What is an occupational therapist?
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA):
“In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the life span participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
“Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.”
- Time to Degree: Either a master’s or doctoral degree is required. A master’s degree typically takes about two years, and a doctoral degree takes about three years.
- Clinical Requirements: Programs require a minimum of 24 weeks of clinical fieldwork. Doctoral programs may require an additional 16 weeks (per AOTA).
- Certification Requirements: Must pass a National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
- Median Indiana Salary: $77,210 per year
- Projected Job Growth: 27% between 2014 and 2024
- Minimum GPA: Usually at least a 3.0, but varies by program.
- Exam Requirements: GRE.
- Tuition: Varies by program—between $10,000 and $40,000 per year.
- Application Deadline: Varies by program, often in the fall one year prior to your desired start date.
- Prerequisite Courses:
- Human anatomy with lab
- Human physiology with lab
- Physics with lab
- Medical terminology
- Abnormal psychology or psychopathology
- Life span/human development
- Introductory psychology
- Introductory sociology or anthropology