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Pre-Occupational Therapy Advising

Occupational therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession that helps people regain, develop, and build skills that are important for independent functioning, health, well-being, security and happiness.  Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages who, because of illness, injury, or developmental or psychological impairment, need specialized assistance in learning skills to enable them to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives.

Occupational therapy can prevent injury or the worsening of existing conditions or disabilities and promote independent functioning in individuals who may otherwise require institutionalization or other long-term care.  Because of this, occupational therapy keeps health care costs down and maximizes the quality of life for the individual, their family, and other caregivers. 

You can practice occupational therapy as a licensed occupational therapist (Master’s degree) or an occupational therapist assistant (two-year associate’s degree).  

Career Options

Typical work environments are: clinical (direct patient care), research, teaching, administration, and consultation.  The employment settings include schools (K-12), hospitals (emergency, acute, and inpatient rehabilitation),outpatient rehabilitation facilities, community clinics, residential and custodial or long-term care facilities, early intervention programs, home health program, hospice programs, university clinics, private practice, and community outreach programs.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor lists Occupational Therapy as projected to grow 27% from 2014 to 2024, described as “much faster than average” for all occupations.  The 2015 median salary for an occupational therapist with a Master’s degree was $80,150 per year.

Preparing for Graduate School

Asa college student preparing for graduate work in occupational therapy, you should be aware of several steps necessary for admission into an accredited occupational therapy program:

  • Contact OT education programs to learn what prerequisites are required
  • Volunteer in a department of occupational therapy for a minimum of 60 observation hours
  • Find an occupational therapist mentor to meet members of the field
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before your senior year

Learn about the profession and what degrees are offered (Associates degree, Master’s Degree, or doctorate) in Occupational Therapy) and discover why you would be a strong candidate for the profession so that you may properly promote yourself in your application essays.

Prerequisite courses for OT graduate school

Since the exact prerequisite courses vary for each graduate school, it is important for the student to examine the graduate schools they are interested in attending during their sophomore or junior year to allow time to complete all of the prerequisite courses.  The list below contains the most common prerequisite courses when examining many occupational therapy graduate program admissions requirements:

12 credits – Biological Sciences

4 credits – College Biology with lab
4 credits – Human Anatomy with lab
4 credits – Human Physiology with lab
(or 8 credits of Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab)

Note: 3-credit A&P courses or Exercise Physiology courses are NOT acceptable for these credits.

3 credits – Statistics  
3 credits - Humanities
9-15 credits – Psychology

One introductory course required
1-3 Courses in human growth & development 
Abnormal psychology 

A medical terminology or exercise physiology course may be recommended, but not required.
Typically, a grade of ‘B-’ or better is required in all of these prerequisite courses.  SCSU courses that fulfill these requirements include:

BIO 120, Microbiology
BIO 200 and 201, Human Anatomy & Physiology I&II
EXS 485, Measurement & Statistics in EXS
PSY 100, Intro to Psychology
PSY 210/215/219, Infant & Child Development, Adolescent Development, Lifespan Development  
PSY 321, Abnormal Psychology

Resource

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) – a nationally recognized professional association for occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students of occupational therapy.

Occupational Therapy Schools in Connecticut Awarding Professional Entry-level Master’s Degrees

Sacred Heart University – Fairfield, CT

Other Area Entry-level Occupational Therapy Schools  

Bay Path University – Longmeadow, MA
American International College – Springfield, MA
Springfield College – Springfield, MA
Boston University – Boston, MA
Salem State University – Salem, MA
Tufts University – Medford, MA
Worcester State University – Worcester, MA
University of New Hampshire – Durham, NH
University of Southern Maine – Lewiston, ME
University of New England – Portland, ME
Columbia University – New York, NY
Ithaca College – Ithaca, NY
Mercy College – Dobbs Ferry, NY
New York University – New York, NY
Stony Brook University – Southampton, NY