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Why you should become an Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy Overview

Nationally recognized faculty prepare you for a rewarding career in a high-demand field. Help individuals achieve professional and personal growth, and develop skills to lead to more self-sufficient, satisfying lives.

If you want an endlessly rewarding career in Occupational Therapy, Mercy College's Graduate Occupational Therapy (OT) weekend program is for you. We offer a 60 credit, two year, full-time, weekend program with classes scheduled approximately every other weekend. The program incorporates a variety of learning methods including a mixture of lecture, discussion, small group problem solving, hands-on experiences, problem based learning (PBL) and our innovative "learning by doing" philosophy. Our faculty is comprised of occupational therapy practitioners with various specializations, providing Mercy students with first-rate, well rounded instruction. Most faculty members have published within the field and are nationally recognized for their expertise. Students with a bachelor's degree and the required prerequisite courses can apply into the M.S. degree program. Students without a bachelor's degree can apply to the B.S. in Health Sciences Program which includes prerequisites or pre-professional occupational therapy courses. Students apply up to one year in advance of entry into the graduate program.

Occupational Therapy

Career Opportunities

Graduates are prepared as generalists, enabling them to work in a variety of practice settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and regional schools. The Mercy College Occupational Therapy program prepares graduates to work with people of varying diagnosis including people with spinal cord injuries, cancer, strokes, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and many other conditions and illnesses.

Many of our alumni hold leadership roles where they work and have returned to the OT program as PBL facilitators, teaching associates, guest lecturers, and lab assistants.

18% Growth

Career Outcomes
Job growth expected to
rise 18% through 2028* 

$88K Salary

Average Pay
For occupational therapists
in the New York region 

60 Credits 

Total Credits to Earn Your Degree 
Classes in therapy practice, assessments
& research methods

What We Offer
The Mercy Advantage

  • National accreditation from ACOTE
  • Relationships with clinics in NYC and Westchester
  • Weekend format
  • State of the art simulation and learning labs
  • Program completion in 7 trimesters inclusive of 24 weeks of full time clinical fieldwork
Medical Mission to Ecuador
Service Learning @Mercy
Mavericks Making a Difference—School of Health & Natural Science

Program Outcomes

  • Master entry-level proficiencies in occupational therapy knowledge and practice skills with individuals of all ages.

  • Display professional behaviors, cultural competence, ethical values and a commitment to maintaining currency with professional knowledge and practice.

  • Use a dynamic process of inquiry to guide evidence based clinical decisions to competently fulfill the responsibilities of the occupational therapist’s role within a complex and changing health care environment.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to advocate with professional colleagues for diverse populations of clients’ access to health, educational, and rehabilitative services to foster life and community participation.

Frequently Asked Questions

May I speak to students in the program to gain their perspective?

Yes. Many of our current students and alumni have volunteered to speak to prospective students about our program. Please contact the Occupational Therapy program at 914-674-7815 or otprogram@mercy.edu for additional information.

What are the weekends like?

Intense. The amount of information covered in one weekend is equivalent to four to five classes in a traditional program. There are lectures, discussions, small group problem solving and active hands on practice.

What is the admission decision based on?

Your grades in the General Mercy College prerequisite courses (meeting minimum required grades for each course), grade point average, interview, recommendation forms, and written essays. All acceptances are provisional and require successful completion and grade attainment for the Mercy Specific prerequisites with a minimum GPA of 3.0. All Mercy Specific prerequisite courses must be completed prior to entering the program.

What type of student is well suited for a weekend program?

The adult learner who is motivated, self-directed and takes charge of his/her own learning.

Program Details & Curriculum

Credit Overview

Professional Courses: 48 Credits

Clinical Education: 12 Credits

Total: 60 Credits

Occupational Therapy Program Fast Facts

  • Published, nationally-recognized faculty
  • Weekend classes
  • High job placement
  • Strong national pass rates

 

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Occupational therapy is a health, education and rehabilitation profession that helps people maximize potential and build skills that are important for independent functioning, health, well-being and participation in communities. Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages who may need specialized assistance in learning skills to enable them to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives.

