To prepare graduates as innovative leaders within the occupational therapy field, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, CA is creating an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program. Fall 2022 is the program’s expected start date, which is subject to approval by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Hands-on industry experiences and team collaboration are at the core of KGI’s success in biotech and healthcare education. For KGI’s innovative OTD program, an active-learning and hands-on approach will prepare students to become resourceful, ethical, flexible, and agile problem-solvers.

Occupational therapy is a career that matters. Occupational therapists impact people’s lives by helping clients of all ages flourish in the midst of the complexities of daily life. Clients of occupational therapy learn to maximize their capacity for doing and can navigate physical, developmental, mental, emotional, contextual, and/or social challenges to be able to live life to its fullest.


Median salary of an occupational therapist


Projected growth of the profession from 2018-2028


Years to complete the OTD program

"Graduates of our OTD program will have the opportunity to work with patients of all ages in a variety of settings."
Martin Zdanowicz
Dean, KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


KGI envisions the innovative potential for therapeutically utilizing occupation to promote and sustain health, well-being, participation, and inclusion to meet a wide range of ever-changing, real world needs.

Program Goals

KGI’s OTD program aims to educate future occupational therapists to meet the needs of individuals, communities, and populations for meaningful participation in daily life activities through a transformative and dynamic educational process.

The program will provide a solid foundation in the scholarship of practice where professional thinking necessarily utilizes evidence and theory to meet clients’ needs for optimizing occupational performance and participation.

OTD students will consider innovative possibilities for the future of practice where pioneering new approaches to occupational therapy care will be valued in the marketplace. KGI’s OTD program will nurture the growth of students as compassionate, ethical practitioners who act with integrity and authenticity in every step of the occupational therapy process.

As the occupational therapy profession grows to meet the needs of our world, KGI OTD students will be ready to lead and proactively innovate solutions for maximizing the health-promoting potential of engagement in activities of everyday life.

Accreditation Process

KGI’s entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). KGI’s offering of an OTD program is also subject to approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Accreditation Process

Christy Billock photo

Program Leadership

Christy Billock was hired on September 20, 2019 as the Founding Program Director of the entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Keck Graduate Institute.

Learn more about Christy

  • Occupational therapy was founded as a healthcare profession in 1917. Over a hundred years ago, the word “occupation” referred to everyday activity or ways we occupy our time. Early proponents of occupational therapy understood the healing power of human’s engagement in daily life activity, a value that has proven highly beneficial to the profession’s growth. Occupational therapy rapidly grew and diversified into a broad scope of practice over the last 100+ years. Occupational therapists now work with clients across the lifespan and in a large variety of settings to help people of all ages and ability levels to live life to the fullest.

  • The demand for occupational therapy services has also risen in recent years and projections include a predicted 18% growth of the profession from 2018-2028. Changes in the healthcare marketplace which incentivize providers for keeping patient’s healthy increases the value of occupational therapy services’ health outcomes. As the numbers of aging persons rises, so does the need for occupational therapy professionals to help elders lead independent and healthy lives. Increasing rates of autism also creates more demand for occupational therapy services. The prevalence of largely preventable non-communicable diseases and the burden it creates on the healthcare system calls for professionals of the future to work in prevention and wellness. Occupational therapists are perfectly positioned to help meet those needs based on their lifestyle management expertise.

    • Grounding a robust education in active learning to support curiosity and inquiry to better understand and appreciate the complexity inherent in occupational engagement
    • Integrating the curriculum to enable students to transform themselves into professionals and leaders who are resourceful, ethical, flexible, and agile problem-solvers
    • Teaching knowledge and research translation from a wide range of perspectives including occupational, health, biological, and behavioral sciences to optimize occupational participation
    • Utilizing critical and reflective thinking to innovatively solve problems and create solutions in both traditional and community-based practice settings
    • Emphasizing the value of collaborative work on many levels—interprofessional, interdisciplinary, and within the community
    • Focusing on the importance of lifestyle management for prevention and wellness for all ages and across varied settings
    • Promoting the importance of social and occupational justice for individuals, communities, and populations in their myriad contexts
    • Valuing diversity and cultural humility in the classroom and across service delivery settings

Interested in KGI's OTD Program?

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