Occupational Therapy Student Handbook

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Introduction to the Occupational Therapy Handbook

Congratulations on your acceptance into the New York Institute of Technology's Occupational Therapy (OT) Program. We are pleased that you have chosen occupational therapy as your profession. It is an exciting time to begin your graduate academic career, which will provide you with what you need to enter into the OT profession. We welcome you to an exciting future career.

This Student Handbook was developed to provide you with specific information related to the Department of Occupational Therapy. On the following pages you will find essential information needed to assist you in your successful completion of this program. The following Occupational Therapy Student Handbook is provided as a supplement to your New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Catalogs, the NYIT Student Handbook, the NYIT Student Code of Conduct, and the Academic Catalog.

Please keep this Student Handbook in a secure place as you will be required to refer to it throughout your academic career at NYIT. It is recommended that you print out this handbook and obtain a three-ring binder to secure its pages. It is highly recommended that you save this Student Handbook on your desktop, laptop or on a flash drive.

Please note that you are expected to be aware of all the content in this handbook and abide by it throughout your time in the Occupational Therapy Program. During the Summer orientation session you will be asked to acknowledge receiving this handbook in writing. Please make sure you read all of the pages of this handbook and understand the content in its entirety.

This handbook supplements, for occupational therapy students, the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Catalogs, the NYIT Student Handbook, the NYIT Student Code of Conduct, and serves as an introduction to important information needed in order to succeed in the professional program. It contains information about the faculty (with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses), the practice of occupational therapy, the academic program, including the mission, philosophy and graduation requirements, the Department of Occupational Therapy Advisory Board, student rights and responsibilities, professional organizations, the portfolio, professional development and the occupational therapy code of ethics. In short, it is a reference tool to be consulted during the entire course of study. A separate Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual is also provided and provides important information about this crucial aspect of your training. These documents all are of assistance in making the transition from classroom to occupational therapy practice. The student is responsible for all of the information contained in these sources. Details are subject to change. Students will be notified if changes occur.

The answers to many questions are in the college graduate and undergraduate catalogs, including information about admissions, financial aid, course and grade requirements; (note: grade requirements differ for occupational therapy students from those for students in other majors), registration, enrollment, tuition and fees, physical facilities (including information about the three NYIT campuses), libraries, maps and travel directions and the academic calendar. You can also access the NYIT Web Site for information, including updates on school closings, etc..

The basic college core courses, sciences and liberal arts are covered during the preparatory phase of the program, or for the post-baccalaureate student, in undergraduate work. In the professional phase, the student is immersed in the study of the literature of occupational therapy theory and practice, as well as numerous laboratory classes to develop the skills needed for the required fieldwork. (Please refer to the NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual for detailed information about the fieldwork experiences.)

This handbook is designed to assist you during your time in the program and it includes information about academic policies specific to students majoring in occupational therapy, professional development, student responsibilities, and services. However, it is not intended to replace basic college policy documents or personal contact with the advisor who is available by appointment. All Department of Occupational Therapy faculty members can be reached by telephone at the Department number: 516.686.1058.

Greetings from the Dean

As the Dean of the School of Health Professions, I would like to personally welcome you to the occupational therapy program at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). The occupational therapy program was established in September 1996 as a bachelor's level program with a cohort of forty students admitted as freshmen. The program later transformed to a Master's level and graduated the first group in 2003. Today, it continues to flourish as we develop new curriculum to ensure that our students represent the best in the field. As you begin your journey toward your ultimate goal of becoming a health professional, faculty and staff is there to help you along the way.

The pre-professional combined BS/MS occupational therapy program requirements include NYIT core courses, along with those in behavioral and life sciences. Students entering NYIT with a baccalaureate degree and the required courses are admitted directly into the MS portion of the program which includes five full semesters and two summer semesters of intense didactic study. Thirty-two weeks of supervised full time fieldwork in carefully selected clinical settings in the community are required to complete the degree requirements.

The professional portion of the program combines the demands of the liberal arts, the rigors of the sciences, the challenges of the professional courses and the performance standards of fieldwork, all designed to prepare the student for entry-level practice. The occupational therapy student must be able to master college level work while undergoing the process of professional socialization. The goal is to provide students with educational experiences that will allow them to grow into individuals equipped to take on the roles and carry out the functions of an occupational therapist.

The NYIT faculty and staff are committed to student success. This handbook is only one of many resources that can support you in the transition from student to professional. Other resources are available to ensure your achievements while in the program. Access to these is described in this handbook, as well as in other publications mentioned in the introduction.

As you move through the various aspects of the program, know that my door is always open. Stop by to say hello whenever you are in the area. I know you will succeed as you were selected through a rigorous process that identifies only the best students. You are about to join an elite group of professionals who have a passion for their field and the patients they serve. We'e here – come join us.


Patricia M. Chute, Ed.D., CCC-A
School of Health Professions

Welcome From The Program Director

The faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy welcomes you to the occupational therapy program. We are excited you decided to join us and start your journey of becoming an occupational therapist. Throughout your time here at NYIT, we will work together in preparing you for being an entry-level occupational therapist through our comprehensive curriculum.

This program has two main components: didactic learning and fieldwork training. In the didactic portion of the program, you enroll in classes where you lean the basic theoretical, medical, and clinical foundations of occupational therapy. As a graduate-level student you are expected to commit to acquiring the knowledge offered in these courses and assuming the responsibility of making the most of your learning experience.

The fieldwork training part of the program allows you to apply and transfer the knowledge acquired earlier in the program in clinical settings with various levels of professional supervision. Skills of evidence-based decision making, problem solving, and clinical reasoning will all come into play in this stage. This is a great portion of the program where not only do you develop your clinical skills as a therapist but also create professional networks with colleagues and other therapists in the occupational therapy field.

Being an occupational therapist necessitates being a professional first, which requires a different set of skills. These include skills of communication, time management, decision making, and interdisciplinary team playing. Other characteristics are imperative at this point to including commitment, flexibility, respect, and resourcefulness to name a few.

Remember … your future clients, their families, and fellow therapists count on you to do your part, and trust that you are well-prepared to do your job, so make sure you do whatever it takes to live up to their expectations and handle this responsibility.

Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Associate Professor
Program Director and Department Chairperson

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Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure Notice


The occupational therapy program at New York Institute of Technology was initially granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) on April 28, 2012, and reaccredited by that agency for seven years in academic year 2011-2012 to 2018-2019. The program is approved by the New York State Education Department to grant a BS degree in Life Science for the Health Professions, Occupational Therapy option and the MS degree in Occupational Therapy.

Accreditation by ACOTE of an academic program is essential for graduates in order to be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam. The results of this examination are used by most states, including New York, in considering an applicant for licensure to practice. Detailed information is available on their web sites: ACOTE and NBCOT.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) can be contacted at the American Occupational Therapy Association: P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-1220; 301.652.2682, accred@aota.org.

National Certification Examination Requirements

The National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) administers the certification examination for graduates of accredited programs in occupational therapy. Upon completion of all graduation requirements, the student may be eligible to sit for the certification examination administrated by the NBCOT. The results of this examination, along with certain other criteria, are used by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as well as by most other states to determine eligibility for licensure.

Students are recommended for graduation upon satisfactory completion of all academic and clinical education requirements. The following are required:

  • satisfactory completion of all required courses
  • overall graduate GPA of 3.0
  • filing of a completed application for graduation
  • bursar account clearance
  • recommendation of the occupational therapy faculty and chairperson

Once the student is cleared for graduation, s/he may apply for a temporary license to practice (see Licensure, below). For detailed information on the NBCOT Certification Exam application process, consult the NBCOT website at www.nbcot.org, and/or Appendix A.


In order to practice as an occupational therapist, a person must be licensed by the state in which s/he practices. Licensure laws vary from state to state; therefore, it is the student's responsibility to familiarize him/herself with the licensure requirements in the state s/he plans to practice.

Licensure to practice occupational therapy in New York State is granted by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), which reviews the applicant's: 1) academic credentials (i.e. college must certify that the student has satisfactorily completed all college requirements for the degree), 2) performance on the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) Certification Examination (see National Certification Examination Requirements, above), and 3) personal qualifications. NYSED reviews applicant's personal qualifications through a series of questions that help determine whether the applicant is of good moral character, e.g. "Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country?" and "Have you ever been charged with a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country, the disposition of which was other than by acquittal or dismissal?" A "yes" answer requires a complete explanation, including copies of any court records.

For more detail about the licensure procedures, please contact New York State Education Department at their website. The NYSED can be reached at otbd@mail.nysed.gov or 518.474.3817, ext. 100.

Note: Applicants to the School of Health Professions should be aware that certain legal issues and/or convictions may preclude a student from being accepted by clerkships, internships and/or fieldwork and impact the student's ability to successfully complete the program and achieve certification and/or licensure.

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Introduction to Program Foundations


The mission of the NYIT Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare effective and ethical practitioners representing diverse backgrounds, whose skills in delivering occupation-based services and research are developed using a range of learning strategies and technologies.


NYIT's Department of Occupational Therapy faculty are committed to delivering and continuing to build a graduate program curriculum that fosters the ACOTE Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education within a community of occupation-based learning. The curriculum:

  • Rests on the belief that humans are complex and occupational beings who are always evolving through change and adaptation;
  • Is guided by moral principles and respect for others in responding to societal needs;
  • Engages students, faculty and the greater community in interactive dialogue;
  • Addresses the broad areas of the humanities, behavioral and life sciences;
  • Includes didactic occupational therapy professional courses and clinical experiences that are grounded in the constructs of occupation and occupational performance.

Through these means, NYIT occupational therapy students are prepared to become entry- level, evidence-based generalists who practice ethically and with compassion.

The Practice of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is the art and science of helping people perform the day-to-day activities that are important and meaningful to their health and wellbeing through the engagement in valued occupations. Occupation, in occupational therapy, is defined by Wilcock and Townsend, as cited in Schell, Gillen, and Scaffa, (2014) " …to mean all the things that people want, need, or have to do whether of a physical, mental, social, sexual, political, or spiritual nature… "

The occupational therapist uses oral and written communication skills, the understanding of normal human growth and development, family dynamics, cultural influences and organizational/managerial/financial strategies. A therapist may select and/or design and construct devices that assist the client in the performance of activities or which protect or replace a body part, and train the client in the use of the device. Positioning, environmental adaptations (home, work, community, school, organization, and population), and the provision of technology and/or equipment are also part of the occupational therapist's role.