Occupational therapy includes: (1) administering and / or interpreting standardized and non-standardized assessments for the purpose of identifying areas of function and/ or dysfunction; (2) evaluation and treatment of motor, cognitive, sensory, psychosocial impairments contributing to difficulty in daily living; (3) customized treatment programs aimed at improving abilities to carry out daily life activities within the home, community, school, or work; (4) comprehensive evaluation of home and job environments and recommendations on necessary adaptations and environmental modifications to prevent injury or enhance independent functioning; (5) design, training and recommendations in the use of specialized tools, adaptive equipment, assistive technology and orthotics; (6) teaching methods that prevent injury or promote and maintain healthy habits and routines; and (7) the provision of consultative, educational or research services.

Occupational therapists work with people experiencing daily living problems that may result from the effects of normal aging, disability or illnesses such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, cancer, autism, cerebral palsy or developmental problems, congenital conditions, and mental illness. Occupational therapists work in a wide range of practice settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities, home health agencies, outpatient rehabilitation programs, psychiatric facilities, private and public schools, community centers and private practices. There are expanding opportunities for occupational therapists in the areas of health promotion and prevention within private practices, industry, social and public or community agencies. 

Program Design

The curriculum is organized around the life-span stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and geriatrics. Concepts related to health, learning, the impact of illness and occupational therapy practice are integrated within each life-span stage. The program provides an intense learning experience and is especially designed for the motivated adult learner.

The program incorporates a variety of learning methods including a mixture of lecture, discussion, small group problem solving, hands on experiences and problem based learning (PBL).

Each life span module is linked to a PBL course where students meet in small groups with a faculty facilitator to discuss clinical cases. The case context drives learning, requires students’ active participation and involvement in the learning process, and reflects the actual process occupational therapists engage in within practice. The cases require students to call upon previous learned knowledge from prerequisite courses, engage in independent and self-directed learning, and use a variety of learning resources. PBL allows students to learn the content specified for the course by applying clinical reasoning and inquiry skills.

Each life-span module is also linked to a Level I Fieldwork course designed to connect theory to practice. Students are assigned to various clinical and community settings for a minimum of seven weekdays each fall and spring trimester.

The Occupational Therapy Program incorporates three strands of knowledge within courses in the curriculum. The strands are 1) the importance of engagement in occupation in promoting health and participation; 2) client centered occupational therapy evaluation and intervention approaches focused on the interaction of the person, environment and occupation; and 3) exploration and application of available evidence based knowledge and information to support critical thinking and clinical decision making. All three strands contain themes that are reflective of the program’s philosophy and mission.

The program provides students with entry-level proficiency in occupational therapy practice with people of all ages, cultures and disabilities. The program places a strong emphasis on encouraging clinical reasoning and critical thinking and is designed to reinforce the self-directed learning style inherent in the professional role. The Occupational Therapy Program is committed to preparing practitioners who can competently fulfill responsibilities of the professional role within a changing health care world.

Course Load

The Master of Science Degree Program in Occupational Therapy is a full-time weekend program that takes approximately two years, four months to complete. The student is required to take nine - eleven credits per trimester. Classes are completed in 5 trimesters and are followed by twenty-four weeks of full-time clinical fieldwork. During the final two trimesters, while completing the Level II fieldwork, the student registers for 4.5 - 5 credits and is considered a part-time student. The required 24 weeks of fieldwork must be completed within 24 months following the completion of the didactic component of the program unless the program Faculty Review Committee grants and extension for extenuating circumstances.

Occupational Therapy Program Goals

  • Students are expected to master entry-level proficiencies in occupational therapy knowledge and practice skills with individuals of all ages. 
  • Students are expected to display professional behaviors, cultural competence, ethical values and a commitment to maintaining currency with professional knowledge and practice. 
  • Students are expected to use a dynamic process of inquiry to guide evidence based clinical decisions to competently fulfill the responsibilities of the occupational therapists role within a complex and changing health care environment.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to advocate with professional colleagues for diverse populations of clients' access to health, education and rehabilitative services to foster life and community participation.

