Which California Schools Offer Occupational Therapy Degrees?

Find out which California schools offer occupational therapy degree programs. See admissions requirements, prerequisites and school information, and learn about courses for an occupational therapy degree in California. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Preview four schools in California offering occupational therapy degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

What You Need to Know

Aspiring occupational therapists can apply to a 4-year bachelor's degree program or 2-year master's degree programs; a 5-year bachelor's/master's degree option is also available. Undergraduate students must complete prerequisite coursework prior to upper level occupational therapy coursework. Prerequisite coursework, experience, and GRE scores are typically required to apply to graduate degree programs. Graduates of master's degree programs may qualify for the professional licensing exam. Licensed occupational therapists and those eligible for licensing can apply to a PhD program. You can choose an area of specialization; you will also complete clinical training. Online graduate study may also be available. Read on to learn more about your program options below.

Occupational Therapy Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

University of Southern California

The bachelor's degree program in occupational therapy at the University of Southern California (USC) includes study in such subjects as kinesiology, behavioral neuroscience and clinical reasoning, as well as communication and quantitative research. In addition, you'll choose from courses that incorporate practical fieldwork in areas like mental health, physical rehabilitation and pediatrics. USC also offers a 5-year bachelor's-to-master's OT program, which allows you to earn your master's degree in occupational therapy in one year following your completion of the OT bachelor's degree program.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Program Length: 4 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $50,277 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Human anatomy and developmental psychology classes (prior to junior-year start in the OT program)
  • Admission Requirements: Application essay, 1 academic letter of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 18,739 undergraduate and 23,714 graduate students

Occupational Therapy Master's Degree Programs in California

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University (LLU) utilizes a quarter calendar system, with 3 regular quarters comprising the academic year, as well as a summer quarter that runs from June to August. In the master's program in occupational therapy, you'll study subjects like psychosocial development, disease pathology, case management and clinical administration. During your third year, you'll undertake clinical practicums at approved community locations. LLU also offers a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program online. The town of Loma Linda is in southern California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

  • Program Name: Master of Occupational Therapy
  • Program Length: 2.75 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $27,180 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree; classes in human anatomy and physiology (with labs), medical terminology, statistics and human development; 40 hours of professional OT experience
  • Admission Requirements: 3 recommendation letters, interview
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 1,189 undergrad and 3,411 grad students

Samuel Merritt University

Oakland, where Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is located, is about 12 miles east of San Francisco. The OT program at SMU comprises courses in areas such as research methodology, biomechanics, functional neuroscience and health care systems. During the summers following both your years in the program, you will undergo fieldwork experience in an occupational therapy setting. SMU is home to the non-profit Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), which is run by students and devoted to increasing public education and professional enhancement of the OT field.

  • Program Name: Master of Occupational Therapy
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $40,007 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Baccalaureate degree; at least 40-70 hours of OT experience; classes in statistics, English, developmental psychology, general psychology, abnormal psychology and other social sciences
  • Admission Requirements: 3 recommendation letters (1 from a supervising occupational therapist), interview
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 601 undergrad and 979 grad students

San Jose State University

San Jose State University's (SJSU) program in occupational therapy includes courses on such topics as neurorehabilitation, OT history and occupational adaptation, as well as occupational therapy practice in the contexts of geriatrics, pediatrics and mental health. You'll also be required to complete an OT fieldwork requirement. SJSU additionally offers a post-graduate online OT master's program for currently practicing occupational therapists.

  • Program Name: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $8,644 per year for in-state; $17,572 per year for out-of-state (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: 100 hours of OT experience; classes in human physiology and anatomy (with labs), sociology or anthropology, abnormal psychology, general psychology, neuroanatomy, statistics and one art medium
  • Admission Requirements: GRE/MAT scores, 3 letters of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 26,664 undergrad and 6,049 grad students

University of Southern California

The curriculum of USC's OT master's program encompasses classes on such subjects as clinical reasoning, behavioral neuroscience and effective communication, as well as elective choices in areas like lifestyle redesign, ergonomics and assistive technology. The program also includes immersion courses in geriatrics and physical rehabilitation, pediatrics and mental health, each of which incorporates practical fieldwork in its respective area. USC also offers a one-year OT master's program for board-eligible or certified occupational therapists.

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy
  • Specialization Areas: Life design health and wellness; work and industry; children and youth; disability, rehabilitation and participation; work and industry; mental health; productive aging
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $40,670 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Baccalaureate degree; human physiology and anatomy classes (with labs); classes in abnormal psychology, sociology or anthropology, medical terminology, developmental psychology, statistics
  • Admission Requirements: GRE scores, 3 recommendation letters, application essay
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 18,739 undergraduate and 23,714 graduate students

Occupational Therapy Doctoral Degree Programs in California

University of Southern California

The Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program at USC includes instruction in quantitative research, promotion of health and qualitative research, among other subjects. You'll also have the option of choosing from electives on such topics as sensory integration, universal design and the enhancement of motor control. During your first semester, you'll take a comprehensive course in occupational science, followed by a leadership class the next semester, in which you'll conceptualize the original project that will serve as a major component of your course of study. At some point in the program, you'll be required to take a minimum of one course outside the OT department that directly relates to the development of your project. USC also offers a Ph.D. program in occupational science.

  • Program Name: Doctorate of Occupational Therapy
  • Specialization Areas: Research expertise, policy and administrative leaders, advanced clinical practice, educational leadership
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $40,670 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: OT degree
  • Admission Requirements: Occupational therapist certification or eligibility for certification, GRE scores, 3 recommendation letters, application essay
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 18,739 undergraduate and 23,714 graduate students

San Jose State University, Loma Linda University, Samuel Merritt University, and the University of Southern California are all California colleges offering occupational therapy degrees, with the former three providing exclusively master's degree while the latter has bachelor's, master's, and doctoral training.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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