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The OTepp Certificate Program aims to assist re-entry and internationally educated occupational therapists meet their learning needs in order to successfully transition into Canadian practice.  The courses are taught using adult learning methods, primarily self-directed learning and problem-based learning.

All OTepp courses are offered online for distance students as well as face-to-face at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Applicants who are living outside of Canada but meet the eligibility criteria may also join OTepp.  A reliable, high-speed Internet connection and microphone headset is recommended for students who are attending online. For students who are unable to join the online class in real time, the sessions are recorded and archived, and can be viewed at the student’s convenience.

The OTepp Certificate Program is an intense study experience where students will be expected to join two 3-hour classes ​each week (Mondays and Thursdays 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. ET), plus spend up to an additional 12 hours per week on homework and assignments to meet the requirements of each course.The amount of preparation time may vary for each individual. Students are required to complete and successfully pass (60% minimum grade) six assignments as indicated on the OTepp Certificate Program Outline. Students who ​pass the first four academic courses may engage in an eight-week practicum, supervised by a registered occupational therapist. Successful completion of the OTepp Certificate Program results in an undergraduate certificate from McMaster University.

Course 1: Managing Practice, Responsibility and Professional Development
Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET
March 6 - 30, 2017

Course 1 provides students with a picture of occupational therapy practice in Canada including the settings and practice areas in which therapists currently work. Further, it allows students to explore professional and regulatory issues related to the structure and function of health care systems and organizations as well as evolving practice settings and roles of occupational therapists. Students will gain knowledge about inter-professional practice, issues of cultural sensitivity and ethical decision-making as an understanding of these concepts are important for practice in Canada.

Course 2: Communication, Collaboration and Practice Knowledge
Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET
April 3 - 27, 2017

This course provides students with the opportunity to study and discuss theories, models and concepts central to occupational therapy practice in Canada. Specifically, participants will explore communication with clients in terms of client-centred practice as well as communication with self through reflective practice. There will be particular emphasis on certain models of practice including CMOP, CMOP-E, OPPM, CPPF, and PEO which illustrate the values and philosophy of the profession. Students will come to understand how these concepts and models are integrated into clinical reasoning and documentation.

Course 3: Understanding Evidence and Using It in Practice
Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET
May 1 - June 1, 2017 (Break week May 22-26)

This course allows students to build knowledge and skills in evidence-based occupational therapy practice. The course will begin by examining what is meant by “evidence” and its relevance to practice in terms of assessment and treatment. Students will discuss how to find evidence and how to evaluate the evidence. The process of clinical decision-making regarding when and how evidence influences practice will be explored. Students will discuss and apply their learning through a variety of exercises.

Course 4:  Clinical Reasoning and Critical Thinking in a Practice Process
Mondays and Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET
June 5 - 29, 2017

Course 4 provides students with opportunities to integrate new and existing knowledge of person, environment and occupation through the exploration of four broad problem scenarios ina small group setting (online or face-to-face). The problem scenarios have been developed from clinical situations and experiences. The clients in these scenarios represent various life stages, cultural backgrounds and lifestyles and are experiencing a variety of impairments and disabilities. Areas of foci in the course include the theoretical underpinnings of practice, spirituality and development, determinants of occupation, occupational therapy practice settings and evidence-based practice.

Course 5:  Supervised Practicum - 8 weeks / 300 hours
Orientation to practicum: Monday, August 28 and Thursday, August 31, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET
Midterm class September 28, 2017
Final class October 26, 2017

Course 5 provides students with an opportunity to integrate the foundational concepts and competencies discussed in their coursework in an eight-week full time hands-on clinical practicum (300 hours).  Students ​have an opportunity to reflect on and build further knowledge, skills, and professional behaviours as they prepare to enter practice. A central focus will be development of practice skills in the Canadian context and integration of knowledge of human occupation and health.

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Since 2013, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) has offered two modules originally developed and run by OTepp: Exam Prep (Now OTEM), and Mentorship (now MOMENTUM).    These two modules are no longer available at McMaster University. 

For more information on either OTEM or MOMENTUM, contact CAOT at

OTepp | IAHS, Room 403 | McMaster University | 1400 Main Street West | Hamilton, ON  L8S 1C7 | 905-525-9140 x.21278

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