Doctor of Occupational Therapy program receives Higher Learning Commission approval

Occupational therapy patient tossing ball

Hanover College is launching a new hybrid, accelerated Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program as it continues to grow in the graduate health care space.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has formally approved the College’s doctoral program, which will allow students and faculty to live anywhere in the United States while they complete a two-year degree in less time than most traditional occupational therapy programs.

The HLC approval is exciting and reaffirms the OTD team’s confidence related to their current and future work that will support students as they begin their journey to become occupational therapy practitioners,” said Sheri Montgomery, program director for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

Hanover’s OTD program will create opportunities for students to become highly skilled occupational therapists with a strong foundational understanding of the profession and the tools to apply critical-thinking skills and evidence-based practices to their interactions with clients resulting in improved occupational engagement and participation in meaningful activities.

During the first year of the program, students will spend 25 percent of their time on campus participating in lab immersion sessions and fieldwork. In the second year, students will be placed in a practice near their community to complete their fieldwork experience and capstone project. The remainder of their time will be composed of online learning in asynchronous and synchronous class experiences.

The two-year program aims to lower student debt and increase accessibility by allowing students to enter the workforce earlier with a doctoral degree and learn from wherever they live.

The occupational therapy field is growing rapidly, with more than 10,000 job openings projected each year. Occupational therapists make, on average, $85,570 per year while helping their clients regain daily tasks and activities.

Hanover is also seeking accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for its OTD program. Students will be notified of their acceptance to the program when the College receives candidacy status with ACOTE in Fall 2023.

Hanover’s first OTD program cohort will begin Jan. 6, 2024. Applications for the program will be accepted through Nov. 30, 2023. The College’s OTD program has rolling admission, and interested students are encouraged to apply early.

To learn more about the program, email Briann Ussin, admission advisor, at or visit the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) website.

The launch of the OTD program is Hanover’s next step toward its mission to offer innovative graduate education through hybrid, accelerated health care programs. The College successfully launched its first doctoral-level degree program in more than 100 years in 2020. Similar to the OTD program, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is a two-year hybrid, accelerated program.

The DPT program has enrolled 170 students from across the country. The first cohort will graduate in 2023.