The occupational therapy student learns how to analyze activities into their component parts, and modify and grade activities to meet the needs of the client. Students have the opportunity to gain skills in the areas of group dynamics, problem solving, clinical reasoning, activity and task analysis, assistive technology and physical modalities, while developing therapeutic use of self. The student will learn how to improve the lives of clients, using clinical reasoning guided by evidence-based practice, i.e., best-practice as guided by evidence produced through rigorous research. As one experienced practitioner said, "What we do looks very simple; what we know is very complex."

Professional accountability is critical to ensure competence and is achieved through accreditation, certification, licensure and supervision. Occupational therapists are guided in their work by the profession's Code of Ethics (see Appendix B) and are committed to a lifetime of continued professional education.

Philosophy of the Curriculum Design

Pragmatism is the philosophy that underlies the design of the occupational therapy curriculum. It takes a holistic approach, view's mind and body as integrated, and posits the growth of knowledge through action, experience and communication. Pragmatism unites science and philosophy in the understanding of human occupation (Brienes, 1987).

Students encounter the ideas of pragmatism through active learning, which enables them to experience first-hand how human occupation is influenced by the growth of knowledge, change and adaption, by history and time and the continuity between elements of change. The process of reflection is essential in active learning, supporting the critical inquiry of occupation through the integration and synthesis of knowledge. (Hooper &Wood, 2002).

Strands and Threads of the Curriculum

The OT Master's program curriculum is designed to prepare students to become generalist entry-level practitioners. This is a program where each experience builds on the next and each semester builds on the previous one. This program consists of five semesters and two summers of didactic graduate study and 32 weeks of full-time supervised clinical experience. Both didactic and clinical experiences are scaffolded upon five strands of knowledge:

  • Science:
    Prerequisite undergraduate courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics and graduate health science in the professional phase
  • Humanities:
    Prerequisites in philosophy and the social and psychological sciences
  • Applied Science:
    The occupational therapy theory course sequence (five courses)
  • Clinical Science:
    Research sequence (three courses) leading to the Masters' thesis
  • Clinical Skills:
    Eight practice courses in mental health and physical disabilities as well as clinical fieldwork affiliations

Woven through the five strands are five thematic threads that strengthen the curriculum and support the program's mission and goals:

  • Client-centered Practice:
    The role of the occupational therapist in client-centered practice is to be engaged by the individual to assist with the achievement of personal goals in occupational performance (Law, 1998).
  • Cultural Competence:
    Cultural competence is a developmental process consisting of five elements: cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters and cultural desire (Nochajski & Matteliano, 2008)
  • Ethical Interaction:
    Interaction with the client in a way that follows the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (2010).
  • Active Learning:
    A process where learners are actively engaged in doing and participating in the educational environment through a range of teaching strategies such as Problem Based Learning (Scaffa &Wooster, 2004).
  • Critical Inquiry:
    Questioning assumptions, beliefs, values, considering multiple points of view, and synthesizing this knowledge in learning (Mezirow, 2004).

Program Goals

The OT program's goals are in alignment with the NYIT Mission and the OT Department Mission. They are established to:

  • Offer an OT program that meets and exceeds professional standards and integrates experiential learning throughout the curriculum;
  • Strengthen the quality of the occupational therapy program through collaboration with other health professional programs in inter-professional and interdisciplinary initiatives;
  • Model exemplary professional behavior through engagement and participation in university, school, professional organizations, and with the community;
  • Promote diversity and equality;
  • Integrate assessment results to achieve continuous quality improvement, and to adapt the program to meet current and anticipated needs of students and society;
  • Contribute to the profession's body of knowledge by conducting research relevant to occupational therapy;
  • Integrate a range of learning strategies and state of the art technology throughout the curriculum to promote innovation in occupational therapy and research.

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes describe what a graduate from the MS OT program will be able to do:

  • Demonstrate excellent communication skills in clinical documentation, client interactions and presentation of occupation-based practice.
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from the humanities and sciences as a foundation for understanding occupation across the lifespan in a global society.
  • Describe and explain the basic tenets of occupational therapy including the history, philosophy, and the occupational therapy framework.
  • Describe and explain relevant occupational therapy theories, models, and examine frames of reference.
  • Select, utilize and interpret appropriate screening and evaluations based on client needs, available evidence, theoretical perspectives, models of practice and frames of reference.
  • Create and implement intervention plans designed to facilitate occupational therapy practice appropriately.
  • Analyze differences among various contexts of service delivery and adapt occupational therapy practice accordingly.
  • Apply the principles of organizational management and supervision in the provision of occupational therapy services.
  • Use research literature to make evidence-based decisions, and conduct original occupational therapy research to contribute to the professions body of knowledge.
  • Understand and apply the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics in occupational therapy practice.
  • Identify the range of technologies used in occupational therapy and explain their implementation for use in practice.
  • Demonstrate strong abilities to work collaboratively on teams.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence.
  • Advocate for issues that relate to the field of occupational therapy locally, nationally and globally.
  • Demonstrate entry-level competence as occupational therapy generalists in each fieldwork placement.

NYIT Occupational Therapy Faculty and Staff


Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Program Director
Chairperson and Associate Professor
Riland, Room 333

Kelly A. Lavin, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Riland, Room 343

Melanie Austin-McCain, MPA, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 361

Ellen Greer, PhD, OT/L, LP
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 334

Christina Finn, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 343

Robert G. Gallagher, MBA, DC
Associate Professor
Riland, Room 362

Jessica Triola, MA
Administrative Assistant
Riland, Room 333

Other Important Information

Occupational Therapy Department Address:
New York Institute of Technology
Northern Blvd., P.O. Box 8000
Riland Building, Room 333
Old Westbury, NY 11568-8000


Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Associate Professor and Program Director
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BSc in Occupational Therapy, University of Jordan
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, University of Pittsburgh
  • PhD, in Occupational Therapy, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Hamed graduated with a Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked in different clinical areas including mental health and neurological disorders. Hamed has taught several courses in occupational therapy such as research methods, psycho-social disorders, clinical reasoning, management and leadership, and neurological dysfunctions. She has had a number of research articles and projects regarding the adaptation of assessment tools for OT practitioners, and the exploration of the effect of environment on well-being and functioning in a number of clinical populations. Hamed has submitted, and is currently working on obtaining, research grants to understand the rehabilitation of individuals with substance abuse.

Kelly A. Lavin, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, New York Institute of Technology
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, Boston University
  • OTD Candidate, Boston University, expected graduation 2015

Professor Lavin has over thirteen years of clinical occupational therapy experience working with children with various developmental and physical disabilities in early intervention, preschool and school based settings. She developed a school based occupational therapy program for the Wantagh UFSD and served as their lead therapist for eleven years. She also served as their fieldwork educator. Professor Lavin currently maintains her clinical practice as an early intervention specialist and evaluator for the Hagedorn Little Village School and is certified as an early intervention provider through the New York State Early Intervention Program. Professor Lavin is active in her professional associations.

Melanie Austin McCain, MPA, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, NYIT
  • MPA in Healthcare Policy and Non-Profit Management, Baruch College, CUNY
  • Clinical Health and Fitness Instructor candidate, American College of Sports Medicine
  • OTD, Temple University

Dr. Austin-McCain's experience includes clinical behavioral health services and program development in community-based settings. Dr. Austin-McCain developed the clinical OT program, Parent Center and staff wellness programs at Henry Street Settlement. Her research interests focus on leadership and health promotion for youth, student-athletes, women and underserved populations. She is the founder of community wellness and prevention programs for at risk youth and women's empowerment. Dr. Austin-McCain was inducted in the NYIT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ellen Greer, PhD, OT/L, LP
Assistant Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BA in Education, City University of New York
  • MA in Occupational Therapy, New York University
  • PhD in Occupational Therapy, New York University

Dr. Greer has extensive clinical experience in mental health in both individual and group practice from early to elder years. She is a qualitative researcher interested in examining how individuals transform adversity into creative occupations when living with illness and/or social injustices. Dr. Greer is author of "Women's Immersion in a Workfare Program: Emerging Challenges for Occupational Therapists".

Christina Finn, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, University of Scranton
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, University of Scranton
  • Ed.D candidate, University of New England, expected graduation 2018

Professor Finn has 10 years of experience in all areas of physical rehabilitation across the spectrum of care, including acute care, inpatient, and outpatient rehabilitation. She has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with a various neurological conditions, with a specialty in visual, vestibular and perceptual rehabilitation. She has presented to various health care professionals on the topic of vision rehabilitation and its impact on daily living skills and has developed vision rehabilitation training modules for occupational therapists in a large academic medical center. Professor Finn has co-authored articles in vision and fine motor coordination as well as post-concussion syndrome for OT Practice. Her current research interests include mild traumatic injury, visual perceptual skills, and development of clinical reasoning and professional behaviors in occupational therapy students. Professor Finn is an active member of AOTA and WFOT.

Robert G. Gallagher, MBA, DC
Associate Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Accounting, St. John's University
  • MBA in Finance, St. John's University
  • DC, New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Gallagher has maintained a chiropractic and personal training practice for the past 25 years. His focus has been on rehabilitation, and strength and conditioning. He is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner. He has certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Gallagher has been teaching in the health and fitness field for 20 years

Jessica Triola, MA
Administrative Assistant,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BA in Psychology, Minor in Sociology
  • MA in Psychology, Adelphi University

Ms. Triola received her Master's in psychology from Adelphi University. She has a long experience in administration and managing academic operations. She is a great asset to the faculty members and the department. She manages the department daily operations including students issues, scheduling, communication with different NYIT offices, arranging student activities and coordination with different departments in the school.

Department Of Occupational Therapy Advisory Board

The Department of Occupational Therapy's newly-developed advisory board is comprised of a group of volunteers with diverse backgrounds and an interest in providing input to the program. The members include students, practitioners, consumers, vendors and alumni who are invited to serve by the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Membership in Professional Organizations

Professional associations set standards for the profession and work for the practitioner in a number of ways: professional meetings, advocacy, lobby activities, continuing education, information, consultation, publications, product discounts, group insurance, grants, loans, scholarships and the opportunity for professional growth and recognition.

Students in a professional program are encouraged to join, at student rates, the organizations that represent and support the profession. Membership allows the student to vote on matters of importance to the profession and to become acquainted with student members from other schools at local, state, national and international meetings.

