Frequently Asked Questions | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Frequently Asked Questions

Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy

+ What is occupational therapy?

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

  • Intervention programs to improve a person's ability to engage in daily activities (i.e. dressing, bathing, school work, play, home management)
  • Home and job site evaluations and recommendations to improve functional performance and safety
  • Task or environmental adaptations (i.e. adapted toys, grab bars, ergonomic positioning at the computer to prevent injury)
  • Consultation with family members, caregivers, and teachers
For further information about occupational therapy, visit the American Occupational Therapy website at

+ Where are occupational therapists employed?

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

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

Yes, there is currently a shortage of occupational therapists in the U.S. As a result, salaries for occupational therapists have increased during the past several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for occupational therapists is expected to increase by 29% from 2012 to 2022. The median annual income for occupational therapists was $75,400 in 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, the Chatham University Master of Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD, 301-652-AOTA;

+ What are the fieldwork requirements?

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ Does Chatham University help graduates to find jobs?

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

+ How do I apply?

All applicants to the MOT program must apply through the online Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS),

+ When should I apply?

Although the application will be considered on time if it is e-submitted to OTCAS by our deadline of November 1, candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the application by early October. The complete, verified application must be available to us for review in time to be considered for our required on-campus interview day.

+ Will you review my application before it is complete?

An application will not be reviewed by the OT Program until it is made available to us as a complete, verified application, by OTCAS, and the official GRE score is received. It is the applicant's responsibility to contact OTCAS directly to verify the receipt of all application materials by OTCAS and the current status of his/her application. You may contact OTCAS online at

+ Can I transfer credits to reduce the number of courses I must take?

Because of the integrated nature of the Program, no advanced standing or transfer of credits is granted. Each class is an integral part of the academic experience and is necessary for a complete education.

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

The Graduate Admission Office will notify applicants by email. The volume of applications received far outnumbers the seats available in our entering class. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an invitation to interview for the program.

+ What does a typical interview day entail?

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

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

No, you may have prerequisite courses still in process. They must however be completed prior to matriculation if accepted into the graduate program. Applicants must have 3 of the 5 prerequisites completed when they apply. And, at least one of those courses must be human anatomy with lab or physiology, animal or human with lab.

+ May I take prerequisite courses at a community college?

Yes, you may take outstanding prerequisites at a community college or any other accredited school. Online courses are permitted from accredited online programs as well.

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

We offer group informational appointments with an admission counselor on Wednesdays at 10:30 am. You must schedule an appointment as space is limited. To schedule an appointment please visit

We also provide virtual information sessions and open house programs throughout the year. You may register for upcoming events online at

+ Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Feel free to contact the Office of Graduate Admission, 412-365-1394 or

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

Tuition information can be found on our website at

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

+ What is unique about the Chatham University MOT Program?

  • Small class size and personal attention
  • Faculty are nationally recognized as teachers, scholars, and practicing clinicians
  • Extensive opportunities for client observation and innovative Level I fieldwork experiences
  • Level II fieldwork is personalized to meet student needs and learning styles
  • State of the art equipment
  • Extensive community based experiences throughout the curriculum
  • Opportunities to present at state and national OT conferences
  • Curriculum that is responsive to the current healthcare environment and emerging areas of OT practice
  • Ability for students to network with OT clinicians through guest lectures and panel discussions
  • Excellent job placement rate
  • Newly renovated classroom and laboratory spaces

+ Is there a supplemental application for Chatham in addition to the OTCAS application?


+ Does the program require any standardized test?

Official GRE scores are required and must be sent directly to OTCAS using Chatham University's OTCAS code: 4271. We currently do not have a cutoff or minimum GRE score. Submitted GRE scores must be from GRE tests taken within 3 years of the application date.

+ How many applicants does Chatham have for this program and how many seats are available?

We had more than 300 applicants last year for 40 seats for the incoming class. The number of applicants is expected to continue to increase for the next several years.

+ Where is Chatham located?

Chatham is uniquely situated on a 39-acre campus that is designated as an arboretum, providing a serene environment in the center of a thriving urban educational and medical center in the East End of Pittsburgh. The MOT program is housed in the Chatham Eastside which is a green "LEED" rated building located at the intersection of Penn and 5th Avenues just a few blocks from the Shadyside location.

+ Is University Housing available to MOT students?

Graduate students are a vital part of our on campus residential community. Several options for university housing are available for full-time degree seeking students. For more information please visit our Graduate Housing web page at