Prepare for leadership role with new online Doctor of Occupational Therapy program

OT student doing research with child


Main Office

Occupational Therapy
School of Education
2120 Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Avenue
MadisonWI  53706-1691

Tel: 608/262-2936
Fax: 608/262-1639

or by contact form
New Program

Prepare for leadership role
with online Doctor of Occupational Therapy program

Sharon Gartland loved school, describing herself as “a bit of a nerd.” She already had bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy and wanted to prepare herself for new leadership opportunities with a doctorate. It was a tough decision to make at her stage of life, with a full-time job, a large family, and college expenses for her kids. But Gartland took the plunge and enrolled in an online doctoral program at St. Catherine University.

She’s so glad she did.

OTD AdUpon receiving her degree, Gartland has been promoted, earned a pay raise, and now is the director of UW–Madison’s new post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program, whose first cohort of students will enroll in fall 2016. The flexible online format will allow occupational therapy professionals to continue working while pursuing their degree part-time over the course of nine semesters.

As a clinical instructor at UW–Madison for the past 10 years, Gartland has seen a growing need for doctoral-level faculty members and researchers in occupational therapy.

“Getting a doctorate puts occupational therapists in the running for leadership roles,” she says. “I would recommend it for those who desire to keep moving forward in their career, whether that looks like clinical expertise, administrative responsibilities, teaching opportunities, or research participation.”

UW–Madison’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program is completely online except for an initial orientation and final capstone project presentation. It offers coursework in leadership theories and models, administrative tools and techniques, teaching methods, and applied research methods. Students can focus on their own goals while learning to function in a variety of career settings.

Gartland encourages practicing occupational therapists to take a chance with a doctoral program, as she did.

“There is almost never a good time to add things to your plate,” she says. “In my experience, however, it’s worth it so you can benefit from the enhanced opportunities sooner rather than later.”

For more information about the online Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program email or visit:

© 2017 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Please contact the School of Education External Relations Office with questions, issues or comments about this site.