NYIT Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

SOTA is a NYIT student organization. The organization provides opportunities to meet fellow students, get to know the faculty and become involved in professional activities. In addition to fund raising activities (to help send students to professional meetings and sponsor educational programs), there are regular meetings for both educational and social events. Membership and participation in the organization maximizes the school experiences, as the student takes on a professional role through SOTA activities

New York State Occupational Therapy Association

The New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) mission "…is to promote the profession of occupational therapy and to represent the occupational therapy practitioners who work and live in New York State." NYSOTA, 119 Washington Avenue, 2nd floor Albany, NY 12210 Phone: 518-462-3717 Fax: 518-432-5902) www.nysota.org has eight districts throughout the State; membership in the state association is through the districts. The Long Island District and the Metropolitan District serve this area.

American Occupational Therapy Association

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the oldest health professional society. The mission of AOTA is to "…advance the quality, availability, use, and support of occupational therapy through standard setting, advocacy, education, and research on behalf of its members and the public." One of the primary objectives of AOTA is to promote high professional standards and the continuing competence of occupational therapy practitioners throughout their careers. Being an AOTA member is an excellent way to learn how to become an active participant in the profession. 4720 Montgomery Drive, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-1220. (301) 652-2682. Web Site: www.aota.org


Organized in 1951 in Liverpool, England, WFOT has as its mission the promotion of standards for occupational therapy education, maintenance of ethics of the profession and the promotion of standards of practice through an international exchange of information. Membership is obtained through the American Occupational Therapy Association. www.aota.org. The WFOT web site is www.wfot.org.

General Information


It is the responsibility of each student to maintain a current residential address and phone number on file with the Department of Occupational Therapy. The department will not be held responsible for consequences incurred due to address changes that are not reported.


Students are required to have access to a computer in order to access educational resources utilized throughout the curriculum. Additionally, students are expected to check their official NYIT email daily for communications from NYIT faculty and staff. There are numerous computer labs on campus; please refer to the NYIT website for the locations of these labs.


There are various copier machines located throughout campus (e.g. the library, computer labs in Harry Schure Hall). Copy machines in the Riland Building are not available for student use.


Students will be issued lockers upon request. Contact the Department of Occupational Therapy Administrative Assistant in order to get the locker assignment. Students must comply with the regulations regarding use of lockers. Depending upon enrollment, students may have to share a locker with another student.


The Department of Occupational Therapy's faculty and staff mailboxes are located in Room 363 in the Riland Building. Occupational therapy students also have one shared mailbox in this room should faculty members or staff have to leave them any mail.


Permission from the instructor is required prior to audio or video taping any class.

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Curriculum Description and Requirements

Overview of MS Occupational Therapy Curriculum

OT Degree Map

Technical Standards

All applicants for admission into the occupational therapy major are required to review the program's Technical Standards at the time of the admission interview and to inform the faculty during the interview if there are any pre-admission concerns. The student is obligated to report to their faculty advisor any change in status during the course of study that may interfere with learning. Please see Appendix C.

Graduation Requirements

Students are recommended for graduation upon satisfactory completion of all academic and clinical education requirements. The following are required:

  • Satisfactory completion of all required courses.
  • Overall graduate GPA of 3.0.
  • File a completed application for graduation with the Student Enrollment Center.
  • Bursar account clearance. Recommendation of the occupational therapy faculty and program director.

It is important to know that the student advisor is available for help and guidance, but the student assumes final responsibility for conforming to all college regulations and curriculum requirements. This means that the student must make certain that transfer credit has been documented for all courses, and that grades are entered for all courses taken in advance of graduation. A student's failure to follow up on transfer credit could result in a delay in documentation of eligibility for a temporary license to practice (from the New York State Department of Education), or to sit for the NBCOT examination.


Fieldwork experiences are central to the professional development of the occupational therapy student by exposing him/her to a variety of practice settings and populations. NYIT's Department of Occupational Therapy has a curriculum where fieldwork experiences complement classroom experiences so that the student may have the opportunity to integrate clinical theory into practice.

In Level I Fieldwork the student begins to integrate academic learning with clinical practice through direct observation. It is a required component of a course each fall and spring semester, with the exception of the third professional year (See Curriculum Overview). If a student fails to pass Level 1 fieldwork, a grade of "F" will be assigned to the course. The student will be required to decelerate/step out of the occupational therapy program and retake the course the next time it is offered (the following academic year). Upon successful complete of the re-taken course, the student may be admitted back into the program.

Level II Fieldwork is designed to immerse the student into occupational therapy's culture and process. In order to progress to each Level II fieldwork, the student MUST pass all required coursework prior to that Level II Fieldwork. The student is required to pass a total of three Level II Fieldworks:

  • Level II (12 weeks)
  • Level II (12 weeks)
  • Level II (8 weeks)

Students must pass fieldwork in order to progress to the next level of professional studies.

The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator develops contracts with those clinical sites that meet the criteria for student supervision. Placements are made through the office of the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Students may be required to find and pay for travel and housing at out-of-town sites if there are not a sufficient number of slots in the local area. Students will not be placed in a fieldwork setting if not properly registered and/or the completed Fieldwork Packet was not submitted.

Under no circumstances are students to contact any fieldwork site to find an assignment; rather, information about prospective sites is to be referred to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.


All students are required to submit a completed packet of information in a single submission to the Department of Occupational Therapy's Academic Fieldwork Coordinator by the end of the first week of each fall semester. The packet should include the following:

  • Basic Life Support (CPR Card for the Healthcare Professional with AED)
  • Copy of Health Insurance Card
  • HIPAA Training Certificate
  • Personal Data Form
  • Student Health Evaluation (with immunizations, including PPD within one year)
  • Blood-borne Pathogens/Infection Control Certificate
  • Student Authorization Form
  • Pre-clinical Orientation

Failure to provide a completed packet, to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, by the due date will result in the student's name being taken off of the fieldwork assignment roster.

Students must retain original copies of these documents since the Department of Occupational Therapy will not provide copies to the student from files. Additionally, students must bring a complete copy of their fieldwork packet to the facility the day of interview or the first day of fieldwork.

Other Requirements

Blood-Borne Pathogens & Infection Control Certificate. Students must pass a mandatory course in Infection Control and Hepatitis, which will take place prior to the first day of Level I Fieldwork.

Criminal Background Checks. Be aware that placement in some fieldwork sites may require the student to submit to a background check and/or fingerprinting. The facility will notify student if s/he is financially responsible for these background checks.

CPR Certification. Students must obtain certification in Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Professional with AED. Training is available through the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, and some hospitals.

Health Insurance. Students must provide documentation of health insurance coverage prior to clinical fieldwork placements, which begins the first professional year. The cost of medical care is the responsibility of the student. Students may purchase a basic sickness plan.

HIPAA Certificate. Students must receive a certificate in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prior to the first day of Level I Fieldwork.

Immunizations. The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator will review the special requirements for working in fieldwork settings well in advance, so that the necessary immunizations can be completed prior to beginning the assignment. The student is responsible for the cost of these immunizations. Once in the professional phase of the program, the student will be required to submit an annual medical clearance form to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Note that the immunization requirements exceed those of the college for students not in the Health Professions programs. Immunizations may include:

  • Measles, mumps and rubella titer test or immunization
  • Varicella titer test or immunization
  • Tetanus booster (within 10 years)
  • Mantoux TB screening
  • Hepatitis B vaccine series completed or initiated, positive titer, or a student-signed waiver

Membership to NYSOTA. Students are required to join the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA), the state's professional association. Membership is FREE for students.

Membership to AOTA. While not required, it is highly recommended that student join the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the nation's professional association. Membership for students is at a reduced rate.

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Curriculum Policies and Procedures

Academic Standards and Policies


The ARC reviews, and approves, the roster of students prior to entering the first year of the professional program and the roster of candidates advancing to the second and third professional years of the program.

Students whose academic performance falls below Department standards, or who violate the college Code of Conduct or the profession's Code of Ethics or who display unprofessional behaviors , will be presented to the Department Academic Review Committee for consideration of remediation and/or sanctions. This is an advisory committee that is assembled and meets on an as-needed basis. The members of the ARC are faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy, and other college faculty within the School of Health Professions.

The student is given the opportunity at the ARC meeting to discuss the prevailing issue under review and present information about mitigating circumstances.

The recommendations of the ARC are carefully considered by the Program Director who generates a report of the findings, which is reviewed and signed by the student.

Academic Standards (NYIT Graduate Catalog)

Because of the rigorous nature of the program, students cannot expect to work while enrolled full time.

Academic Criteria

The following criteria must be met throughout the professional phase of the Occupational Therapy Program:

  • Maintain a 3.0 graduate grade point average each semester.
  • Have no grade below C in any course. Students who score below a C are given an F in the course.
  • Satisfactory professional conduct.

Academic Probation

Automatic academic probation is imposed under the following circumstances:

  • Graduate GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester.
  • Cumulative graduate GPA falls below 3.0.

Academic Dismissal/Failure

A student may be dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program for any of the following reasons:

  • Semester graduate GPA falls below 3.0 in any two semesters.
  • Overall graduate GPA falls below 3.0 in two consecutive semesters.
  • The student receives a grade of F in any course. At the discretion of the Academic Review Committee, students may be given the opportunity to repeat the course the following year (without progressing in the program), provided they were not already on probation, and/or there are no professional behavioral concerns.
  • A second F is earned at any time throughout the curriculum.

Non-Academic Dismissal/Failure

Students may be dismissed from the program for the following non-academic reasons:

  • Academic dishonesty/plagiarism
  • Behavior endangering others' safety or well-being
  • Disrespectful behavior towards faculty, staff, students, and others
  • Unprofessional conduct as defined by the professional behaviors delineated in the NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy Student Handbook
  • Unexcused absences/lateness
Grading Standards/Procedures

Students in the graduate program (i.e., the professional phase of the program) must have an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 in order to graduate. Refer to the NYIT Graduate Catalog (Grading, Maintenance of Academic Status and Honors section) to review the grading and quality point systems, which differ from the undergraduate system in several important details. Refer to Academic Probation and Failure/Dismissal below.

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Numerical Grade
F69 and below

Grade Rounding Policy: The Department of Occupational Therapy has a "no rounding" policy. Each grade, including the final grade, is calculated at two respective decimal points and the resultant grade is not rounded up or down. For example, a grade of 84.89 would result in a final grade of a "B".

