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

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    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:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    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
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