Accreditations

The Mercy College Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) (www.acoteonline.org) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE's phone number is (301) 652-AOTA. Graduates of the Occupational Therapy program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

For further information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, 1 Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, (301) 990-7979. Applicants are also encouraged to contact the State Board of Occupational Therapy in the state they anticipate practicing to investigate any limitations.

Admission Requirements

 

Please refer to the How to Apply link for details on the program's admission process and pre-requisites. Additional information can be obtained from the Program Information Sheet.

 

Program Outcomes

The total number of graduates from Mercy College Graduate Occupational Therapy Program during the three-year period 2018-2020 was 106, with an overall graduation rate of 93%.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2018 35/31 97%
2019 36/34 94%
2020 35/31 89%
TOTAL 106/96 93%

 

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at: https://www.nbcot.org/EN/EDUCATORS/
HOME#SCHOOLPERFORMANCE
.

Employment

Overall, employer surveys indicated that employers are satisfied with Mercy College graduates. Ninety-five percent of employers rated graduates as average or above average. Eighty-five percent indicated that preparation for the current position was good or excellent, with no ratings of "poor." One hundred percent of employers stated they would hire a Mercy graduate in the future.

Technical Standards

The program has adopted a list of Essential Functions that outlines the necessary communication, motor, intellectual/cognitive, and behavioral/social attributes deemed necessary for program completion and clinical practice in the field. The list of these essential functions is available upon request from the program. Students are expected to review this list and sign a form stating that they are or are not capable of performing the skills and abilities listed.

Fieldwork I

Each life-span module is linked to a Level I Fieldwork course designed to connect theory to practice. Students are assigned to various clinical and community settings for a minimum of seven weekdays each fall and spring trimester. Level I Fieldwork in Pediatrics is completed in settings such as children's specialized hospital and rehabilitation centers, private schools, school based practices, special education schools, pediatric units in general hospitals and outpatient clinics. Level I Fieldwork in Adolescence is completed in residential care facilities for children and youth with emotional disabilities or after school programs for impoverished and "at-risk" youth that are located primarily in the counties surrounding the college. Accommodations may be made for students outside of the tri-state area. Level I Fieldwork in Adults is completed with a physically disabled population in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, private practices, outpatient clinics. The final Level I Fieldwork course in Geriatrics is completed in community settings typically in social based adult day programs for individuals with dementia.

Absences of more than one fieldwork day (even if rescheduled) are considered excessive and may result in a non-passing grade for the fieldwork course. Students are expected to attend fieldwork for the entire scheduled day unless they are ill or have extenuating circumstance. Students who are ill should use their judgment when deciding if they should attend fieldwork. Students are required to complete a total of at least seven days of fieldwork each fall and spring term. Students must meet the minimum required hours (forty-two hours) to successfully complete each Fieldwork Level I experience. Students assigned to fieldwork sites that have less than a six hour workday must complete a minimum of 42 hours. Students assigned to sites with six or more hour workdays must complete seven days.

Fieldwork II

A total of 24 weeks of Level II Fieldwork experiences is required for students to graduate and be eligible for national certification and state licensure. This fieldwork is usually completed at the end of the curriculum sequence as two full-time 12-week unpaid placements. Modifications, such as part-time (i.e., 3 day a week schedule) or placement in three practice sites (e.g., 12 weeks in physical disabilities, 8 weeks in pediatrics and 8 weeks in mental health) may be possible depending on a student's GPA, work schedule and availability of fieldwork sites with contracts with Mercy College. Part-time fieldwork experiences may limit the populations and settings in which the fieldwork can be completed and will lengthen the time needed to complete the program, but for some students offers the opportunity to balance education requirements with work or family responsibilities. Specialty or third affiliations are offered in focused areas such as hand rehabilitation or pediatric early intervention after the student completes the basic fieldwork experiences. All fieldwork placements must be successfully completed within 24 months of didactic course work unless the program Faculty Review committee grants and extension for extenuating circumstances. Participating in a Level II Fieldwork frequently involves a commitment commensurate to a full-time job.

