Post-Professional Doctorate (OTD)
of Occupational Therapy
About OTD Residencies
Post-Professional OTD students complete a residency in one of our four leadership tracks:
- Advanced Clinical Practice
- Clinical Research
- Policy and Administration
Additionally, Synergy Residencies bridge two of these tracks.
- residency opportunities within the USC Chan Division;
- external residency opportunities that students coordinate on their own; and
- external residency opportunities shared directly with the OTD Program Director.
Seasoned practitioners in the program often choose to complete their residency at their current site of employment.
Below is the general timeline for the residency outreach and selection process. Please note that informational and open Q&A sessions will be held each semester to support interested applicants.
The residency options available to students, and the related selection processes, are also shown in this diagram.
- August – September
Information regarding Chan Division residency opportunities is distributed to current Master’s students and Post-Professional OTD program applicants.
- October – November
Application and selection process for Chan Division residency opportunities available for a Fall or Spring start of the following academic year.
- Late November / early December
Information session for current Master’s students describing the outreach process for external residency sites.
- January – July
Residency outreach for external sites:
- You will start reaching out to your own identified external residency opportunities.
- The OTD Program Director will also push out residency recruitment announcements to you throughout the year from external sites via the student email lists.
- You will typically submit a cover letter and résumé to external residency sites for consideration.
- Early August (prior to start of Fall Semester)
Deadline for incoming residents to inform the OTD Program Director of your confirmation of: 1) residency site; and 2) USC faculty mentor.
USC Chan Residencies
All information, including details regarding financial support, is updated every August and subject to change each year.
The Advanced Clinical Practice Track is designed to prepare residents as clinicians with advanced knowledge and skills specific to a clinical specialty area. The residency is located within a real-world practice context. This track resembles the residency model typical in medical doctorate (MD) programs. Applicants to the Advanced Clinical Practice Track engage in an outreach and interview process to secure a clinical residency opportunity prior to the start of the program.
- Downtown Women’s Center >
- JWCH Center for Community Health >
- Keck Medical Center of USC Physical Rehabilitation Residency Program >
- Keck School of Medicine Street Medicine Team >
- Primary Care (USC Primary Care, Kaiser, and Southland) >
- Primary Care Occupational Therapy within Lifestyle Redesign for Chronic Conditions >
- Skid Row Housing Trust, Inc. >
- USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice >
- USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles >
The Clinical Research Track is designed to prepare residents to participate in evidence-based studies in clinical settings and to collect outcomes data as part of practice. Applicants for the Clinical Research Track of the OTD program participate in an interview to determine their acceptance into the Track.
Why would I consider the OTD Clinical Research Track?
This track equips the OTD graduate with a subset of skills to participate in evidence-based studies in clinical settings, collect outcomes data as part of practice, lead quality improvement initiatives at a clinical site, and/or participate as a clinical/project manager of a research team.
What is involved in the OTD Clinical Research Track?
Applicants for the Clinical Research Track of the OTD program will participate in an interview process to determine acceptance into the Track. Once accepted into the Clinical Research Track, the resident completes his or her residency in one of the Division’s research labs, typically with a faculty member who has an actively-funded research project.
What are the current Clinical Research Track opportunities?
Open Clinical Research Track residency positions vary from year to year, based on individual research lab needs, actively-funded projects, and the availability of research grant funding to support an OTD resident. Residencies within actively-funded projects in the Division are preferred, as these projects will provide greatest opportunity for the resident to be fully immersed in the research process, while also providing a means for maximum financial support for the resident. Individuals interested in the Clinical Research Track should review the list of actively-funded research projects listed on the Division’s website.
What if none of the actively-funded projects match my interests?
There may be additional projects that are not currently listed as ‘actively-funded,’ but have been approved for future funding that may match with your planned OTD residency start. In addition, some faculty may have other resources to support OTD residents on preliminary projects that are not funded by grants. When appropriate and with approval of the OTD Program Director and Association Chair of Research, individual, voluntary (i.e., no financial support) residencies may also be developed.
Who are the faculty conducting research in the Division?
A summary of all Chan Division faculty who are actively conducting research is shown below. These summaries are meant to provide interested applicants with an overview of various research being conducted and should be used to investigate potential residency options. In addition to this list, more information for each faculty member can be found on the individual faculty member’s page, and at chan.usc.edu/research/core.