  • Level II Fieldwork is graded on a pass-fail basis, i.e. a grade of either "P" or "F". Incomplete (I) Please refer to NYIT Graduate Catalog for more information on an incomplete grade.

Consult the college catalogs for information about grade appeals and calculation of the graduate GPAs (Grade Point Average).

Academic Advisement

New students in the professional phase are assigned an advisor (a faculty member) whom will counsel in regards to academic progress and professional behaviors. "The student's advisor is available for help and guidance, and the advisor's signature is required on each registration, but the student assumes final responsibility for conforming to all college regulations and curriculum requirements"

Students must register for their first semester in person, during the scheduled registration hours. After the first semester, students will be advised, and then will register online. Should problems arise; the advisor can be reached by telephone or e-mail. Program changes can only be made with permission and the signature of the advisor.

Academic Integrity

Student integrity is a matter of concern in all educational settings. However, it is of particular concern in the health professions because of the special responsibilities that a health professional has toward clients. Therefore, plagiarism in a health professions program is a clear marker of student integrity, is a matter of grave importance. The NYIT Academic Senate adopted on May 18, 2000, the following statement for inclusion on all syllabi:

"Plagiarism is the appropriation of all or part of someone else's work (such as, but not limited to writing, coding, programs, images, etc.) and offering it as one's own. Cheating is using false pretenses, tricks, devices, artifacts or deception to obtain credit on an examination or in a college course.

If a faculty member determines that a student has committed academic dishonesty by plagiarism, cheating, or in any other manner, the faculty member may 1) fail the student for that paper, project, assignment, project and/or examination, and/or 2) fail the student for the course and/or 3) file a formal charge of misconduct pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct Academic Probation and Suspension" (p. 53, NYIT 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog).


Assignments, Examinations, Tests and Quizzes

All written work must be typed, proofread and in APA style (6th edition). Unacceptable written assignments will be returned to the student to be rewritten and the student's grade will be lowered. All assignments must be handed in on or before the due date. Late assignments will not be accepted unless a prior written request is approved and signed by the course instructor. Written assignments will be graded on content, presentation (neatness, clarity, creativity, scope [i.e., addressing all parts of the assignment]) and on form (spelling, punctuation, grammar, and appropriate citations).

All reading assignments must be completed prior to the class meeting. Not all of the assigned reading will be covered during class time, but the student is responsible for the material. The instructors reserve the right to give unannounced quizzes.

Assignments not handed in on time will receive a grade reduction based upon the following:

  • 20% reduction in assignment grade starting at 1 day late to 5 days late.
  • 40% reduction in assignment grade starting at 6 days late to 10 days late.
  • No assignment will be accepted after 10 days late and will be given a grade of zero (0).

Note: This will be based on the postmark, email date/time, faxed date/time, or the date the assignment is brought to the instructor/OT administrative assistant. Assignments brought into the OT office must be signed and dated by the administrative assistant or faculty. It is the STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY to insure that the course instructor receives the assignment. Timeframes for this late policy are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Students are required to attend all classes and to be on time. There are no unexcused absences allowed. Unexcused absences and tardiness are viewed as a lack of professionalism, and will lead to a lowered grade and/or dismissal from the Program. Any student unable to attend class is required to call or email the instructor PRIOR to class and leave a message where s/he may be reached at a later time that day. The student is solely responsible for making up the missed work and assignments. Records of class attendance, tardiness, absence emails and phone calls are kept in the student's file. Please refer to the attendance policy in the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Occupational Therapy Student Manual.

  • No "make up" exams will be allowed without proper documentation (for extenuating circumstances only) or prior approval. Do not ask for exceptions to this policy.
  • If a student misses a test or exam without previously contacting the instructor, the situation will be reviewed by the faculty and may result in a grade of "F" for that test or exam.

Educational Materials

All textbooks/software are costly; those dealing with medical subjects are especially expensive. However, the school years provide an opportunity for the student to set up a personal professional library that will prove of value for much longer than the semester of the course for which a book is purchased. Course instructors take this into consideration in the selection of texts and other materials.

Laboratory Classes

The laboratory courses provide a venue in which to practice skills. Students are required to attend all classes, to take care of the equipment, to participate in cleanup and to respect the tools and materials in terms of safety, maintenance and cost. Part of the grade for the lab work will be for the evidence of competence in the way that lab work is organized and executed.

Departmental Grievances

If you have a complaint about a course or a professor, and have not reached a satisfactory resolution with the professor, you should next speak with the Chairperson. A complaint form is available, with a copy provided in the Appendix. If necessary, you should provide supporting documentation as indicated relating to the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, you would then make an appointment with Dean of the School of Health Professions, whose office is located in the Riland Building, third floor. If the issue still remains unresolved, you may contact the Office of Student Affairs.

Safety Issues

Throughout your academic and clinical education, you will be oriented to the issue of safety not only regarding the patients, but also for yourself as you practice and eventually work as an OT. The following will be addressed:

  • Patients' Bill of Rights
  • Safe and proper handling, lifting, and transferring techniques of patients
  • Safety issues involved in treatment techniques, including indications and contraindications, especially regarding electrical modalities
  • Confidentiality of patient information, medical records, statements made during work
  • OSHA and handling of blood borne pathogens
  • Proper use of body mechanics
  • Safety concerns during a practical examination or during a clinical affiliation experience may be grounds for failure.

Professional Behaviors and Standards

Code of Ethics

Students are expected to adhere to the profession's Code of Ethics and to maintain confidentiality. See Appendix B: The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010)

Professional Etiquette
  • Computers and other electronic devices: Computers in the classroom environment should be used for note taking or instructor approved activities only. Web surfing, social media, etc. are not allowed and will result in loss of computer/tablet/smart phone privileges.
  • Breaks: Students should take advantage of formal breaks offered during lengthy classes. Only in rare instances, should it be necessary for a student to leave and return to the classroom.
  • Punctuality: Students should be on time to class and stay the entire session. If the student is going to be late or needs to leave early, arrangements should be made with the instructor prior to class. See absentee section for more information.
  • Cell Phones: All cell phones must either be switched off, or kept on vibrate or the silent mode during class sessions. Text messaging or taking calls during class or fieldwork assignment is not allowed.
  • Visitors: The program has a no guest policy. This is in keeping with the NYIT policy that states that students who are not enrolled in the course may not audit or attend classes.
  • Conversations: If students have questions, they should ask them at appropriate times, and should avoid talking and participating in other conversations during classes.
Professional Dress and Personal Appearance

It is important that the student be prepared to dress and groom professionally when assigned to clinical work. This means that students in the program must dress professionally for class. Most clinical settings allow slacks for women. Clean sneakers may be acceptable. Sandals can be hazardous; only closed toe shoes are considered professional. It is not appropriate to wear dangling jewelry or rings or long fingernails, which may interfere with the frequent hand washing required and which can present safety hazards in the operation of tools and equipment and the threat of transmission of infection. Makeup and hairstyles should be conservative. The hair must be styled so that it does not have to be brushed off of the face while working. Men are expected to be appropriately shaven. (Some clinical work may require the use of masks and gowns in order to prevent the spread of infection.) Students may be required to wear a white lab coat or lab jacket with the school insignia sewn onto the left sleeve while on a fieldwork assignment. In addition, the student must wear a nameplate or a photo ID. Some fieldwork facilities provide a temporary ID to be worn during the clinical assignment.

General Policies


There are Technical Standards that describe the essential functions of the occupational therapy student at NYIT. However, special programs exist to assist students who are not native English speakers or have a documented learning disability. When a student applies for special accommodations, s/he must contact the disabilities compliance coordinator. Speak to your student advisor if you would like more information about these programs.

Code of Conduct

The college Code of Conduct sets minimum standards for NYIT students. The standards for professional programs incorporate these standards and, in certain areas of behavior, are somewhat higher, reflecting expectations for behavior expected of a professional in the health field. (See Appendix A: Professional Development Form).


Your student materials, grades, records, and files are considered to be privileged and confidential information. They are stored and locked when not in use in file cabinets within the Occupational Therapy Department. They are only accessible to Occupational Therapy faculty and clerical staff. No information from your record is given either verbally or in writing without your written consent. Only information generated by NYIT may be released only when proper authorization has been secured.

Leave of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence from the occupational therapy program. The request must be made in writing to the Department's Program Director. The Program Director will review the request, and provide the student with a written approval or denial of the request. A leave of absence shall be granted for a maximum of one year. The student needs to notify the program director prior to the first day of registration for the semester s/he intends to return, based on curriculum design

Sexual Harassment Policy

There is an updated policy on Sexual Harassment. Please refer to the NYIT Student Handbook.

Student Evaluation of Faculty and Courses

Students are required to provide on-going feedback on courses and faculty. Careful thought should go into these evaluations so that there are data to support modifications or changes.

Professional Development

Professional Development Feedback

Professional education is made of up four major areas: (1) the educational foundation provided by the required core courses or undergraduate prerequisites, (2) the knowledge and skills provided by the sciences and occupational therapy courses, (3) supervised fieldwork and (4) the process of socialization into the profession, the most subtle, and, probably the most critical, in assuring success as an occupational therapist.

This process is embedded in everything that you do as a student because the educational program provides the venue for the acquisition of behaviors that are the mark of a professional. Mastery of these performance skills is fundamental, and is a prerequisite to Level I fieldwork placement.

To help in measuring progress toward professional development, an appraisal form has been designed, based on a number of instruments in the literature. This form is to be used at the end of each semester by each student as a self-rating form and by your professors in the professional courses. In your advisement sessions, you will have the opportunity to review the form, comparing your self-appraisal with the ratings by your teachers. By watching your growth during your school years, plans can be made for appropriate learning experiences to maximize professional development. The form is self-explanatory, and provides a guide to professional growth.

Satisfactory professional development, as measured on the Professional Development Form and In-Class Professional Behavior Form, is a program requirement. Students who fail to demonstrate the required skills will be provided with guidance and may have points deducted off their final grade in a specific course in order to assure that they meet the established criteria. Failure to improve after faculty intervention could be grounds for dismissal, even if the student is meeting the academic requirements. See Appendix D for the Professional Development Form and the In-Class Professional Behavior Form.


An excellent way to participate in tracking professional development is through the active use of a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of materials (papers, photographs, audio/video tapes, projects or samples of projects) that document competencies, credentials, skills and work experience. It is really a fleshed out, three dimensional version of a great resume. Getting into the portfolio habit will serve professionals well throughout life through the careful, judicious documentation the acquisition of new experiences and skills, and arrival at landmarks in both personal and career development.

