Occupational therapy is a diverse health care field aimed at helping physically impaired people improve their ability to perform daily living and working tasks. Occupational therapists (OT's) work with people experiencing health problems such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, cancer, congenital conditions, developmental problems, and mental illness. Practitioners work in a wide range of settings including schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, psychiatric facilities, and community health programs. Occupational therapy helps people regain, develop, and build skills that are essential for independent functioning, health, and well being.
Occupational therapy can prevent injury, the worsening of existing conditions or disabilities. They thereby promote independence in individuals who may otherwise require institutionalization or other long-term care. Occupational therapy can help keep health care costs down while maximizing the quality of life for individuals, families, and caregivers. Occupational practitioners can be credentialed at either the professional (occupational therapist) or technical (occupational therapy assistant) level after completing a baccalaureate or entry-level master's degree (OT) or 2-year associate degree (OTA) program. This can be completed in one of over 200 accredited programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Once you have decided to pursue a career in OT, you should contact at least 10 different programs. A nationwide listing of more than 200 educational programs offered by colleges and universities is available from the American Occupational Therapy Association. This website includes information on OT accreditation, post professional programs and student registries.
There is now a centralized application service in place for occupational therapy known as OTCAS. You can access the web site here. Once registered on this web site, you will be able to access the centralized application and view the full application requirements. OTCAS participates in a centralized letter distribution system for letters of recommendation. Each OT program establishes its own deadline independent from OTCAS, so be sure to look these up on each program's web site.
Although the application process varies from school to school, the majority of the occupational therapy programs require:
- Completed application packet
- Application fee
- Three letters of recommendation
- Official transcript from every college or university attended
- Official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- Personal Statement
THIS LIST OF COURSES SHOULD FULFILL MOST ACCREDITED PROGRAMS. HOWEVER, DUE TO THE DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS FOR VARIOUS PROGRAMS, THIS LIST MAY NOT BE EXHAUSTIVE, IT SHOULD MERELY BE A GUIDE. IT IS STILL IMPORTANT TO CONTACT INDIVIDUAL PROGRAMS REGARDING SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS.
Occupational Therapy Graduate School Course Requirements
Course Rubric & Number
|Biology (1 year)||BIOL 117 & BIOL 118|
|Chemistry (1 year)||CHEM 107 & CHEM 108
CHEM 111 & CHEM 341
You MUST choose one sequence. You may NOT switch between sequences. Also, CHEM 107 MUST be taken in the fall semester and CHEM 108 in the spring semester.
|Human Anatomy & Physiology (1 Year)||BIOL 251 & either BIOL 252 or BIOL 347|
|Introductory Psychology (1 semester)||PSYC 111|
|Developmental Psychology (1 semester)||PSYC 220|
|Abnormal Psychology (1 semester)||PSYC 223|
|Statistics (1 semester)||MATH 147 or MATH 148 or PSYC 243 or ECON 366|
|English (1 year)||Any courses in English (ENG), Rhetoric (RHET), Writing (WRIT), Creative Writing (CW) or Comparative Literature (COLI) departments.|
Additional requirements/recommendations may include:
Course Rubric and Number
|Physics (1 -2 semester)||PHYS 121 (and PHYS 122)|
|Sociology (1 semester)||any sociology course|
|Anthropology (1 semester)||any anthropology course|
|Medical Ethics (1 semester)||PHIL 148|
|Neurobiology (1 semester)||BIOL 313|
For more information about Occupational Therapy Programs, contact:
American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
4720 Montgomery Lane
PO Box 31220
Bethesda, MD 20824-1220