Sep 26, 2022  
Graduate 2021-2023 
Graduate 2021-2023

Department of Occupational Therapy

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Cathleen St. Dennis, OTD, OTR/L, Interim Department Chair
Office: 364 Health Sciences Building
(615) 963-5953 

Major: Occupational Therapy (OCCT)
Degree: Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent or live better with injury, illness, or disability. 

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from an injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

• individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,

• customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and

• outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan. 

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science. More information is available on the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) website. 

About Occupational Therapy Practitioners

Occupational Therapy practitioners are skilled healthcare providers whose education consists of didactic coursework related to human growth and development with specific emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury. Interactive lab experiences in the classroom followed by fieldwork experiences in clinical environments reinforce the didactic coursework.

Currently, the occupational therapy practitioner enters the field with a master or doctoral degree. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA), OT practitioners work in a variety of areas including productive aging, rehabilitation and disability, children and youth, work and industry, and health and wellness. Wendy Hildenbrand is President of AOTA and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Education Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Recent information published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the job outlook for occupational therapists is expected to grow faster than average, or over 24% from 2016-2026 with occupational therapists treating people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, or traumatic brain injury ( For more information about a career in Occupational Therapy, please refer to the AOTA’s website.

Upon completion of all requirements, students will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this examination, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR) and will meet the educational requirements for States licensure in the United States.

The Master of Occupational Therapy Program at Tennessee State University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Additional accreditation information is available from the ACOTE website. 

Graduate Faculty  

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