Getting started is often a problem because of inertia, but maintenance of effort, that is, keeping the portfolio up to date, is even a greater challenge. At NYIT, occupational therapy students get a jump start on the portfolio, because of the requirement to share the portfolio with a faculty member at least once a year, or more often. Occupational therapy students are required to present a carefully prepared professional portfolio. See Appendix E for a guide on how to make your professional portfolio.

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Student Resources

College Identification Cards

Students are issued ID cards that are required to use the certain library materials (e.g. books and laptops), and computer facilities. The student must carry the card at all times while on campus.

Student Officers

Each year, each class will elect a president, vice president and secretary. These students will introduce and discuss any general student issues that may be present (e.g. broad issues related to the curriculum).

Graduation Awards

The Department of Occupational Therapy may present as many six awards at graduation:

  • Academic Performance Award: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department upon the graduating student with the highest overall grade point average.
  • Fieldwork Performance Award: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department upon the graduating student who received the highest scores on the AOTA Fieldwork Performance Evaluation from OCTH 690 and OCTH 790.
  • Leadership Award: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department upon the graduating student whose outstanding extracurricular activities reflect dedication to the students & faculty of the occupational therapy program and to the NYIT community at large.
  • Research Award: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department for outstanding scholarship in design, development, and execution of a research project.
  • The Hermine Plotnick Award to the Outstanding All-Around Student: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department upon the graduating student whose outstanding extracurricular, classroom, laboratory, and clinical performance provide a model for balance in occupational performance.
  • Professional Development Award: Conferred by the Faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department upon the graduating student who has demonstrated career development consistent with the highest standards of the profession.

Honor Societies

  1. The Alpha Eta Society – The National Scholastic Honor Society for Allied Health Professionals.
    • Alpha Eta Honor Society was established in 1975. It is the national scholastic honor society for the allied health professions, consisting of approximately 12,000 members and 77 chapters in colleges and universities nationwide. Its purpose is to promote and recognize significant scholarship, leadership and contributions to the allied health professions. Student candidates must be enrolled in the last year of their academic program and have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.8. 2.Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE)
    • Pi Theta Epsilon is a specialized honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. The society recognizes & encourages superior scholarship among students enrolled in professional entry-level programs at accredited educational programs across the United States. The mission of Pi Theta Epsilon is to promote research and scholarship among occupational therapy students.


The OT program has scholarship opportunities with the New York Board of Education that may be available to qualifying students. In addition, scholarships may be available from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, the New York State Occupational Therapy Association and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Students will be alerted to any other scholarship opportunities that are shared with the department.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a resource available to the NYIT community that provides assistance with any writing assignment, e.g. term papers and thesis. You simply make an appointment with them. They are located in Balding House, room 100. For more information, visit their website at http://www.nyit.edu/writing_center or 561.686.7557.

Counseling and Wellness Center

The Counseling and Wellness Center offers short-term counseling to NYIT students who may be experiencing personal, social, or academic concerns. Licensed professional counselors assist students in developing greater self-understanding as well as strategies for effective problem solving to enhance personal development and academic success. The Center offer workshops, lectures, and student leadership training throughout the semester. For more information, visit their website at http://www.nyit.edu/administrative_offices/counseling_wellness.

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Appendix A: Certification/Licensure Procedures

New York State Licensure and National Certification for the Occupational Therapist

This is the information that you will need in order to be able to get a limited permit or a license in New York State in order to accept a job offer to work as an occupational therapist. Please note: You will NOT be able to take a job as an occupational therapist immediately upon completion of all course work. The licensure process involves several different agencies, and it can take as long as two to three weeks for papers to be processed in EACH of the agencies. If you are offered a job, let the prospective employer know that it may take a number of weeks for you to provide the documentation needed in order for you to practice.

The student, within designated time frames, must complete the following procedures. It is the student's responsibility to contact the NBCOT (National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists) and NYSED (New York State Education Department) web sites in order to obtain complete, current, and accurate information related to licensure and certification procedures, guidelines, and deadlines.

  1. Complete all requirements for graduation
  2. Check that all grades are posted
  3. Go to NYIT Registrar's office to determine if all requirements for graduation have been met and are posted in the system after checking your records on nyit connect
  4. Fill out NYS Form 2 in NYIT Registrar's office
  5. File form 2 with NYSED
  6. Use the NBCOT web site to file for the certification examination


  • All requirements for graduation: Coursework is complete (course requirements satisfied with passing grades; overall graduate GPA 3.0 or higher; no grade below a C in occupational therapy courses); grades posted by NYIT Registrar; bursar account satisfied; no "holds"; i.e., library fines, etc.
  • You can access your curriculum map on the Internet using your NYIT ID number (NYIT Connect). If there are any problems, contact the registrar's office immediately for correction. Make certain that all courses used for transfer credit are posted.
  • You can file for a temporary permit if you have a job offer prior to taking the certification examination. You will have to re-file for the license after passing the certification examination. You may also file for the license after passing the examination, rather than getting the temporary permit, if you do not want to work right away.


Licensure and Limited Permits: A person cannot work as an occupational therapist until s/he has either a limited permit or a license. Licensure and limited permits are granted by the state in which a person will practice. In New York State, contact the New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of Professions for applications and information: 518-474-3817(http://www.op.nysed.gov). Students who have been offered jobs prior to taking or passing the NBCOT exam may apply for a limited permit by submitting an application (Form 2). The prospective employer and supervisor must co-sign the limited permit application. If Form 2 is used for a limited permit (the document which allows a person to practice while waiting to take the certification examination) a second Form 2 must be filed after passing the examination.

Registration (National): Graduates must pass the National Certification Exam administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists. For information contact http://www.nbcot.org Please allow two-weeks from the time fieldwork grades are submitted to request official transcripts from the NYIT Registrar's Office. Confirm, with the Registrar's Office to be sure that your request has been processed and mailed to NBCOT two-weeks after you have filed your request.


  1. Satisfactory completion of academic coursework
  2. Begin fieldwork
  3. Satisfactory completion of Fieldwork
  4. Hand deliver FWE and Student Evaluation of Site Forms SIGNED AND DATED ORIGINALS to the NYIT OT Department the first business day after completing fieldwork.
  5. When ALL forms are received (approx 1-4 weeks later) the OT Fieldwork Coordinator submits grades to the Registrar. The Chair of the OT Department generates a letter verifying names of all students who have completed the requirements for graduation. This letter is sent to NYSED, a requirement for obtaining New York State limited permits.
  6. Almost immediately after grade submissions by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, the grades are posted which means that the Registrar is able, at the student's request to send final student transcripts.
  7. The student may go on-line at any time to find out if the fieldwork grades have been posted.
  8. Once the student has a firm job offer, the student can bring the NYSED form to the job site to have the form signed by the licensed occupational therapist who will be supervising the graduate.
  9. At this time, the student can go IN PERSON to request that an official NYIT form is sent to NYSED and a second official transcript is sent to NBCOT stating that all requirements for graduation have been met.
  10. Graduates should plan to take the Certification examination as soon as eligible.


Best of luck on the certification examination and the job search!

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Appendix B: The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010)


The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) ("Code and Ethics Standards") is a public statement of principles used to promote and maintain high standards of conduct within the profession. Members of AOTA are committed to promoting inclusion, diversity, independence, and safety for all recipients in various stages of life, health, and illness and to empower all beneficiaries of occupational therapy. This commitment extends beyond service recipients to include professional colleagues, students, educators, businesses, and the community.

Fundamental to the mission of the occupational therapy profession is the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of participation in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings. "Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well being, and quality of life" AOTA, 2004). Occupational therapy personnel have an ethical responsibility primarily to recipients of service and secondarily to society.

The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) was tailored to address the most prevalent ethical concerns of the profession in education, research, and practice. The concerns of stakeholders including the public, consumers, students, colleagues, employers, research participants, researchers, educators, and practitioners were addressed in the creation of this document. A review of issues raised in ethics cases, member questions related to ethics, and content of other professional codes of ethics were utilized to ensure that the revised document is applicable to occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students in all roles.

The historical foundation of this Code and Ethics Standards is based on ethical reasoning surrounding practice and professional issues, as well as on empathic reflection regarding these interactions with others (see e.g., AOTA, 2005, 2006). This reflection resulted in the establishment of principles that guide ethical action, which goes beyond rote following of rules or application of principles. Rather, ethical action is a manifestation of moral character and mindful reflection. It is a commitment to benefit others, to virtuous practice of artistry and science, to genuinely good behaviors, and to noble acts of courage.

While much has changed over the course of the profession's history, more has remained the same. The profession of occupational therapy remains grounded in seven core concepts, as identified in the Core Values and Attitudes of Occupational Therapy Practice (AOTA, 1993): altruism, equality, freedom, justice, dignity, truth, and prudence. Altruism is the individual's ability to place the needs of others before their own. Equality refers to the desire to promote fairness in interactions with others. The concept of freedom and personal choice is paramount in a profession in which the desires of the client must guide our interventions. Occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and researchers relate in a fair and impartial manner to individuals with whom they interact and respect and adhere to the applicable laws and standards regarding their area of practice, be it direct care, education, or research (justice). Inherent in the practice of occupational therapy is the promotion and preservation of the individuality and dignity of the client, by assisting him or her to engage in occupations that are meaningful to him or her regardless of level of disability. In all situations, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students must provide accurate information, both in oral and written form (truth). Occupational therapy personnel use their clinical and ethical reasoning skills, sound judgment, and reflection to make decisions to direct them in their area(s) of practice (prudence). These seven core values provide a foundation by which occupational therapy personnel guide their interactions with others, be they students, clients, colleagues, research participants, or communities. These values also define the ethical principles to which the profession is committed and which the public can expect.

The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) is a guide to professional conduct when ethical issues arise. Ethical decision making is a process that includes awareness of how the outcome will impact occupational therapy clients in all spheres. Applications of Code and Ethics Standards Principles are considered situation- specific, and where a conflict exists, occupational therapy personnel will pursue responsible efforts for resolution. These Principles apply to occupational therapy personnel engaged in any professional role, including elected and volunteer leadership positions.

