Occupational therapy is a vital health care service that uses “occupation,” meaning purposeful activity, as the basis for treatment of people with a wide variety of physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities.
Occupational therapists help individuals with disabilities, of all ages, acquire or regain the skills they need to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. They work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, public and private schools, and home health agencies.
Occupational therapists are responsible for evaluating clients and developing treatment plans to assist clients in achieving their goals. They provide functional treatment activities for clients individually and in groups, and they choose or fabricate equipment that helps people function more independently. Occupational therapists supervise certified occupational therapy assistants in carrying out treatment plans and possess skills to work with a variety of allied health professionals.
Students must complete an educational program in occupational therapy at the graduate level to become an occupational therapist.
The graduate degree in occupational therapy includes coursework focusing on theoretical constructs and their application to clinical practice, research, competencies, and professional leadership skills. The degree also includes six to nine months of full-time (40 hours/week) internships in a variety of health care and human service settings.
To ensure continuity of application of academic concepts, all fieldwork must be completed within 24 months following academic preparation and 2 months prior to the NBCOT Certification Examination date.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.
Graduates of the program are able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT); however, the NBCOT sets its own criteria for taking the exam, which may include questions on the applicant’s criminal history. A felony conviction my affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure. For more information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at 301.990.7979. After successful completion of this exam, you are an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
- University graduate application
- OTCAS application
- Earned bachelor’s degree
- College transcripts
- Minimum 3.2 GPA
- 50th percentile or above in each area on GRE < 3.2 GPA
- 40 hours of volunteer experience
- Three letters of reference
Social and Behavioral Sciences:
(3 or 4 unit course in each of the following, beyond introductory level within ten years prior to program admission)
- Developmental Psychology or Human Development (must cover life span)
- Abnormal Psychology
- Sociology or Cultural Anthropology
- Adult Development and Aging
(3 or 4 unit course in each of the following upper division level of physical sciences within five years prior to program admission)
- Human Anatomy with cadaver lab
- Neuroanatomy with lab
- Advanced Human Physiology with lab OR Pathophysiology
- Two courses of physical sciences (upper division)
(3 or 4 unit course in each of the following)
- Medical terminology