- Amber Angell | DREAmS Lab >
- Bobbi Pineda | Occupational Therapy NICU Lab >
- Grace Baranek | Innovations in Neurodevelopmental Sensory Processing Research (insp!re) Lab >
- Leah Stein Duker | Tailored Environmental Modifications (TEM) Lab >
- Lisa Aziz-Zadeh | A-Z Lab at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences’ Brain and Creativity Institute >
- Sharon Cermak | Sensory Adaptations in Dental Environments (SADE) >
- Shawn Roll | Musculoskeletal Sonography & Occupational Performance (MSOP) Lab >
- Sook-Lei Liew | Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (NPNL) >
- Stacey Schepens Niemiec | Healthy Aging Research and Technology (HART) Lab >
The Policy and Administration Track is designed to prepare residents as executive decision makers, public policy advocates or administrators who will serve as change agents to lead the profession forward. Applicants for the Policy and Administrative Track of the OTD program participate in an interview process at the respective residency site to determine their acceptance into the Track.
The Education Track includes opportunities for students interested in learning about pedagogy and best-practices related to teaching and curriculum development. Students gain experience in course design, student support and classroom management while supporting curricula in the Chan undergraduate and Master’s degree programs. Seasoned practitioners returning for their post-professional doctoral degree will gain teaching expertise as well as knowledge and skills in academic administration and accreditation necessary to become outstanding clinical faculty. Coursework complements the residency experience and serves to develop mastery of innovative pedagogical approaches. Applicants for the Education Track participate in an interview with Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray, Associate Chair of Curriculum and Faculty, to determine their acceptance into the Track. The residency is located within the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.
While OTD residencies have historically been offered in one primary area of focus, these new residency opportunities are intentionally constructed to bridge two mission areas and promote synergy between research, practice, and teaching. Applicants for synergy opportunities participate in an interview process to determine their acceptance into the residency.
External residencies are typically found in one of two ways:
- You coordinate your residency yourself. Most sites hire residents at a competitive OTR/L rate, or offer financial support in the form of a stipend or scholarship. You have the flexibility to negotiate your compensation at your external residency site if you are coordinating your placement. It is possible to use your workplace as your residency site and your site can be out of area.
- You apply for and are offered a residency placement at a site that is communicated through the OTD Program Director. Please note that the same sites do not provide a residency placement each year, and the timing of their availability and interview protocol also changes. We are able to provide a representative list of previous sites for your reference, but if you are interested in a residency at one of these sites, please wait for information to be communicated from the Program Director as it becomes available. The Program Director will forward all opportunities to current Master’s students as soon as they are received.
Previous external residency sites communicated through USC Chan, include:
- Bloom Pediatrics >
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech) >
- California Rehabilitation Institute >
- Child Development Institute >
- Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) >
- Children’s Institute >
- City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center >
- Dynamic Therapies >
- EBS Healthcare >
- Gallagher Pediatric Therapy (GPT) >
- Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center >
- Hands On OT >
- Hiller Therapy >
- Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens >
- Integrative Wellness Therapy >
- Intra Mental Health Center, Yerevan, Armenia >
- J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center >
- Keck Graduate Institute at Claremont Colleges >
- Kedren Mental Health Center >
- KidAbilities Pediatrics Therapy Center >
- LA County Department of Mental Health, Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Center >
- LA County Department of Mental Health, Northeast Mental Health Center >
- LAC+USC Medical Center, Acute Care >
- LAC+USC Medical Center, High Risk Premature Infant Clinic >
- LAC+USC Medical Center, Outpatient Hand Therapy >
- Los Angeles City College (LACC) >
- Momentum Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN) >
- Mt. San Antonio College >
- Mt. San Antonio Gardens >
- Mychal’s Learning Place >
- Northwest Center, Seattle >
- OT 4 KIDS >
- OT Studios >
- Painted Brain >
- Para Los Niños >
- Play 2 Progress >
- Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center >
- Rancho Los Amigos Vocational Services >
- Return to Zero: HOPE >
- Sarah Bryan Therapy >
- Southland Integrated Services >
- Speech, Language and Educational Associates >
- Sprout Children’s Therapy Center >
- Surf and Turf Therapy >
- Synergy Academies >
- The Adult Skills Center (TASC) >
- The Hand Center of Southern California >
- The Help Group >
- Therapy West, Inc. & pLAy Studio >
- UC Irvine Health — Rehabilitation Services >
- UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT >
- USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity (KCLC) >
- VA Palo Alto >
- Westwood Hills Hand Therapy >