The specific purposes of the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) are to

  1. Identify and describe the principles supported by the occupational therapy profession.
  2. Educate the general public and members regarding established principles to which occupational therapy personnel are accountable.
  3. Socialize occupational therapy personnel to expected standards of conduct.
  4. Assist occupational therapy personnel in recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas.

The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) define the set of principles that apply to occupational therapy personnel at all levels:


  • Recipient of service: Individuals or groups receiving occupational therapy.
  • Student: A person who is enrolled in an accredited occupational therapy education program.
  • Research participant: A prospective participant or one who has agreed to participate in an approved research project.
  • Employee: A person who is hired by a business (facility or organization) to provide occupational therapy services.
  • Colleague: A person who provides services in the same or different business (facility or organization) to which a professional relationship exists or may exist.
  • Public: The community of people at large.


Principle 1. Occupational therapy personnel shall demonstrate a concern for the well- being and safety of the recipients of their services.

Beneficence includes all forms of action intended to benefit other persons. The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). Forms of beneficence typically include altruism, love, and humanity. Beneficence requires taking action by helping others, in other words, by promoting good, by preventing harm, and by removing harm. Examples of beneficence include protecting and defending the rights of others, preventing harm from occurring to others, removing conditions that will cause harm to others, helping persons with disabilities, and rescuing persons in danger (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009).

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Respond to requests for occupational therapy services (e.g., a referral) in a timely manner as determined by law, regulation, or policy.
  2. Provide appropriate evaluation and a plan of intervention for all recipients of occupational therapy services specific to their needs.
  3. Reevaluate and reassess recipients of service in a timely manner to determine if goals are being achieved and whether intervention plans should be revised.
  4. Avoid the inappropriate use of outdated or obsolete tests/assessments or data obtained from such tests in making intervention decisions or recommendations.
  5. Provide occupational therapy services that are within each practitioner's level of competence and scope of practice (e.g., qualifications, experience, the law).
  6. Use, to the extent possible, evaluation, planning, intervention techniques, and therapeutic equipment that are evidence-based and within the recognized scope of occupational therapy practice.
  7. Take responsible steps (e.g., continuing education, research, supervision, training) and use careful judgment to ensure their own competence and weigh potential for client harm when generally recognized standards do not exist in emerging technology or areas of practice.
  8. Terminate occupational therapy services in collaboration with the service recipient or responsible party when the needs and goals of the recipient have been met or when services no longer produce a measurable change or outcome.
  9. Refer to other health care specialists solely on the basis of the needs of the client.
  10. Provide occupational therapy education, continuing education, instruction, and training that are within the instructor's subject area of expertise and level of competence.
  11. Provide students and employees with information about the Code and Ethics Standards, opportunities to discuss ethical conflicts, and procedures for reporting unresolved ethical conflicts.
  12. Ensure that occupational therapy research is conducted in accordance with currently accepted ethical guidelines and standards for the protection of research participants and the dissemination of results.
  13. Report to appropriate authorities any acts in practice, education, and research that appear unethical or illegal.
  14. Take responsibility for promoting and practicing occupational therapy on the basis of current knowledge and research and for further developing the profession's body of knowledge.


Principle 2. Occupational therapy personnel shall intentionally refrain from actions that cause harm.

Nonmaleficence imparts an obligation to refrain from harming others (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). The principle of nonmaleficence is grounded in the practitioner's responsibility to refrain from causing harm, inflicting injury, or wronging others. While beneficence requires action to incur benefit, nonmaleficence requires non-action to avoid harm (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). Nonmaleficence also includes an obligation to not impose risks of harm even if the potential risk is without malicious or harmful intent. This principle often is examined under the context of due care. If the standard of due care outweighs the benefit of treatment, then refraining from treatment provision would be ethically indicated (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009).

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Avoid inflicting harm or injury to recipients of occupational therapy services, students, research participants, or employees.
  2. Make every effort to ensure continuity of services or options for transition to appropriate services to avoid abandoning the service recipient if the current provider is unavailable due to medical or other absence or loss of employment.
  3. Avoid relationships that exploit the recipient of services, students, research participants, or employees physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially, socially, or in any other manner that conflicts or interferes with professional judgment and objectivity.
  4. Avoid engaging in any sexual relationship or activity, whether consensual or nonconsensual, with any recipient of service, including family or significant other, student, research participant, or employee, while a relationship exists as an occupational therapy practitioner, educator, researcher, supervisor, or employer.
  5. Recognize and take appropriate action to remedy personal problems and limitations that might cause harm to recipients of service, colleagues, students, research participants, or others.
  6. Avoid any undue influences, such as alcohol or drugs, that may compromise the provision of occupational therapy services, education, or research.
  7. Avoid situations in which a practitioner, educator, researcher, or employer is unable to maintain clear professional boundaries or objectivity to ensure the safety and well-being of recipients of service, students, research participants, and employees.
  8. Maintain awareness of and adherence to the Code and Ethics Standards when participating in volunteer roles.
  9. Avoid compromising client rights or well-being based on arbitrary administrative directives by exercising professional judgment and critical analysis.
  10. Avoid exploiting any relationship established as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant to further one's own physical, emotional, financial, political, or business interests at the expense of the best interests of recipients of services, students, research participants, employees, or colleagues.
  11. Avoid participating in bartering for services because of the potential for exploitation and conflict of interest unless there are clearly no contraindications or bartering is a culturally appropriate custom.
  12. Determine the proportion of risk to benefit for participants in research prior to implementing a study.

Autonomy and Confidentiality

Principle 3. Occupational therapy personnel shall respect the right of the individual to self-determination.

The principle of autonomy and confidentiality expresses the concept that practitioners have a duty to treat the client according to the client's desires, within the bounds of accepted standards of care and to protect the client's confidential information. Often autonomy is referred to as the self-determination principle. However, respect for autonomy goes beyond acknowledging an individual as a mere agent and also acknowledges a "person's right to hold views, to make choices, and to take actions based on personal values and beliefs" (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009, p. 103). Autonomy has become a prominent principle in health care ethics; the right to make a determination regarding care decisions that directly impact the life of the service recipient should reside with that individual. The principle of autonomy and confidentiality also applies to students in an educational program, to participants in research studies, and to the public who seek information about occupational therapy services.

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Establish a collaborative relationship with recipients of service including families, significant others, and caregivers in setting goals and priorities throughout the intervention process. This includes full disclosure of the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes of any intervention; the personnel who will be providing the intervention(s); and/or any reasonable alternatives to the proposed intervention.
  2. Obtain consent before administering any occupational therapy service,including evaluation, and ensure that recipients of service (or their legal representatives) are kept informed of the progress in meeting goals specified in the plan of intervention/care. If the service recipient cannot give consent, the practitioner must be sure that consent has been obtained from the person who is legally responsible for that recipient.
  3. Respect the recipient of service's right to refuse occupational therapy services temporarily or permanently without negative consequences.
  4. Provide students with access to accurate information regarding educational requirements and academic policies and procedures relative to the occupational therapy program/educational institution.
  5. Obtain informed consent from participants involved in research activities, and ensure that they understand the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes as a result of their participation as research subjects.
  6. Respect research participant's right to withdraw from a research study without consequences.
  7. Ensure that confidentiality and the right to privacy are respected and maintained regarding all information obtained about recipients of service, students, research participants, colleagues, or employees. The only exceptions are when a practitioner or staff member believes that an individual is in serious foreseeable or imminent harm. Laws and regulations may require disclosure to appropriate authorities without consent.
  8. Maintain the confidentiality of all verbal, written, electronic, augmentative, and non- verbal communications, including compliance with HIPAA regulations.
  9. Take appropriate steps to facilitate meaningful communication and comprehension in cases in which the recipient of service, student, or research participant has limited ability to communicate (e.g., aphasia or differences in language, literacy, culture).
  10. Make every effort to facilitate open and collaborative dialogue with clients and/or responsible parties to facilitate comprehension of services and their potential risks/benefits.


Principle 4. Occupational therapy personnel shall provide services in a fair and equitable manner.

Social justice, also called distributive justice, refers to the fair, equitable, and appropriate distribution of resources. The principle of social justice refers broadly to the distribution of all rights and responsibilities in society (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). In general, the principle of social justice supports the concept of achieving justice in every aspect of society rather than merely the administration of law. The general idea is that individuals and groups should receive fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society. Occupational therapy personnel have a vested interest in addressing unjust inequities that limit opportunities for participation in society (Braveman & Bass-Haugen, 2009). While opinions differ regarding the most ethical approach to addressing distribution of health care resources and reduction of health disparities, the issue of social justice continues to focus on limiting the impact of social inequality on health outcomes.

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Uphold the profession's altruistic responsibilities to help ensure the common good.
  2. Take responsibility for educating the public and society about the value of occupational therapy services in promoting health and wellness and reducing the impact of disease and disability.
  3. Make every effort to promote activities that benefit the health status of the community.
  4. Advocate for just and fair treatment for all patients, clients, employees, and colleagues, and encourage employers and colleagues to abide by the highest standards of social justice and the ethical standards set forth by the occupational therapy profession.
  5. Make efforts to advocate for recipients of occupational therapy services to obtain needed services through available means.
  6. Provide services that reflect an understanding of how occupational therapy service delivery can be affected by factors such as economic status, age, ethnicity, race, geography, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, culture, and political affiliation.
  7. Consider offering pro bono ("for the good") or reduced-fee occupational therapy services for selected individuals when consistent with guidelines of the employer, third-party payer, and/or government agency.


Principle 5. Occupational therapy personnel shall comply with institutional rules, local, state, federal, and international laws and AOTA documents applicable to the profession of occupational therapy.

Procedural justice is concerned with making and implementing decisions according to fair processes that ensure "fair treatment" (Maiese, 2004). Rules must be impartially followed and consistently applied to generate an unbiased decision. The principle of procedural justice is based on the concept that procedures and processes are organized in a fair manner and that policies, regulations, and laws are followed. While the law and ethics are not synonymous terms, occupational therapy personnel have an ethical responsibility to uphold current reimbursement regulations and state/territorial laws governing the profession. In addition, occupational therapy personnel are ethically bound to be aware of organizational policies and practice guidelines set forth by regulatory agencies established to protect recipients of service, research participants, and the public.