 

Cost of Attendance for Graduate OT Program

Items

 
2020 Fall Trimester Year 1
(11 credits)
 
Total Cost of Program
(60 credits)
12/2022
Tuition $11,418.00 $63,214.20*
Mercy Student Fee $204.00 $1,428.00**
OT Program Fees $330.00 $1,590.00**
Books & Supplies $500.00 $2,330.00
Loan  Fees Varies*** Varies***
Distance Ed Fees NA NA
Total $12,452.00 $68,562.20

 

*Illustration based on a 3%  increase annually, however  tuition and fees are subject to change

**College and Program fees are subject to change

***Loan fees are based on the amount borrowed and determined by the loan program the student qualifies for. These fees are paid directly to the lender. 

According to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), cost of attendance is defined as total amount of attending the program, which includes tuition and fees, book, supplies, transportation, loan fees as well as fees associated with distance education


How To Apply to the Occupational Therapy M.S.

Applications for Fall 2022 will be accepted between April 1, 2021 - June 1, 2021. Communicating with an admissions advisor is strongly recommended. Please email Admissions at https://www.mercy.edu/contact-us for information related to admissions requirements and procedures.

1st Step - Completion of Bachelor's Degree

Students must have one of the following in order to apply:

  • An undergraduate degree, with a cumulative prerequisite grade point average of 3.0. Higher grade point averages (General Prerequisites and Cumulative), will make a stronger application portfolio. 
  • At least 90 credits toward an undergraduate degree and completion of the first level of prerequisites, as described in Step 2 below. NOTE: Students must complete their bachelor's degree before beginning the OT Graduate Program. 

2nd Step - Prerequisite Information and Preparing to Apply

There are two levels of prerequisites that must be completed before a student can begin the graduate program.

  • General Prerequisites (1st level of prerequisites completed prior to application) – can be taken as part of other undergraduate coursework and can be taken at any institution.  All General Prerequisites must be completed prior to application with a minimum grade of “C” (exception: a “B” or better in Anatomy and Physiology I & II).  These are listed in the General Prerequisite Coursework tab below.
  • Mercy-specific Prerequisites (2nd level completed prior to beginning the graduate program, if provisionally accepted). All students admitted to the Program are done so on a conditional basis. Students must complete the Mercy Specific prerequisties within one year of acceptance and pass with a minimum GPA of a 3.0 to begin the Graduate program. Students may choose to begin taking Mercy-specific prerequisites before they actually apply to the program. Students interested in this option must speak with the Occupational Therapy Graduate Advisor, who can be contacted at otprogram@mercy.edu.

Please note: Students must apply to the graduate program one full year before they begin graduate coursework. During that year, all of the Mercy-specific prerequisite courses must be completed. 

General Prerequisite Coursework*

General Prerequisite Coursework

Course Name/Content Credits Special Requirements Mercy College Equivalent
Anatomy/Physiology I&II
(Must have at least one campus-basedlab with vertebrae dissection)
8 Grade of "B" or higher to enter Mercy's Anatomy with Cadaver and taken within last 5 years. If less than "B" or over 5 years, a Faculty Review required.  BIOL 130/130A

BIOL 131/131A
Abnormal Psychology 3 Online is acceptable PSYN 312
Developmental Psychology 3 Must cover the entire lifespan; online is acceptable PSYN 233
Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences 3 Statistics course must be at the 200 level or above; online is acceptable BHSC 370
Social & Behavioral Sciences 3 Introduction to Sociology, Anthropology, or Cultural Diversity; online is acceptable  

 

*There are specific requirements for prerequisite course content. Acceptance of the above courses as meeting prerequisite requirements is determined by the Graduate Occupational Therapy Program only, and may be different than what is accepted for credit as part of a typical admissions process at Mercy. The Office of Admissions can answer questions regarding course content. Please complete the “Request for Information” tab if you have questions, and Admissions Counselor will be able to assist you. 

3rd Step - Completing Application Materials

Submit the application portfolio materials to the Graduate Occupational Therapy Program.  Important: Although applicants must have a 3.0 GPA to apply, a 3.4 GPA or higher in prerequisite coursework is strongly recommended for a more competitive application.

