare delivery, practice scholarship, community engaged learning, and leadership.

Phase 2: Twelve month internship which includes two hands on experiences in clinical occupational therapy settings of inpatient rehabilitation, behavioral health, and hand therapy. The clinical rotations are performed at a nationally based Military Treatment Facility. Students then complete an applied research capstone experience and project.

Upon completion of the program students earn an Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree and will be able to sit for the national registration exam. As a member of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, you will provide direct patient care, readiness training, wellness education and injury prevention to our nation’s Soldiers. Occupational therapists have the opportunity to work in well-equipped U.S. Army medical centers and community hospitals, clinics or field medical units.

OT Clinical

Job Duties

  • Conduct battlefield unit needs assessments to determine unit mental health status
  • Conduct functional evaluations of and provide individualized treatment to Soldiers suffering the effects of acute and chronic combat and operational stress
  • Serve as an independent practitioner and physician extender for acute and chronic upper extremity neuromuscular injuries and/or disorders, including the fabrication of custom splints to return injured Soldiers to optimal duty status
  • Enhance unit and Soldier performance by conducting energy conservation and work simplification assessments
  • Supervise enlisted and other qualified occupational therapy technicians implementing prescribed plans of care
  • Serve as commander of companies, battalions, brigades and medical treatment facilities

Clinical 2

Program Expectation

Expectations are attributes, characteristics or behaviors that are not explicitly part of the profession`s core of knowledge and technical skills but are nevertheless required for success in this program and in the OT profession. All of the following are very important, but you are especially reminded to read and fully understand #7 – Professionalism.

  • COMMITMENT TO LEARNING: The ability to self-correct, and self-direct: to identify needs and sources of learning; and to continually seek new knowledge and understanding.
  • INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: The ability to interact effectively with patients, families, colleagues, other health care professionals, and the community and to deal effectively with cultural and ethnic diversity issues. The ability to show respect to classmates, faculty, patients, and colleagues.
  • COMMUNICATION SKILLS: The ability to communicate effectively (i.e., speaking, body language, reading, writing, listening) for varied audiences and purposes.
  • EFFECTIVE USE OF TIME & RESOURCES: The ability to obtain the maximum benefit from a minimum investment of time and resources.
  • USE OF CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK: The ability to identify sources of and seek out feedback and to effectively use and provide feedback for improving personal interaction.
  • PROBLEM SOLVING: The ability to recognize and define problems. Analyze data, develop and implement solutions, and evaluate outcomes.
  • PROFESSIONALISM: The ability to exhibit appropriate professional conduct and to represent the profession effectively. Treat people as they should be treated.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: The ability to fulfill commitments and to be accountable for actions and outcomes. Do what is right, legally and morally.
  • CRITICAL THINKING: The ability to question logically; to identify, generate, and evaluate elements of logical argument; to recognize and differentiate facts, illusions, assumptions, and hidden assumptions; and to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant.
  • STRESS MANAGEMENT: The ability to identify sources of stress and to develop effective coping behaviors.

All students must understand the significance of the above and how academic success is predicated on mastery of understanding and application throughout this program and career as an OT.


Occupational Therapy Educational Technical Standards

This program is dedicated to the education of students who strive to become competent and caring providers of primary health care services under the supervision of a licensed physician. The student must be able to achieve certain technical standards of knowledge and skill in order to successfully complete the Program. The technical standards stated in this document apply to satisfactory performance in all academic and clinical course work, as well as fulfillment of "non-academic" essential functions of the curriculum involving physical, cognitive, and behavior factors that are essential to a professional clinical practitioner. Students must have adequate abilities and skills in the following five areas: 1) Observation; 2) Communication; 3) Sensory and Motor Function; 4) Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Ability; and, 5) Behavioral and Social Attributes.

Observation: The student must be able to observe demonstrations and conduct experiments in the basic sciences. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. A student must be able to integrate all information visually and through the other senses.

Communication: A student must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and rapidly in English with patients and members of the health care team. A student must be able to elicit information from patients, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture. Communication includes not only speech, but writing, reading, interpreting tables, figures, graphs and computer literacy.

Sensory and Motor Function: The student must have sufficient sensory and motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. The student will be required to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of hearing, touch and vision. More specifically, the student must be able to exercise such fine motor skills as to adequately perform laboratory tests, including but not limited to, wet mount, urinalysis and gram stain. The student must exercise such level of dexterity, sensation and visual acuity as to accurately complete such processes as administering intravenous medication, making fine measurements of angles and size, measuring blood pressure, respiration and pulse, performing physical examinations, and performing therapeutic procedures such as suturing and casting.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: A student must have the intellect necessary to quickly analyze and resolve problems. These intellectual abilities include numerical recognition, measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis judgment and synthesis. The student must be able to identify significant findings from the patient`s history, the physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, and choose appropriate medications and therapy. The ability to incorporate new information from many sources in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic planning is primary. When appropriate, students must be able to identify and communicate the limits of their knowledge to others.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. The development of mature, sensitive effective and professional relationships with patients and members of the health care team is essential. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are desired in a health professional and assessed during the admissions and education processes.



Selection Considerations

  • Leadership experience and potential
  • OT observation hours
  • Interest in military service
  • Undergraduate academic performance and GRE scores
  • Strength of science foundation
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Telephone interview
  • Write an essay on why you want to be an OT

Outstanding Benefits

All tuition and fees are covered by the uniformed services. In addition, students receive full military salaries and benefits while attending the program. These comprehensive benefits include 30 days paid vacation each year, full health and dental benefits, housing allowance, and paid continuing education opportunities annually.

Outstanding Opportunities

Army OTs work in a variety of exciting and versatile positions. They serve in clinical research, human performance optimization, education, and executive settings. Army OTs also receive exceptional advanced educational experiences and serve the United States by providing healthcare to Department of Defense beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who may apply to the U.S. Army Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program?

A: All active duty (commissioned and enlisted), cadets, as well as any civilian desiring to become an active Army occupation therapist.

Q: Are there any associated costs related to attending this training?

A: Attendees can expect to pay for books (minus service provided stipend), supplies, school graduation fees, national certification fees, and state licensure registration fees.

Q: Is there a deadline to apply?

A:  Yes, please refer to the most recent military personnel message or see the program`s website at: cs.amedd.army.mil/graduateschool-otd

Q: Does the program have an Additional Duty Service Obligation (ADSO)?

A: Yes, the Soldier will incur an ADSO of 90 months. (30 months training + 60 months obligation). 

Have questions or want more information?

To find out more info on the length of the program application process, tour dates, and any other questions, please visit our website at:



e-mail - usarmy.jbsa.medical-coe.mbx.otd-support@mail.mil

OTD Program Accreditation

NOTE: At this time the Army OTD program is under university contract bidding to determine the sponsoring university.