AOTA and ACOTE plan for credential inflation receives national attention

Two days ago an Op/Ed appeared in the Washington Examiner, a national newspaper, about the AOTA/ACOTE decision to increase degree requirements for OT practitioners.

The headline of the piece was unfortunate - but headlines are frequently written by editors and not by people who write articles.  What is interesting is that the article was written by people who work for R Street, which is a conservative and libertarian-oriented think tank that promotes free markets.  That the issue of AOTA, ACOTE, and credential inflation caught the attention of this group is noteworthy.  This is not an OT group.  These are external stakeholders interested in trade and market issues.

Concerns about the decision to raise degree requirements without any functional justification or evidence, and the concerns that the decision will damage the profession and its consumers, are not going away.

The occupational therapy profession should continue to question and pressure its professional association.  OTA schools and some OT schools will probably close as a result of the credential inflation, and there has been no justification for the requirement. As the Washington Examiner article notes, this action that has no evidence basis will restrict access to the profession at a time when MORE occupational therapy practitioners are needed in the field.

At this time the Federal Trade Commission and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation needs to open investigations into the American Occupational Therapy Association and its associated advisory board ACOTE.  All occupational therapy practitioners and educators and associated stakeholders who care about the future of the occupational therapy profession should contact these two agencies and express their concerns.

A simple statement needs to be sent to the FTC and to CHEA:

"I am concerned about the AOTA and ACOTE decision to inflate degree requirements for the occupational therapy profession.  The relationship between AOTA and ACOTE is leading to unfair practices that will close occupational therapy schools, limit the number of graduates in a times of high demand, and cause irreparable damage the occupational therapy profession and the people who need those services."

Federal Trade Commission

Council on Higher Education Accreditation

There is a severe problem with occupational therapy accreditation and it needs to be solved.  The occupational therapy profession has failed to solve it internally, and now it has gotten the attention of external stakeholders interested in trade and anti-competition issues.

This article in the Washington Examiner should be a crystal clear sign to the new incoming elected officials of the AOTA Board of Directors, and should also be a serious red flag to any person thinking of applying for their now-open position as Executive Director.  This is a problem within the occupational therapy profession that must be addressed.


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