We are enabling excellence in occupational therapy and promoting its global growth and development. We are engaging occupational therapists in broad and deep discovery of their profession.
The education programme area is responsible for ensuring the quality of education programmes globally through the development of standards that reflect the dynamic qualities of occupational therapy education worldwide. The Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists is a key component of our work and we undertake a continual approval and re-approval process to ensure that occupational therapy education around the world remains at par with the Standards.
WFOT maintains a list of education programmes worldwide that have attained WFOT Approved status.
WFOT Approved Entry Level Education ProgrammesView the list
The education programme undertakes a range of ongoing functions and projects:
Ongoing Functions 2020-2022
- Maintain updated list of WFOT Approved education programmes
- Review submitted curricula for approval and re-approval
- Review and approve approval/re-approval process of member organisations
- Respond to education enquiries
- Draft relevant policies within the education programme area
- Review, update and standardise format of education-related WFOT policies and documents
- Revise the "Entry-level Competencies for Occupational Therapists" document
- Review the "Specialisation and Advanced Occupational Therapy Competencies" Position Statement
- Development of an Occupational Therapy Educators’ Preparation Module
- Development of a course for prospective reviewers of education programmes
- Mentorship of education programme
- Development of strategies for the transition of diploma level programmes to bachelor's level
Programme Coordinator Education
PhD, MSc OT, MSc Clin Epidemiology, BSc HOT
How does WFOT approve education programmes?
The WFOT approval process involves the review of documents submitted by an education institution through the country’s national association. In cases where there is no national association, the documents are directly sent to WFOT by the education institution.These documents are sent to two expert reviewers who determine if the programme meets the WFOT Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists. The Programme Coordinator Education integrates the findings from the two reviewers and comes up with a decision which is presented to the WFOT Council for ratification. Further details can be found in the Approval Process.
In cases where a Member Organisation conducts the review on behalf of the WFOT, the member organisation uses its own process that is aligned with that of the WFOT’s and subsumes the Minimum Standards in its own Standards (which may be higher than those in the Minimum Standards).The Member Organisation usually has its own roster of qualified reviewers.
What are the criteria for getting an Education Programme approved?
WFOT reviewers look at an education programme’s capability to produce occupational therapists who are equipped to meet the occupational needs of individuals, groups, communities and populations at the local, national and international levels. The programme’s curriculum (its content and sequence) needs to demonstrate that it is occupation-based and responds to the local needs and is informed by international perspectives in occupational therapy. Further details can be found in the WFOT Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists and WFOT Approval Process document.
Which country/university has the best programme?
The WFOT does not rank occupational therapy education programmes. It recognises that each programme is unique and influenced by several factors such as the education institution’s philosophy and vision; legal, education, health care and welfare systems in the country that shape the programme; and the social, economic and political contexts within which the education programme is situated. What the WFOT assesses is whether the programme meets the WFOT Minimum Standards for the education of occupational therapists. In many, if not most cases, education programmes exceed the Minimum Standards.
Why is my education programme not listed on your website?
Member Organisations are responsible for keeping the information on the website current. There are instances when Member Organisations are unable to provide current information regarding programmes in their countries. In such cases, you may contact the relevant Member Organisation. Their contact details are found here.
What is the difference between WFOT approval and accreditation?
This requires an education programme to submit its curriculum which is then reviewed by an international review team against the WFOT Minimum Standards of Education for Occupational Therapists on the WFOT website. This is a desk top review and does not require site visits. Feedback is given if the programme does not meet the WFOT Minimum Standards and when the curriculum does meet the WFOT Minimum Standards, the programme is added to the WFOT List of Approved Programmes on the WFOT website .The WFOT will undertake the approval of the first programme in any country free of charge; however subsequent programme approvals may attract a fee.
In many countries there is a local accreditation process which exceeds the WFOT Minimum Standards and the WFOT Standards are consequently subsumed in that process as they are the Minimum Standards. There are a number of member organisations that do not have the resources (financial or personnel) to develop a system for the accreditation or the approval of occupational therapy education programmes. Furthermore, monitoring each of these education programmes on a regular basis (every five or seven years) may also not be possible.
In order to address this challenge, the WFOT is currently running a project to develop a mechanism for the Approval/Accreditation as well as the Re-approval/Re-accreditation of occupational therapy education programmes where local mechanisms do not exist. In either instance, it will be based upon the Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists - 2016 and must be developed, tested and adopted to ensure consistency in the implementation of the WFOT approval process for occupational therapy education programmes. The approval process will continue to be a desk based process and the accreditation process will require a much more rigorous review with site visits and a detailed report. This service will attract a fee. Please note that this is not meant to replace accreditation frameworks that are in place in certain countries and successfully being conducted via the member organisation or other local authorities.
How often are education programmes reviewed?
Education programmes are reviewed on regular 5- or 7-year cycles, depending on the length of the programme. Programmes that run for 3 and a half years or shorter are reviewed every 5 years. Those that run for 4 or more years are reviewed every 7 years.
When is our programme due for review?
Please check on the WFOT Approved Education Programmes list on the WFOT website.
What is the difference between a programme displayed as "Approval Ongoing" and one that is displayed as "Approval Discontinued"??
A programme described as "Approval Ongoing" is one that is running and graduates students and its WFOT approval status is current. Programmes described as "Approval Discontinued" refer to:
- Education programmes that did not apply for re-approval;
- Education programmes that were reviewed, but did not meet the WFOT Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists 2016;
- Education programmes that are no longer running; or
- Education programmes that remain running, but under a different institution name. The new institution name for such programmes is documented in the ‘approval ongoing’ listing. The previous institution name is similarly recorded in the listing of the ‘approval discontinued’ education programme.
What is the difference between a programme that displays as approved, in review or past review?
A programme that displays as Approved, currently holds WFOT approval. If a programme shows as ‘In review’, it means that it is due for review in the current year. If a programme shows as ‘Past review’, the year when its review was due has passed and this means that either a) WFOT has not been notified of the review having taken place, b) the review is still underway, c) the review process has not been initiated, in which case, depending on the circumstances and the time that has passed since the review due date, the programme may be deemed not WFOT approved.
My programme was not WFOT approved at the time of my graduation, what are the implications of this? How can we have it approved?
It means that you are a graduate of a non-WFOT approved programme. This may have several implications in terms of registration to work in certain countries/jurisdictions or access to further/postgraduate education.
Please contact your Member Organisation and university and suggest they consider applying for retroactive approval for your programme.