Abstract

The occupational therapy profession in the United States is considering another shift in the level of entry-to-practice education. Currently, all accredited U.S. occupational therapy education programs offer graduate-entry master’s degrees or clinical doctorates. In 2014, the American Occupational Therapy Association Board of Directors published a position statement supporting the idea of moving all entry-level occupational therapy education programs to the clinical doctorate level by 2025. This article provides an overview of the proposed reasons for doing so and the potential impact of this move on future students, education providers, clients and families, employers, and third-party payers and funding bodies along with the implications for the occupational therapy profession internationally. An open, informed, transparent, multiperspective, comprehensive debate about this education paradigm shift is recommended. In August 2015 the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education decided that the entry-level qualification will remain at both the master’s and the doctoral degree; it is anticipated, however, that the move toward the entry-level clinical doctorate will continue.

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