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Be familiar with and apply the Code and Ethics Standards to the work setting, and share them with employers, other employees, colleagues, students, and researchers.
  2. Be familiar with and seek to understand and abide by institutional rules,and when those rules conflict with ethical practice, take steps to resolve the conflict.
  3. Be familiar with revisions in those laws and AOTA policies that apply to the profession of occupational therapy and inform employers, employees, colleagues, students, and researchers of those changes.
  4. Be familiar with established policies and procedures for handling concerns about the Code and Ethics Standards, including familiarity with national, state, local, district, and territorial procedures for handling ethics complaints as well as policies and procedures created by AOTA and certification, licensing, and regulatory agencies.
  5. Hold appropriate national, state, or other requisite credentials for the occupational therapy services they provide.
  6. Take responsibility for maintaining high standards and continuing competence in practice, education, and research by participating in professional development and educational activities to improve and update knowledge and skills.
  7. Ensure that all duties assumed by or assigned to other occupational therapy personnel match credentials, qualifications, experience, and scope of practice.
  8. Provide appropriate supervision to individuals for whom they have supervisory responsibility in accordance with AOTA official documents and local, state, and federal or national laws, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines.
  9. Obtain all necessary approvals prior to initiating research activities.
  10. Report all gifts and remuneration from individuals, agencies, or companies in accordance with employer policies as well as state and federal guidelines.
  11. Use funds for intended purposes, and avoid misappropriation of funds.
  12. Take reasonable steps to ensure that employers are aware of occupational therapy's ethical obligations as set forth in this Code and Ethics Standards and of the implications of those obligations for occupational therapy practice, education, and research.
  13. Actively work with employers to prevent discrimination and unfair labor practices, and advocate for employees with disabilities to ensure the provision of reasonable accommodations.
  14. Actively participate with employers in the formulation of policies and procedures to ensure legal, regulatory, and ethical compliance.
  15. Collect fees legally. Fees shall be fair, reasonable, and commensurate with services delivered. Fee schedules must be available and equitable regardless of actual payer reimbursements/contracts.
  16. Maintain the ethical principles and standards of the profession when participating in a business arrangement as owner, stockholder, partner, or employee, and refrain from working for or doing business with organizations that engage in illegal or unethical business practices (e.g., fraudulent billing, providing occupational therapy services beyond the scope of occupational therapy practice).


Principle 6. Occupational therapy personnel shall provide comprehensive, accurate, and objective information when representing the profession.

Veracity is based on the virtues of truthfulness, candor, and honesty. The principle of veracity in health care refers to comprehensive, accurate, and objective transmission of information and includes fostering the client's understanding of such information (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). Veracity is based on respect owed to others. In communicating with others, occupational therapy personnel implicitly promise to speak truthfully and not deceive the listener. By entering into a relationship in care or research, the recipient of service or research participant enters into a contract that includes a right to truthful information (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). In addition, transmission of information is incomplete without also ensuring that the recipient or participant understands the information provided. Concepts of veracity must be carefully balanced with other potentially competing ethical principles, cultural beliefs, and organizational policies. Veracity ultimately is valued as a means to establish trust and strengthen professional relationships. Therefore, adherence to the Principle also requires thoughtful analysis of how full disclosure of information may impact outcomes.

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Represent the credentials, qualifications, education, experience, training, roles, duties, competence, views, contributions, and findings accurately in all forms of communication about recipients of service, students, employees, research participants, and colleagues.
  2. Refrain from using or participating in the use of any form of communication that contains false, fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, or unfair statements or claims.
  3. Record and report in an accurate and timely manner, and in accordance with applicable regulations, all information related to professional activities.
  4. Ensure that documentation for reimbursement purposes is done in accordance with applicable laws, guidelines, and regulations.
  5. Accept responsibility for any action that reduces the public's trust in occupational therapy.
  6. Ensure that all marketing and advertising are truthful, accurate, and carefully presented to avoid misleading recipients of service, students, research participants, or the public.
  7. Describe the type and duration of occupational therapy services accurately in professional contracts, including the duties and responsibilities of all involved parties.
  8. Be honest, fair, accurate, respectful, and timely in gathering and reporting fact- based information regarding employee job performance and student performance.
  9. Give credit and recognition when using the work of others in written, oral, or electronic media.
  10. Not plagiarize the work of others.


Principle 7. Occupational therapy personnel shall treat colleagues and other professionals with respect, fairness, discretion, and integrity.

The principle of fidelity comes from the Latin root fidelis meaning loyal. Fidelity refers to being faithful, which includes obligations of loyalty and the keeping of promises and commitments (Veatch & Flack, 1997). In the health professions, fidelity refers to maintaining good-faith relationships between various service providers and recipients. While respecting fidelity requires occupational therapy personnel to meet the client's reasonable expectations (Purtillo, 2005), Principle 7 specifically addresses fidelity as it relates to maintaining collegial and organizational relationships. Professional relationships are greatly influenced by the complexity of the environment in which occupational therapy personnel work. Practitioners, educators, and researchers alike must consistently balance their duties to service recipients, students, research participants, and other professionals as well as to organizations that may influence decision- making and professional practice.

Occupational therapy personnel shall

  1. Respect the traditions, practices, competencies, and responsibilities of their own and other professions, as well as those of the institutions and agencies that constitute the working environment.
  2. Preserve,respect,and safeguard private information about employees, colleagues, and students unless otherwise mandated by national, state, or local laws or permission to disclose is given by the individual.
  3. Take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct any breaches of the Code and Ethics Standards and report any breaches of the former to the appropriate authorities.
  4. Attempt to resolve perceived institutional violations of the Code and Ethics Standards by utilizing internal resources first.
  5. Avoid conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment in employment, volunteer roles, or research.
  6. Avoid using one's position (employee or volunteer) or knowledge gained from that position in such a manner that gives rise to real or perceived conflict of interest among the person, the employer, other Association members, and/or other organizations.
  7. Use conflict resolution and/or alternative dispute resolution resources to resolve organizational and interpersonal conflicts.
  8. Be diligent stewards of human, financial, and material resources of their employers, and refrain from exploiting these resources for personal gain.


American Occupational Therapy Association. (1993). Core values and attitudes of occupational therapy practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, 1085– 1086.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2005). Occupational therapy code of ethics (2005). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 639–642.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2006). Guidelines to the occupational therapy code of ethics. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60, 652–658.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2004). Policy 5.3.1: Definition of occupational therapy practice for State Regulation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58, 694-695.

Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Braveman, B., & Bass-Haugen, J. D. (2009). Social justice and health disparities: An evolving discourse in occupational therapy research and intervention. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 7–12.

Maiese, M. (2004). Procedural justice. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/procedural_justice/

Purtillo, R. (2005). Ethical dimensions in the health professions (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders.

Veatch, R. M., & Flack, H. E. (1997). Case studies in allied health ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Authors Ethics Commission (EC):

Kathlyn Reed, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, MLIS, Chairperson Barbara Hemphill, DMin, OTR, FAOTA, FMOTA, Chair-Elect Ann Moodey Ashe, MHS, OTR/L Lea C. Brandt, OTD, MA, OTR/L Joanne Estes, MS, OTR/L Loretta Jean Foster, MS, COTA/L Donna F. Homenko, RDH, PhD Craig R. Jackson, JD, MSW Deborah Yarett Slater, MS, OT/L, FAOTA, Staff Liaison

Adopted by the Representative Assembly 2010CApr17.

Note. This document replaces the following rescinded Ethics documents 2010CApril18: the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (2005) (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 639–642); the Guidelines to the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60, 652–658); and the Core Values and Attitudes of Occupational Therapy Practice (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, 1085–1086).

Copyright © 2010 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. To be published in 2010 in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64 (November/December Supplement).

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Appendix C: Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation to the Occupational Therapy Program

The NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy is committed to the admission and matriculation of all qualified students and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability. The college does not discriminate against persons with disability who are otherwise qualified. The college does expect that minimal technical standards are met by all applicants and students as set forth herein. These standards reflect what has been determined to be reasonable expectations for occupational therapy students in performing common and important functions, considering the safety and welfare of patients. These standards may not reflect what may be required for employment of the graduate occupational therapist.

Technical Standards

An occupational therapist must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical settings and to render a wide spectrum of therapeutic interventions. In order to perform the activities required of a professional, an occupational therapy student must be able to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data quickly, accurately, and consistently. This is the process of critical thinking. Multiple skills and abilities required include observation, communication, sensory/motor, behavioral, and social attributes. Reasonable accommodation can be made for persons with disabilities in some of these areas, but an occupational therapy student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

  • The commitment to work in an intense setting that challenges the individual to meet the needs of people of diverse cultures and age groups who are ill, severely injured, limited by cognitive, emotional, and functional deficits, and whose behavior may create, at times, an adverse reaction. The ability to interact with these individuals without being judgmental or prejudiced is critical in establishing a therapeutic relationship.
  • The ability to communicate verbally and in writing, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary, in order to build relationships with faculty, advisors, fellow students, coworkers, clients and their significant others. Proficiency in communication includes transactions with individuals and groups in learner, collegial, consultative, leadership, and task roles. Students must be able to elicit information, gather information, describe findings, and understand non- verbal behavior. This includes the ability to read and communicate, both verbally and in writing, in English, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
  • The ability to travel independently to and from classes and fieldwork assignments on time, as well as possess the organizational skills and stamina for performing required tasks and assignments within allotted time frames. (This travel is at the student's expense.) A driver's license and a car are needed for on- and off-campus travel.
  • Commitment to adherence of policies of the college, of the occupational therapy program, and of the fieldwork sites. These rules include matters relating to professional dress, behavior, and confidentiality.
  • Professional competence and moral character that meet state licensure guidelines.
  • Emotional health for full utilization of intellect, the exercise of good judgment, prompt completion of responsibilities, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with others. Working with persons in need often requires taxing workloads and adaptation to changing and challenging environments requiring flexibility and a spirit of cooperation.
  • Critical thinking skills in order to be able to problem solve creatively, to master abstract ideas, and to synthesize information in order to handle the challenges of the academic, laboratory, and fieldwork settings.
  • Physical coordination and strength to be able to handle moving clients and to direct clients in varied practice settings. Visual acuity and independent mobility, fine and gross movements, equilibrium, and the use of touch (touching and being touched) are essential to assure safety of clients, significant others, and staff.

