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Best Online Degrees in: Occupational Therapy

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists must have a graduate degree in occupational therapy as well as a state license. Acceptance into a professional occupational therapy program usually requires a bachelor’s degree, which could be in occupational therapy, or any other field, provided the student completes necessary prerequisites in areas such as biology and physiology. Occupational therapists teach therapeutic techniques to treat patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. They observe patients and review their medical history to set goals and activities, and evaluate a patient’s daily environment to better accommodate a patient’s needs.

Class Curriculum

Occupational therapy requires general course work in psychology, English, and biology. Further occupational therapy course work is required in anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience. Specific course work may be required in motor learning, biomechanics, healthcare systems, and corresponding laboratory course work.

  • Human Physiology. Human physiology studies human neurological and muscular systems. The course covers cellular, molecular, and biochemical processes and their integrated function in the human body.
  • Biomechanics. Biomechanics covers the musculoskeletal anatomy and the mechanical behavior of biological tissues. Students study human function and movement, energy and power in human activity, and the application of stress.
  • Neuroscience. Neuroscience covers the structure and function of the human central nervous system. Study includes cognitive development, visual perception, learning development, and changes to the brain from developmental and neurological disorders.

Students working toward an education in occupational therapy may be required to conduct research studies and read current research in subjects related to occupation therapy. Students working toward an education in occupational therapy may also be required to have work experience in an occupational therapy setting, either through voluntary or internship work.

Building a Career

Occupational therapist licensure is a requirement for all states, and requires a degree from an accredited educational program and passing a National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists exam. Many occupational therapists are certified through the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists by passing an exam for the title of Occupational Therapist Registered. To become licensed, one must possess an approved master’s degree in occupational therapy.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual pay for occupational therapists in May 2010 was $72,320. Occupational therapists employment is expected to increase by 33% between 2010 and 2020. Occupational therapists work in home healthcare, nursing care facilities, private offices, or state, local, and private hospitals. Salaries for occupational therapists vary greatly based on the size of their employer, the region of the country they work in, their level of experience, and other considerations.

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