It will be important to follow the directions carefully, and include all of the required materials.  Failure to do so may result in your portfolio not being reviewed.

The following information is required:

  • Prerequisite Table completed with the following:
  1. General prerequisites: Identify the institution and term each course was completed, along with final grade
  2. Mercy-specific prerequisites: Identify dates for completion OR anticipated dates for completion for each course, along with final grades, as applicable.
  • A short paper (2 pages) in which the applicant describes and discusses his/her understanding of occupational therapy, and connection to the profession. Cite three current and relevant references. Please use one-inch margins, double spacing, and Times New Roman 12 font. Failure to do so may result in an incomplete review of the applicant’s portfolio.
  • Two references (using Mercy Occupational Therapy Recommendation form)
  • Official transcripts (unofficial is acceptable only if student has a course in progress)
  • Updated résumé
  • Incomplete application may not be considered for admission to the program, as all materials must be present in order for an accurate and fair review to occur.

Interviews

Applications submitted during the application window will be processed and evaluated. Once all portfolios have been evaluated, select students will be invited for an on-campus interview and an onsite writing sample. After interviews are completed, students are either provisionally invited into the program, put on a waitlist , or not invited. Students will be informed of the Admission Committee decisions by the end of August. 

The Application Review/Provisional Acceptance Process

  • Application portfolios will be presented to the program’s Admission Committee.  The final admission decision is based on a combination of GPA, references, interview and written essays.
  • Candidates will be notified regarding their provisional acceptance into the next year’s occupational therapy class by late August. 
  • All acceptances will be provisional, and will not be finalized unless students complete remaining Mercy-specific prerequisites and/or bachelor’s degree courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and a grade of C or better prior to the Fall semester into which they were accepted. 
  • Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $250 at the time of acceptance, which will be applied to the fall graduate tuition payment. 
  • Students must enter the program in the year for which they were accepted.  Any divergence from this policy must be approved through a faculty review.

Mercy-Specific Pre-Requisites

  • After a provisional acceptance into the OT Graduate Program, students must complete Mercy-specific prerequisites listed below in the year prior to beginning the graduate program.
  • Students may choose to begin taking Mercy-specific prerequisites before they actually apply to the program to improve the competitiveness of their application.  Students interested in this option must speak with the Occupational Therapy Graduate Advisor, who can be contacted at otprogram@mercy.edu.
  • Mercy-Specific Prerequisite courses are required to be completed at Mercy College.  However, the Program may consider accepting courses deemed equivalent by the Program.  Students interested in a review of course or courses for transfer must contact otprogram@mercy.edu for specific information regarding procedure for acceptance of transfer credits.
  • Acceptance into the program is competitive.  Achieving the minimum prerequisite grade point average, or completion of the Mercy-specific prerequisites does not guarantee program admission.  
Mercy-Specific Course Terms Offered
HLSC 205 Safety Precautions for the Health Care Professional Fall, Spring and Summer
HLSC 210 overview of Occupational Therapy Fall, Spring and Summer
HLSC 225 Intro to Accessing and Reading Scholarly Literature (optional if >3.5 in bachelors or master's degree) Fall, Spring and Summer
HLSC 402 Scientific Writing (optional if >3.5 in bachelors or master's degree) Fall and Spring
HLSC 344 Group Process for Health Professionals (must obtain a "B-" or better) Fall and Spring
HLSC 302 Pathology for Rehabilitation Fall, Spring and Summer
HLSC 303/303A Human Anatomy with Cadaver Fall, Spring and Summer
HLSC 314 Clinical Kinesiology Fall and Spring
HLSC 410 Applied Neuroscience Spring
HLSC 420 Foundations of Occupational Therapy Spring and Summer

 

Transfer Credits

Mercy Graduate OT courses are required to be completed at Mercy College. However, the Program may consider accepting up to 6 credits of graduate coursework, if deemed equivalent by the Program. Students interested in a review of course or courses for acceptance must contact the Program and complete the procedure to request review for the course or courses they are seeking for transfer, prior to starting the Graduate Program.

Additional Information

Additional information can be obtained from the OT Application Prerequisite Worksheet and OT Program Info Sheet spring 2021