Our Vision

The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education School of Occupational Therapy will be nationally and internationally recognized as a pioneer in innovative occupational therapy education and as a partner in practice and research to meet real world occupational needs.

Our Mission

To educate highly skilled and compassionate occupational therapy professionals and to prepare them to advocate for those with limited opportunities for occupational engagement.


Type of program:

Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Length of program:

3 years full time (face to face, fieldwork, and capstone experience)

ACHE OT Advisory Council
  • Leisha Callan, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Retired
  • Pharis Chandler Clingan, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist,  Therapy Director Pediatrics Plus – Van Buren/Alma​
  • Justin Eckart, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Manager, Encompass
  • Aliyah Ellis, Occupational Therapy Student, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
  • Carol Heffley, MS, OTR/L, Rehab Director, Stein Ancillary Services, Methodist Village Senior Living
  • Emily French, OTS, Occupational Therapy Student, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
  • Karen James, PhD, OTR/L, CAPS, Program Director, School of Occupational Therapy Assistant and Coordinator, Allied Health-Baptist Health College Little Rock
  • Chris J. Joannides, MSW, Executive Director, HOPE Campus – Fort Smith
  • Kyle Jones, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Saint Mary’s Regional Health System – Russellville
  • Jennifer Marley, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Owner of Learn, Play, Grow Children’s Therapy Services – Fort Smith
  • Kristen Merritt, MA, Assistant Dean for Career Services, Arkansas Tech University – Russellville
  • Sharon S. Miesner, Occupational Therapist, Retired
  • Kate Minor, Chief Operations Officer, Stein Ancilary Services
  • Jocelyn Mitchelle, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Owner of In-Sync Pediatric Therapy Center – Van Buren
  • Ciara Pharis, OTD, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Encompass – Fort Smith
  • Robert Saviers, OTR/L, CHT, Occupational Therapist, BIG Physical Therapy – Fort Smith
  • Christopher Smith, EdD, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
  • Gary Udouj, Jr., EdD, Director of Career Education and District Innovation, Fort Smith Public Schools

ACHE OT Advantage

  • Employing educational experiences that are learner-focused, contextually authentic, and centered on occupation.
  • Engaging in collaborative service, leadership, and advocacy with faculty and students in healthcare, educational, and community environments.
  • Nurturing and maintaining a community of occupational therapy students, scholars, and professionals who collaborate with communities optimizing the lives of all.
  • Fostering the value of healthy living by supporting occupational balance.


You will learn in an authentic learning environment; prepared for contemporary occupational therapy practice. As a transformative practitioner, you will be a change agent equipped to address the occupational needs of society.

Our Leadership & Faculty

  • Experienced occupational therapy educators with a proven track record in accreditation
  • Experienced occupational therapy practitioners
  • Recognized as leaders in the profession
  • Dedicated to the service of others

Our Learning/Teaching Approach

  • State-of-the-art facilities that support the context-based teaching approach
  • Specialized learning environments including Simulation/Standardized Patient Center, applied arts labs, the ACHE Interprofessional Clinic and rehabilitation center on campus
  • Research facilities designed and dedicated for occupational therapy scholarship
  • Experiential educators serving as fieldwork and doctoral capstone mentors
  • Technology to support pioneering educational experiences

Our Learning /Teaching Resources

  • State-of-the-art facilities including Simulation/Standardized Client Center
  • Experiential educators serving as fieldwork and doctoral capstone mentors
  • Technology to support pioneering educational experiences
  • Interprofessional clinic on site

Our Community

  • Focused on healthcare education
  • Located in a community that embraces our students
  • Located in a walkable community close to nature trails for walking and biking
  • Located in a comfortable, relatively small community affording convenience

Our Focus

  • Foster healthy living and well-being through occupation
  • Prepare skilled and compassionate occupational therapy professionals
  • Cultivate professionals to serve as change agents necessary for contemporary practice

Resources & Information

What is occupational therapy?

It is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent – or live better with – injury, illness, or disability.

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • An individual evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals;
  • Customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
  • An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.  It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.

Path to Occupational Therapy
  • Earn an undergraduate degree
  • Apply to an occupational therapy program
  • Earn a graduate degree in occupational therapy
  • Pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
  • Obtain a license to practice occupational therapy in the state

Contact Us

7006 Chad Colley Blvd.
Fort Smith, AR 72916

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