What is the Best Degree To Become an Occupational Therapist?

The best degree to become an occupational therapist is a master’s degree in occupational therapy. This is actually the mandated educational standard for becoming a licensed occupational therapist. Admission to these degree programs is quite competitive, so candidates will need to have a high GPA and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Students should have impressive grades in prerequisite courses. These include physiology, human anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, psychology and medical terminology. Many universities also require students to have taken classes in humanities, writing, statistics and social sciences. These master’s degree programs usually take two and a half years to three years to complete.

Occupational Therapy

The purpose of a School of Occupational Therapy purpose is to integrate classroom coursework and clinical fieldwork together in ways that promote practical skills, contextual learning and professional competence. The curriculum of these degree programs ensures that students will be capable of handling demanding workloads, complex health programs and rapidly changing health care environments. The curriculum will introduce community-based practice models and evidence-based practice and research. This training helps students to gain specialty skills and experiential knowledge. The coursework of these scientific classes are enhanced by elective courses and internships.

The curriculum uses scientific evidence to show that meaningful occupational engagement leads to better health, safety and well-being. These programs also emphasize the critical role that psychosocial skills play through the whole cycle of patient care. Students learn the leadership development and advocacy techniques needed to excel in professional roles in health and human services. After graduation, students will be ready to provide meaningful occupational-based services to diverse individuals, groups and organizations. Students will be prepared to promote the health and wellness of their clients through gainful occupation.

Occupational Therapy Career Overview

Occupational therapists help clients do the things they want by improving their health and well-being. They work with clients who have experienced illness, injuries or physical developmental issues. Regardless of the reason, they help their clients improve their health, functionality and self-awareness. Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings. This includes health care organizations, such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and community based programs, such as athletic clubs and group homes. They may also travel to work in schools, universities and business.

The employment outlook for occupational therapists is good because there is a growing demand for qualified occupational therapists in traditional and innovative areas of health care practice. Social trends now favor occupational therapy services as a way to improve long-term conditions and limitations. There are new employment markets and job opportunities for occupational therapists in new settings and situations. These include ergonomics consulting, such as with industrial hygiene and safety inspectors, as well as accessibility consulting for building architects and designers. Health and wellness professionals, driver rehabilitation trainers, mental health service counselors and medical device engineers may all require the help of occupational therapists.

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Graduates of occupational therapy programs will be eligible to take the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapists. This is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After passing the exam, the person will be an official Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure to practice through the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.