Technical standards are defined as "all nonacademic criteria that are essential to participate in the program in question". The following material is based on the handbook, Educating Students with Disabilities (American Occupational Therapy Association [1997] and on New York College of Osteopathic Medicine [undated])

Technical standards are nonacademic admission requirements, related to the essential nature of the program, which must be met by all students admitted to the program. The standards include personal and professional traits. Some of these requirements include skills and experiences, physical, sensory, medical and emotional competencies and safety issues. The criteria may be objective or subjective, but are the same for all applicants. The standards must:

  • be nonacademic
  • be requisite for admission
  • be related to essential function of the educational program at NYIT and at fieldwork sites. Note: each of these agencies may have set of technical standards which could differ from these standards. The NYIT program in occupational therapy does not disclose information about a student's disability to the clinical sites. It is the prerogative of the student to decide whether or not to disclose this information to the supervisor at the clinical site in order to request reasonable accommodations.
  • apply to all students
  • not be established to discriminate for or against a person with disability * ensure that the student can benefit from the program.

The ability to function in a job as an occupational therapist is not relevant; rather, these standards focus solely on the competencies required for success in the NYIT course of study.

There are number of multiple skills and abilities required for success in the program in occupational therapy. These requirements are listed below in the following categories:

  1. General Admission Requirements
  2. Behavioral and Social Attributes
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Strength, Mobility and Emotional Health
  5. Cognitive skills
  6. Sensory Function. (New York College of Osteopathic Medicine [undated])

Reasonable accommodations can be made for persons with disabilities in some of the areas, but the student must be able to perform independently. These standards are based upon expectations of the student in the professional program in occupational therapy and are guided by the need to assure the safety and welfare of clients in need of services by a professional occupational therapist.


An occupational therapist must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and be able to provide a wide spectrum of therapeutic interventions. In order to perform the activities required of a professional, the student must be able to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data quickly, accurately and consistently.

A student entering the professional phase of the program must have demonstrated the following technical competencies in order to be able to learn through action, experience and communication, as guided by the philosophy of pragmatism that underlies our program design:

  • To be considered for admission into the program, the student must provide documentation by a dated letter of reference on official stationery, of one hundred hours of volunteer work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist; a second professional letter of reference; a personal statement describing the student's interest in occupational therapy. In addition, the students must participate in the admission process, requiring half a day on the college campus during which time there will be a personal interview, an opportunity for questions, and time allotted to write an on-site essay on an assigned topic. At the time of the interview, the applicant reviews the program Technical Standards, and has an opportunity to discuss any areas of concern, particularly with regard to the need for reasonable accommodations.

Full time students in the professional phase of the program must be able to handle class- scheduling changes that can occur for any reason, and often with only short notice. This means that it is not possible for the full time professional student to be employed, as attendance in all classes is required.


  • The commitment to work in an intense setting which challenges the individual to meet the needs of people of both sexes, diverse cultures, some of whom may be economically disadvantaged, all age groups who are ill, severely injured, limited by cognitive, emotional, social and functional deficits, and whose behavior may create, at times, an aversive reaction. The ability to interact with these individuals without being judgmental or prejudiced is critical in establishing a therapeutic relationship.
  • Commitment of adherence of policies of the college, of the occupational therapy program and of the fieldwork sites. These rules include matters relating to professional dress and behavior on campus and in the fieldwork sites.
  • Professional competence and moral character, which meets state licensure guidelines.
    • When the form for licensure is completed, the applicant is asked, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country?" and "Have you ever been charged with a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country, the disposition of which was other than by acquittal or dismissal?" Ayes answer to either or both of these questions requires a complete explanation, including copies of any court records. Further information about licensure eligibility in New York State is available from the web site: www.nysed.org. See the Occupational therapy Code of Ethics in Appendix of the NYIT Occupational therapy Student Manual or at the web site of the professional association: www.aota.org.
  • Occupational therapists use touching as part of therapeutic intervention. Therefore, the student must possess the ability to tolerate touch and being touched by others of both sexes as part of the learning process. Touching must be done in a sensitive and professional manner. Laboratory exercises require that students wear shorts and tank tops in class.
  • Commitment to the Code of Ethics of the profession and behavior which reflects a sense of right and wrong in the helping environment.


  • The ability to communicate verbally and in writing, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary, in order to build relationships with faculty, advisors, fellow students, co-workers and clients and their significant others. Proficiency in communication includes transactions with individuals and groups in learner, collegial, consultative, leadership and task roles. Students must be able to elicit and gather information, describe findings and understand non-verbal behavior.
  • Computer skills. Students must be able to demonstrate competence in the following computer skills: spread sheets, word documents, Internet searches, E- mail and on-line research, presentations, graphics, data entry and analysis.


  • The ability to meet the challenges of a medical environment which requires a readiness for immediate and appropriate response without interference of personal or medical problems. This requires training and certification for emergencies and other life-threatening situations. Training required includes, but is not limited to, certification in life support and infection control.
  • The ability to travel independently to and from classes and fieldwork assignments on time, and the possession of the organizational skills and stamina for performing required tasks and assignments within allotted time frames. This requires that the student be able to drive and have a car available for travel to and from school and fieldwork sites.
  • Emotional health for full utilization of intellect, the exercise of good judgment, prompt completion of responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with others. Working with persons in need often requires taxing workloads and adaptation to changing and challenging environments requiring flexibility and a spirit of cooperation.
  • Physical coordination to be able to handle moving clients and to direct clients in varied practice settings.


  • Critical thinking skills in order to be able to problem solve creatively, to master abstract ideas and to synthesize information in order to handle the challenges of the academic, laboratory and fieldwork settings.
  • Intellectual curiosity sufficient to motivate independent professional reading and research.


  • Visual acuity and independent mobility.
  • Smooth, coordinated and sensitive fin and gross movements.
  • Equilibrium.
  • Therapeutic use of touch.
  • Hearing adequate for successful verbal communication.

REQUEST FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: A student who believes that because of a disability, she/he is entitled to reasonable accommodations in order to succeed in any class (or classes) must make an appointment with the NYIT Office of Student Development. That office, after an appropriate evaluation, will provide the documentation needed, should it be determined that a reasonable accommodation is needed in order to assure success in the program. It is the student's responsibility to report any changes in his/her status to the Office of Development that may have an impact on your ability to benefit from the program in occupational therapy.

Sign the Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

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Student Portfolio Guide

The Student Portfolio

An excellent way to participate in tracking professional development is through the active use of a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of materials (papers, photographs, audio/video tapes, projects or samples of projects) that document competencies, credentials, skills and work experience. It is really a fleshed out, three dimensional version of a great resume. Getting into the portfolio habit will serve professionals well throughout life through the careful, judicious documentation the acquisition of new experiences and skills, and arrival at landmarks in both personal and career development.

Getting started is often a problem because of inertia, but maintenance of effort, that is, keeping the portfolio up to date, is even a greater challenge. At NYIT, occupational therapy students get a jump start on the portfolio, because of the requirement to share the portfolio with a faculty member at least once a year, or more often.

The portfolio can be done in any number of ways. Some people like to use an accordion file, label the sections (resumes, diplomas, awards, college transcripts, letters of reference, et. al.) and place things into the file as they are acquired. Others use file folders for the same purpose or a loose-leaf notebook. A loose-leaf notebook is easiest to carry and to review with a prospective employer. Whatever form your portfolio takes, it is important to keep the portfolio up to date, and then to make careful focused selections when called upon to make a presentation. Below are some ideas about the process. For more information on how to prepare a portfolio, check the library or Internet.

A PORTFOLIO is a collection of samples that communicate your interests and give evidence of your talents. You use your portfolio to show others what you have accomplished, learned or produced.

STEP I:   Think about the kinds of samples to collect.

STEP II:  Select and organize the samples you have collected which best tell your story.

STEP III: Prepare the oral presentation of your portfolio.

To make all of this happen, requires focus on the self, developing ideas about one's character (i.e., who), likes and accomplishments. Kimeldorf provides exercises that help you gather and organize your material. You will focus on a number of areas:

COMPETENCIES i.e., the things that one does well, that have been developed and/or acquired through experience, education and training. Some examples of competencies:

  • intellectual disposition
  • creativity
  • maturity
  • leadership
  • imagination curiosity
  • cultural perspective
  • commitment
  • problem-solving
  • sympathy
  • discrimination
  • excitement/enthusiasm
  • appetite for discovery


  • degrees
  • licenses
  • certificates
  • include specialization's
  • majors, minors
  • awards

SKILLS Things you know (knowledge) and things you can do (skills):

Things you know:

  • research, investigation; reading
  • negotiation
  • counseling; advising
  • decision making
  • evaluation
  • management
  • mastery of a specific body of knowledge
  • mathematical and quantitative reasoning: mathematical models; budget

Things you can do:

  • observation
  • logical reasoning
  • historical method
  • scientific method
  • research
  • listening skills
  • rhetorical style
  • organization
  • evaluation
  • improvisation
  • analysis/conceptualization
  • written/spoken language: precision, fluency, clarity, persuasion, concision
  • information processing; the ability to select, interpret, store and apply information

WORK EXPERIENCE The use of VERBS to describe work experiences is powerful; i.e.:

  • designed…;
  • supervised…;
  • taught…;
  • managed…;
  • created…, etc.


  • It is as important to know what to remove from the portfolio as it is to know what to add to the portfolio. The professional progresses and grows. Therefore, outdated materials must be removed. For example, a college senior should no longer use high school accomplishments to demonstrate competence. Update the portfolio at least once a year and always review it before making any presentation.


American Occupational Therapy Association Inc. (1997). Educating students with disabilities. What academic and fieldwork educators need to know. Bethesda, MD: the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Barnes & Evenson. Fieldwork challenges in Slaydyk, K. (Ed.) (1997). (1997). OT student primer. A guide to college success. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Breines, E. (2006). Occupations and activities from clay to computers. Theory and practice. Lebanon, NY: Geri-Rehab, Inc.

Crepeau, E.B., Cohn, E.S. & Schell, B.A.B. (2003). Willard and Spackman's Occupational therapy. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Kimeldorf, M. (1994). Creating portfolios for success in school, work and life. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

New York college of Osteopathic Medicine. (undated). Technical standards for admission and matriculation. Old Westbury, NY: New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

New York Institute of Technology (2010). New York institute of technology graduate catalog 2010-2011. Old Westbury, NY: NYIT Office of Communications and Marketing.

New York Institute of technology. Department of Occupational Therapy. (March 2004). Strategic plan.

New York Institute of Technology. Faculty Senate Minutes (5/18/00).

New York Institute of Technology. Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual, (rev. 2007).

New York Institute of Technology. Undergraduate Catalog (2003-2004).

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