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Occupational Therapy Degree Program
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

The profession of occupational therapy appeals to people who enjoy thinking creatively and flexibly to solve problems and who value working with a diverse group of individuals in their life activities. Occupational therapists assist people of all ages with disabilities to perform activities important in their daily lives. These activities may include self-care, work, education, or play and leisure. Occupational therapists work with people who have physical illness or injury, social or emotional difficulties, congenital or developmental problems, or who are in need of preventative strategies to enhance health and well-being.

Occupational therapy (OT) services focus on increasing independence, enhancing development, providing compensatory strategies, and minimizing or preventing disability. Therapists adapt activities and environments, select therapy activities meaningful to clients, and provide client and caregiver education. For example, an OT may teach adaptive dressing techniques to a client who has lost use of her hand following a stroke, help a child with autism interact with peers, or modify a computer for a young adult with a spinal cord injury returning to work.

Occupational therapists practice in rehabilitation centers, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, private practice, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, and community health programs. The most common work settings for occupational therapists are school systems (34.4%), hospitals (25.3%), and long-term care facilities (13.4%). The current and future job outlook for occupational therapists is excellent.

Program Description

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Division of Occupational Therapy offers a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program that is a professional entry-level program designed to follow the completion of a four-year bachelor's degree. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) ( Program graduates earn a Master of Occupational Therapy degree and are eligible to take the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Program Mission

Our purpose is to prepare entry-level occupational therapists to provide skilled and effective services to diverse individuals and populations in a variety of practice settings. We foster the use of sound clinical reasoning and holistic approaches to address occupational performance in life activities. We are committed to educational excellence, high ethical standards, and respect for diversity.

Five Reasons to Attend the UW Master of Occupational Therapy Program

  1. The excellence of our program is widely recognized with a ranking of 14th in the nation by US News & World Report (2016).
  2. We have outstanding program outcomes with 100% of 73 total UW Master of Occupational Therapy students in the past 3 years graduating and passing the national certification examination. Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at
  3. UW MOT classes are small, with just 24 students in a typical cohort, providing the benefits of personal attention from expert faculty and strong camaraderie among students. We facilitate a collaborative classroom and program climate with all students, faculty, and staff working together to develop and sustain a supportive Community of Learning. Our unique position within a Department of Rehabilitation Medicine gives our students the opportunity to take foundational interdisciplinary courses taught by expert faculty in medicine, allied health, and basic sciences with students from other allied health disciplines. Our full-time Academic Fieldwork Coordinator works closely with all students on their Fieldwork I and II placements.
  4. All UW MOT students complete a year-long capstone Graduate Project in the community where they work in small groups to develop and implement programs that would benefit from occupational therapy expertise and perspectives in response to needs identified by community facilities. Click on the poster icon on the right to view posters of recent projects.
  5. Graduates of the UW Occupational Therapy Program are qualified for Educational Staff Associate (ESA) Certification in the State of Washington, so they can take jobs working with children in the Washington State public school system after graduation without additional training.

Program Accreditation


The University of Washington's entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

The most recent Accreditation Standards for a Master’s-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist became effective July 31, 2013. The ACOTE Standards state as a preamble: “The rapidly changing and dynamic nature of contemporary health and human services delivery systems requires the occupational therapist to possess basic skills as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, researcher, and advocate for the profession and the consumer.”

Accreditation through this national professional organization ensures that our graduates meet national standards for becoming highly skilled occupational therapists. Our program received a 10-year certificate of accreditation in 2011; these are granted to programs that have no areas of noncompliance and have demonstrated exceptional educational quality. Annual written reports for the program are submitted every year and the next full accreditation self-study report and on-site accreditation visit will be held in 2021.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Examination

Graduates of the program are 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) and become eligible for state licensure. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

In the three academic-year period from 2015/16-2017/18, 100% of the students in the University of Washington Occupational Therapy Program graduated from the program and passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. As per the table below, during this time period, there was a total of 73 graduates. Since the inception of the University of Washington MOT program, 100% of the very few program graduates who did not pass the certification examination as first-time test takers passed successfully on a repeated attempt. Certification exam results can also be found at:

Graduation Year Students Entering/ Graduating Graduation Rate
2015-16 24/24 100%
2016-17 24/24 100%
2017-18 25/25 100%
TOTAL 73/73 100%

An individual who is considering entering, or who has already entered, an occupational therapy educational program can have his/her background reviewed prior to actually applying for the exam by requesting an Early Determination Review. Each early review case is reviewed on an individual basis. After NBCOT has completed its review, the individual is notified in writing regarding whether he/she will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam, provided all eligibility requirements are met.

For further information, see:
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
800 S. Frederick Avenue, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
Phone: (301) 990-7979

State Licensure

The State of Washington requires that all occupational therapists hold a license to practice. Permanent licensure is issued only after the State Regulatory Board receives a passing score for the National Certification Examination. Graduates may begin work before passing the exam by obtaining a limited permit until they are eligible for permanent licensure. All states require licensure; however, requirements for licensure may vary from state to state.

To learn more about the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Washington, please explore the links below:

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