Program can be completed in three years with eligibility for national certification.
Yeshiva University’s new entry-level doctorate in occupational therapy, offered by the Katz School of Science and Health, can be completed in less than three years with just a bachelor’s degree; and graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination sponsored by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
These are just a few of the aspects that make the OT Doctorate an exciting and substantial addition to the dynamic and expanding programs offered by the Katz School.
Dr. Nicolaas van den Heever, an international expert in clinical practice, administration, and education of occupational therapy, is clinical professor and founding director of the OT Doctorate.
Van den Heever was the first male occupational therapy graduate in his native South Africa. He has more than 35 years of practice experience in multiple settings, such as hospitals, the military, community-based rehabilitation in rural villages in Africa and China (for the World Health Organization), industry, and orphanages.
He has also been a much sought-after speaker on the topics of neuromuscular and cognitive rehabilitation, academic program effectiveness and outcomes, and interprofessional education. In 2014, he was given the Occupational Therapy Association of California’s Practice Award for his “significant contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy in the areas of therapeutic practice, education, communication, and/or community service.”
A staff member from the Queens Jewish Link had a chance to sit down with Dr. van den Heever to talk about his vision for the new program.
What drew you into this field?
What I admire about the discipline of occupational therapy is the way it combines the three different sensibilities of the artist, the doctor, and the psychologist into a holistic practice. Well-trained occupational therapists know that helping a patient return to health requires them to know the entire story of that patient’s life. To do that well, you need the sensitivity of the artist, the training of the doctor, and the empathy of the psychologist. I find this combination intellectually exciting, which is why I entered the field and now find myself organizing my third doctoral program.
What sort of student might be attracted to this program?
Students entering the OT profession must do so believing that with the proper guidance, people can change their current status in life. The OT practitioner must be guided by a global view of their clients’ lives so that their therapeutic approaches are all-inclusive of the patients’ needs and aspirations.
What are some of the career opportunities for an OT Doctorate?
Occupational therapy is a highly rewarded medical profession, but there are many places where OT professionals can find fulfilling work, such as in schools, industries, the military, and even prisons. An OT professional is guided by an ethic of creating health and wellness both for the individuals with whom they work and the communities within which those individuals live. The goal of occupational therapy is always to help people and communities live with meaning and purpose.
The profession is also experiencing impressive growth. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the number of occupational therapy jobs will grow nationwide by 18 percent over the next eight years, and occupational therapy is listed among the best 20 health care jobs in the nation by US News & World Report.
What does the Katz School offer that makes it stand out?
The OT Doctorate has a state-of-the-art facility that can be configured to create targeted case studies for students that complement the program’s intensive and personalized curriculum. Perhaps most important of all, though, is that the program is managed by a faculty and administrative staff committed to each individual student’s professional and personal success.
Application and program information can be found at www.yu.edu/katz/ot.
Visit the Katz School of Science and Health website at www.yu.edu/katz.