Bachelor's Degree Programs in Occupational Therapy
If you're interested in helping people recover from disease or injury so they can enjoy life, then you should consider earning your bachelor's degree in occupational therapy. Learn about degree programs, why you should earn this degree, how to become an occupational therapist and what topics will be covered.
What Will I Learn?
Undergraduate study begins with general coursework in psychology, physics, sociology and art. You'll also learn about anatomy, behavioral science and biology. Since the goal of occupational therapy is to rehabilitate patients, you'll apply this knowledge by learning how to design activities specific to a patient's illness or injury.
These activities may include physical exercise, religious worship, job placement, games and socialization. In support of learning how to design an occupational therapy program for patients, coursework will address:
- Human development
- Physical disabilities
- Exercise science
- Occupational therapy research
|Common Courses||Anatomy, physics, behavioral science, sociology, biology|
|Degree Levels||Bachelor's and master's degrees are available|
|Continuing Education||Licensure is obtained by passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||28% growth (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$57,620 (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Kinds of Programs Award Bachelor's Degrees in Occupational Therapy?
Some undergraduate programs in occupational therapy allow you to earn your Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees on an accelerated track of study. None of these programs are available online. A small number of programs only award a Bachelor of Science degree.
The purpose of a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy degree program is to pursue further study in a master's degree program. You can also earn your master's degree within a year after completing undergraduate study. Normally, it takes two or more years to earn a master's degree in occupational therapy.
How Do I Become an Occupational Therapist?
First, you'll need to fulfill pre-professional requirements. This can be accomplished through a program that awards a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy or a program that awards a combined Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degree. Regardless of what type of program you choose, you'll need to complete an internship or paid work experience under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.
After you earn your master's degree, you'll be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. After passing the exam, you can become a licensed occupational therapist in the state where you plan to work. Each state has different licensing and renewal requirements.