Health Science/Pre-Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are licensed health professionals who help people of all ages, with and without disabilities, to do the things that are important to them in their daily lives. 

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A career in occupational therapy begins with earning a Master's degree from an accredited program. To start you on this journey, Dominican offers a five-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Health Science and then the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. The Dominican Occupational Therapy program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Students will complete most of their general education and all of the pre-OT admission requirements during the first two years of college (lower division courses), and begin a focused group of occupational therapy courses in their junior year. All students complete a faculty-directed integrative capstone experience, which is research, program development, or clinically focused. This major academic achievement represents a synthesis of content learned throughout the program.

Please note: Criminal background checks, or information relating to a student’s criminal background, are not used as part of the admissions process at Dominican University of California (DUOC). Students should be aware that some programs train students to sit for the State of California or national licensure and certification examinations that qualify them to work in the field relating to their program of choice.

The following programs constitute a list of 2021/2022 DUOC programs that train for licensure or certification: Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physicians Assistants, Counseling Psychology, Art Therapy (Marriage & Family Therapy), and Education. 

Students with questions relating to criminal background requirements, who wish to enroll in these programs at DUOC should speak to an Academic Advisor and reference the specific qualifications for degree completion, and license or certification. 

Program Highlights

  • Experienced, professional faculty
  • Small class sizes and student-centered learning
  • More than 200+ fieldwork partners
  • A strong community engagement focus 
  • 10-year accreditation with Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education 

Career Paths

Occupational Therapy is a fast-growing and rewarding field that will allow you to work in hospitals, clinics, schools, business, industry, and community settings, serving persons of all ages with developmental, physical, psychiatric, or behavioral disabilities. OTs also promote health and help prevent disease and disability through occupation-centered interventions and environmental adaptations.

I recently had two job offers, and accepted one with a geriatric transitional care facility in San Luis Obispo. One great thing is that I met my employer at the Dominican Career Fair. Having access to OT opportunities at the fair was important and successful for me!"  — Amanda Harness, MS, OTR/L

Office Hours

Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admissions and Aid

A degree from a private university like Dominican University of California is more accessible than you might think. For most students there is no application fee and we don't ask for test scores. We're also proud to say that more than 99 percent of our first-year incoming students receive financial aid, which makes paying for school within reach.

Learn More About Admissions and Aid
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Master's in OT

Health Science/Pre-OT students can complete their MS in Occupational Therapy degree in just five-years, starting Master level courses in their junior year.

Learn about our MSOT

Faculty and Staff

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Julia Wilbarger, OTR/L, PhD

Associate Professor & Chair, Occupational Therapy Department
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Laura Greiss Hess, OTR/L, PhD

Assistant Professor
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Kristin Jones

Assistant Professor
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Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L

Program Director, Associate Professor
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Karen McCarthy, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
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Caroline Umeda, PhD

Assistant Professor

Occupational Therapy in the News