Chatham University

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) FAQs

"What is occupational therapy?"

Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession focused on helping people of all ages to participate in meaningful daily life activities. Occupational Therapists help people achieve "skills for the job of living". Services may include:

For further information about occupational therapy, visit the American Occupational Therapy website at www.aota.org.

"Where are occupational therapists employed?"

Occupational Therapists are employed in a variety of healthcare and community settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health, outpatient clinics, industry, jails, nursing homes, adult day care, early intervention programs and more. With the growing emphasis on wellness and prevention, the role of the occupational therapist is expanding rapidly into the community. For example occupational therapists are working in driver rehabilitation programs, violence prevention for youth, and ergonomics consulting.

"Are there jobs for occupational therapists and what are the typical salaries?"

Yes, there is currently a shortage of occupational therapists in the U.S. As a result, salaries for occupational therapists have increased during the past several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for occupational therapists is expected to increase by 26% between 2008-2018. The mean annual income for occupational therapists was $70,680 in 2009.

"How long does it take to become an occupational therapist?"

Chatham University offers two ways to enter the Master of Occupational Therapy Program. As a Chatham University undergraduate student, you can complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Chatham within only 5 years. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree and have completed the necessary prerequisites, can earn a MOT degree in 22 months (including fieldwork).

"What undergraduate degree do I need to enter the Master of Occupational Therapy Program?"

No specific degree is required. Any bachelor’s degree is accepted as long as the applicant has successfully completed the necessary prerequisites to apply to the Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy Program.

"Is the Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy Program accredited?"

Yes, the Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD, 301-652-AOTA. The Chatham University MOT Program has been accredited since 1996 and received a 10-year reaccreditation in June 2001.

"What are the fieldwork requirements?"

Fieldwork Level I experiences occur throughout the curriculum, allowing students to work with occupational therapists and apply information that they are learning concurrently in the classroom.

Fieldwork Level II placements are full time work experiences that occur during the last 6 months of the program, after the student has completed the academic portion of the curriculum.

"Do you have to do all of your fieldwork in the Pittsburgh area?"

Fieldwork Level I experiences, which take place during the academic portion of the program are located in the Pittsburgh area. However, Fieldwork Level II may occur in any city that the student chooses. Currently the Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy Program has over 360 agreements with fieldwork sites. Every effort is made to arrange contracts to meet individual student needs and preferences.

"Does an occupational therapist need to be certified or licensed?"

All occupational therapists must pass a national examination to be certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy.

"What is the pass rate for your students on the national certification exam?"

For the three most recent calendar years (2010, 2011, and 2012), the performance of the graduates of the occupational therapy program was as follows:

Year Number of Program Graduates Number of first-time test takers Number of first-time test takers who passed the exam Percentage of first-time test takers who passed the exam
2010 23 24 22 92%
2011 31 30 28 93%
2012 37 37 29 78%
Total 3-year 91 91 79 87%


NBCOT Certification Results
Total number of program graduates91
Total number of first-time test takers of the NBCOT certification exam91
Total number first-time test takers who passed the NBCOT certification exam79
First time test taker percentage pass rate87%

"Does Chatham University help graduates to find jobs?"

Yes. Chatham University receives numerous requests from employers who are interested in hiring our graduates. The Master of Occupational Therapy Program maintains a bulletin board of current job opportunities. These are also listed on the Chatham University Career Services website. In addition, all job openings are e-mailed to students while they are on the final semesters of fieldwork. 100% of our graduates who are seeking employment find jobs as occupational therapists.

"How do I apply?"

You may apply online or contact the Office of Admission at admission@chatham.edu or 412-365-1825.

"How soon will I find out if I have been invited to interview for the program, once my application is complete?

The Graduate Admission Office will notify applicants by email approximately 2-4 weeks after the completion of the application.

"What does a typical interview day entail?

You be interviewed by faculty, complete an on-campus writing sample, tour the facility, and have the opportunity to meet with current MOT students.

"Do I need to have all of the prerequisites complete in order to apply?

No, you may have prerequisite courses still in process. They must however be completed prior to matriculation if accepted into the graduate program.  Early Decision applicants must have 3 of the 5 prerequisites completed and we strongly recommend that all Regular Decision applicants complete 2 of the 5 prerequisites before applying.  Please complete the MOT Shadowing & Prerequisite Form.

"May I take prerequisite courses at a community college?

Yes, you may take outstanding prerequisites at a community college or any other accredited school. Online courses are permitted from accredited online programs. Please complete the MOT Shadowing & Prerequisite Form.

"In completing the transcript self-evaluation form, if I have retaken a class does Chatham look at the new grade or the average of both? Should I indicate when and where I will be taking prerequisites I have not yet completed?

Chatham takes the newer or better grade for your prerequisite coursework. Yes, you should indicate when you will be taking any outstanding prerequisites and include where, if you have that information. Please use our MOT Shadowing & Prerequisite Form.

"Can I make an appointment to learn more about the program and see the campus?

We offer group informational appointments with an admission counselor on Monday at 10:30am. You must schedule an appointment as space is limited. To schedule an appointment please contact Mary Schmidt, Admissions Receptionist, at mschmidt@chatham.edu or 412-365-1825.

"Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Feel free to contact the Office of Graduate Admission, 412-365-1825 or gradadmissions@chatham.edu.

"Where can I find information about financial aid and tuition rates?"

Just contact the Chatham University Office of Financial Aid at (412) 365-2781 or visit the Financial Aid Website for information on financial aid and tuition rates. You can also access useful links such as FAFSA at this website.

"What is unique about the Chatham University MOT Program?"