What Are Good Majors for Aspiring Occupational Therapists?

As an occupational therapist, you'll generally work with individuals who have difficulties performing everyday tasks, including patients with developmental delays, spinal cord injuries, social or emotional disorders, neurological problems or arthritis. You'll need to earn a master's degree to qualify for the job, but which majors prepare you for graduate study in the field? Keep reading to find out. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Possible Majors for Aspiring Occupational Therapists

To be admitted to an occupational therapy master's degree program, you'll typically need to have completed a bachelor's degree in abnormal psychology, sociology, anatomy, human physiology, biology or general statistics. You could major or minor in any of these subjects or enroll in a pre-occupational therapy program. Not all schools offer pre-occupational therapy programs, but you can plan a curriculum centered around a related major to prepare you for an occupational therapy master's degree program.

Some schools offer bachelor's-to-master's degree programs in occupational therapy. You can pursue an undergraduate major in one area, such as occupational studies, health science or interdisciplinary studies, while simultaneously completing your first year of graduate coursework. The following undergraduate majors can also prepare you for a master's degree program:

  • Rehabilitative science
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry
  • Kinesiology
  • Physics

Important Facts About The Career Field

LicensureAfter earning a master's degree, must pass exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapists
Median Pay (2018)$84,270 (for all occupational therapists)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)18% (much faster than average)
Similar OccupationsOccupational therapy assistants and aides, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, recreational therapists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Relevant Coursework

Whether you enroll in a pre-occupational therapy program or major in a related science, courses that teach you about how the human body works and therapeutic procedures for its rehabilitation can prepare you for a career as an occupational therapist. In addition to physiological and physical instruction, classes that cover communication and leadership training teach you how to provide corrective and healthy interaction with patients.

Additional Requirements

A few master's degree programs in occupational therapy require you to have some work or volunteer experience in the health care field. These prerequisites can be met through a pre-occupational therapy program that includes a clinical practicum. You might also gain necessary experience working as an aide or volunteering in a physical therapy, mental health or rehabilitation services clinic.

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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