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Occupational therapy schools will typically feature master’s degree or doctoral programs. In addition to completing an extensive amount of graduate work, students will also need to complete state specific licensing requirements in order to practice, which includes several hours working in a professional occupational therapy environment.
The master’s degree program, offered at occupational therapy schools will teach a student how they can help to improve a patient’s functional living and work skills. A student will obtain critical thinking skills, therapeutic practice principles and learn how to apply them to work with clients who have physical or mental disabilities. Aside from lab sessions and classroom learning, programs offered at occupational schools will also include an extensive amount of clinical work.
Overview for Degree Programs Available at Occupational Therapy Schools
A student who is applying for enrollment into a master’s degree program will need to have a bachelor’s degree in OT, with the completion of prerequisite classes in physiology, psychology, statistics and anatomy. Many occupational therapy schools will also have minimum GPA requirements for these prerequisite classes. Occupational therapy schools will typically prefer students to have completed volunteer work in an occupational therapy environment, before applying for enrollment.
Graduate programs will often include classwork in body systems, in addition to core theories and ethics for this industry. Some of the topics that will be covered include occupational development, patient advocacy, kinesiology, patient documentation and theories in occupational therapy.
Doctoral programs found at occupational therapy schools will prepare a student for positions in research and academia. These programs will allow a student flexibility when it comes to pursuing a specific field of study. The graduation requirements for this program consist of completing a thesis and an independent research project. Some of programs can also be offered through distance learning institutions. Distance learning programs will also feature clinical rotation requirements.
In order to qualify for this advanced degree program a student will need to have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational therapy or a related field. Other prerequisites can include having valid certification as an occupational therapist. . Additionally, schools will also take admission testing and GPA averages into account. A doctoral program will include advanced classwork in OT and research. Some of the topics for the courses offered include occupational performances, statistics, research, OT centered practice and patient interaction.
Advanced Doctoral Programs for Occupational Therapy
Ph.D. programs for the doctorate of occupational therapy will differ from basic Ph.D. programs in that they are geared towards the professional practices. These advanced programs are very limited, with only six in existence. An advanced Ph.D. program can be completed in three to four years and will include clinical rotations and professional fieldwork.
The enrollment requirements for this program are very similar to other graduate programs in that they will require the student to obtain a bachelor’s degree, in addition to the completion of specific science based classwork. A program applicant will need to have completed a determined amount of volunteer work in an occupational therapy environment in order to qualify for enrollment. Students will learn how to work with diverse populations, such as the elderly and children. The program curricula will include topics such as ethical reasoning, human performance, anatomy, body systems, and leadership in the field.
The field of occupational therapy will focus on helping people who are disabled and teach them how to work and live at a more functional level. The master’s degree is typically the minimum education requirement for this field, however, some states can also have certain clinical hour requirements as well.
Top Schools for the OT Field
Boston University is a four year college that offers a master’s degree and a doctoral program for occupational therapy. The program options offered at this college include an online doctoral program, a blended master’s degree program and a bridge program for the master’s degree program.
Washington University has been rated as one of the top occupational therapy schools in the country. This school features a master’s and doctoral program in occupational therapy. Students will also experience a number of options when it comes to choosing their clinical training environment.
The University of California features a one year master’s degree program, available to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in this field. A two year doctoral program is also available.
The University of Illinois offers a master’s degree program in occupational therapy, in addition to a doctoral degree program. Enrollment requirements are very strict and are very competitive. This school also features a master’s degree program that offers additional training courses for the occupational therapist exam. The clinical rotation portion of the program will take place during the final six months of study and features job placement possibilities to graduates who obtain certification.