About Occupational Therapy

patient lifting crateOccupational therapy is a health profession providing service to individuals and populations across the life span whose abilities to function physically, mentally, and cognitively have been impaired by injury, illness, developmental problems or the process of aging. Occupational therapy treatment enables individuals to maximize performance of skills required in daily living and in pursuit of work and leisure time activities.  Occupational therapy practitioners deliver services in many different settings, ranging from private practice to community health centers, hospitals and private homes.


The History of CSU's Department of Occupational Therapy

The Department of Occupational Therapy at Chicago State University started in 1982 under the leadership of Ms. Artice Harmon.  The first class of four students graduated in 1984. The Department of Occupational Therapy provided an undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy for 21 years and graduated over 400 students. Many of our alumni are in leadership positions at various levels in Illinois and elsewhere.

In 2003, the Department of Occupational Therapy received approval for a combined Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Master in Occupational Therapy program (B.S./M.O.T.). The first class entered the new entry level Master of Occupational Therapy professional program in the fall semester of 2004

CSU Department of OT Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy provides education designed to prepare diverse, competent and effective occupational therapists skilled at meeting the demands of rapidly changing service delivery systems. balance beamThe program seeks to develop therapists who possess foundational skills in the principles of the occupational therapy profession and the ability to integrate knowledge into practice while using the critical thinking and reflective abilities necessary to address the multiple roles of practitioner, consultant, educator, manager, researcher and advocate within traditional and emerging service delivery systems.

The Department of Occupational Therapy's mission is consistent with Chicago State University's  mIssion and with the College of Health Sciences mission and upholds the commitment to the recruitment and education of candidates from those sections of the community under represented in the practice of occupational therapy. The program’s purpose is to develop graduates that are compassionate and dedicated to implementing contextually relevant occupation based services and dedicated to implementing contextually relevant occupation based services that promote and enhance the health, participation and quality of life for individuals and populations.

Characteristics of the CSU Occupational Therapy Programs

  • Educational experiences are enriched by faculty’s involvement in current clinical practice and research.
  • Each Fall and Spring semester in the professional program includes fieldwork experiences that provide apprenticeship experiences in which students apply concepts learned in the classroom in authentic settings under the supervision of faculty or practicing clinicians.
  • Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences provide experiences in a wide variety of setting with well and disabled populations.
  • The professional curriculum is designed to help students develop the reasoning skills necessary to be resourceful professionals.
  • The department is committed to helping students develop the skills necessary to continue the process of life long learning.
  • Small student-faculty ratio allows close contact between students and faculty. 
  • Faculty are committed to teaching and provide diverse, active learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Students participate in collaborative applied research with faculty members.
  • The diversity of the student population enriches classroom experiences.
  • Scholarship programs are offered for economically disadvantaged students
  • Chicago State University is committed to keeping tuition rates affordable


The Occupational Therapy Program at Chicago State University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449 - (301) 652-AOTA). ACOTE's Web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Graduates of the program will be able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapists 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®) and will be eligible to apply for licensure to practice in Illinois and many other states. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT examination and or attain a state license.

NBCOT Student Outcomes

Between 2010-2012 the Department of Occupational Therapy graduated 33 students who then became eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. Thirty two of these students have taken the NBCOT exam. The total number of graduates who passed the certification examination as first-time new graduate test takers from 2010-2012 was 25 out of 32 which resulted in a pass rate of 78.1%.

Of the 7 students who did not pass the exam, 7 have retaken the exam and passed on a subsequent attempt. Thus our cumulative pass rate for students who first took the exam in 2010-2012,  is 32/32 or 100%.

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