Occupational therapy is a diverse healthcare field aimed at helping physically impaired people improve their ability to perform daily living and working tasks. Occupational therapists (OTs) 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. OTs thereby promote independence in individuals who may otherwise require institutionalization or other long-term care. Occupational therapy can help keep healthcare 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 website here. Once registered on this website, 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 website.
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 113, BIOL 114, and BIOL 115*.|
|Chemistry (1 year)||
Option A: CHEM 104, 105, & 106
Option B CHEM 107-108
Option C: CHEM 111 and 341
You must choose among options A, B, and C. You may not switch between sequences. Be sure to check with your intended major to learn if there is a preferred sequence for that major.
|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 PSYC 243 or ECON 366 or BME 340 (only available to students in the Biomedical Engineering Program)|
|English (1 year)||Any courses in English (ENG), Rhetoric (RHET), Writing (WRIT), Creative Writing (CW) or Comparative Literature (COLI) departments.|
- BIOL 115 or its FRI equivalent: https://www.binghamton.edu/first-year-research-immersion/how-it-works/course-sequence.html
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
Entry-Level OTD program open:
Binghamton University offers an Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) professional program for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in another field who wish to become occupational therapists. This program has been granted Candidacy status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). For complete program details, information about admissions and admissions deadlines, and more, visit the program webpage.
In Jan. 2020, Binghamton University welcomed Jane Bear-Lehman as founding director of the Division of Occupational Therapy within the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences.