Occupational Therapy Colleges and Degree Programs

Occupational therapists guide patients who have a variety of mental and physical conditions through activity-based treatment that can help them regain mobility. Read on to learn how you can become an occupational therapist by obtaining a degree at the master's or doctoral level. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What you Need to Know

Like many careers in the health care industry, occupational therapy is a growing field. Occupational therapists have a graduate degree and work with patients of all ages who have mental and physical issues, improving their functionality and quality of life.

Degrees Master of Science in Occupational Therapy; Doctorate of Occupational Therapy
Schools 149 schools offer accredited programs, most of them master's degree programs
Licensing State Occupational Therapist licensure is required

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy involves guiding patients with mental and physical diagnoses through everyday tasks in order to help participate more fully in life. As an occupational therapist, you might specialize in working with groups of patients. This may include working in schools to help children learn or helping elderly patients stay active. According to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 113,200 occupational therapists in 2012, and this number is expected to grow 29% by 2022. Occupational therapists earned an estimated annual median wage of $78,810 as of 2014 (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Become an Occupational Therapist?

Every state has a set of career guidelines pertaining to occupational therapy. To become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR), you need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination and any licensing examinations required by your state's medical boards. You qualify to take these examinations by graduating from an educational program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE). The BLS reported that there are roughly 149 college and university options throughout the U.S. as of 2013. Most ACOTE-approved degree programs result in a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT), but there are also a few accredited Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs.

What Are My Education Requirements?

A master's degree is the usually minimum requirement for obtaining employment as an occupational therapist, according to the BLS. MSOT and OTD programs generally take 2-3 years to complete. Joint degree programs result in both a bachelor's degree in health science and an MSOT; these take five years to complete. To enroll in an MSOT or OTD program, you need to earn a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate courses such as anatomy, physiology, health science, psychology, anthropology and communications. Continuing education is commonly a part of maintaining state licensure as an OTR.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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.

Popular Schools

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Widener University

    Widener University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Widener University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Delaware

    University of Delaware responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Delaware:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Steiner Education Group

    Steiner Education Group responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Steiner Education Group:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Linthicum
  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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