Occupational Therapy Colleges: Getting an Education in Aiding Others

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Occupational therapy is a worthwhile career to pursue, but it's not something you can just pick up without any difficulty. It's something that you'll have to work at, focus on, and grow in before you'll be able to perform the job alongside the best. That's why there are many occupational therapy colleges spread out throughout the country, where students can go to learn all the most important principles and techniques necessary to become successful occupational therapists. If you want to become an occupational therapist, your path will take you to an occupational therapy college.

What are occupational therapy colleges?

Calling these schools "occupational therapy colleges" carries with it certain untrue implications, such as that these schools are undergraduate institutions. Most occupational therapy colleges actually function at the graduate level, meaning students should only be entering into these schools upon having attained bachelor's degrees in the appropriate subjects. Occupational therapy colleges award students master's level degrees upon completing the universities' curriculums.

Occupational therapy colleges sometimes will also allow for further specialization, beyond the more broad occupational therapy Master of Science or Master of Occupational Therapy degrees that they most often offer. Such specialization may include a focus on subjects such as pediatrics or physical rehabilitation, among others.  Specialization is likely to vary between occupational therapy college programs.

What degrees do occupational therapy colleges offer?

Occupational therapy colleges are defined by offering some form of occupational therapy degree. The exact degree offered may vary from occupational therapy college to occupational therapy college. For example, some occupational therapy college programs may offer a Master of Occupational Therapy, while others may offer a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. There are also options such as a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy, and the set of degrees focused on Occupational Therapy Assistantship.

Occupational therapy colleges may require students to commit a varying amount of time in order to earn the desired degrees, although generally, one can expect to commit up two years or more to occupational therapy college programs. All accredited occupational therapy colleges do have a 24 week period of supervised fieldwork, as part of the requirements for accreditation.

What should I look for in an occupational therapy college?

If you're interested in occupational therapy college programs, you should be sure to look at programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Only occupational therapy college programs accredited by ACOTE will allow students to sit for the national certifying examination to become certified occupational therapist. The same is true of occupational therapist assistant colleges, as those colleges must be accredited by ACOTE in order to allow students to sit for the nationally certifying examinations.

Lists of occupational therapy colleges, both offering occupational therapy graduate level degrees and occupational therapy assistant degrees, can be found at the website for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Considering occupational therapy colleges is a lot like considering any kind of graduate school program. You must take into account the cost of the education, the location of the university in question, the overall utility of a degree from that institution in particular, and so on. Fortunately, because occupational therapy colleges are providing students with a degree in a growing field, many of these concerns are less pressing or problematic than they would be in other fields.

Occupational Therapy Programs
About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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