Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy: Program Summary
Aspiring occupational therapists must complete both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in the field before they can earn their license. For this reason, several universities offer combination occupational therapy programs, the first half of which will award graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy degree.
Bachelor's degree programs in occupational therapy are most commonly offered through the health sciences or physical therapy departments of 4-year universities and colleges. While enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in occupational therapy, students learn the basics of patient assessment, medical procedures and therapy treatments. A bachelor's degree program combines classroom lectures on disabling conditions and human anatomy with clinical and practical experience. Although a bachelor's degree is not enough education in itself to earn occupational therapy licensure, it does provide a solid background in the field and prepare students for a master's degree program in occupational therapy.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
- Program Length: Four years
Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy
Many of the courses included in a bachelor's degree program in occupational therapy are designed to provide students with a broad background in the healthcare field as well as an in-depth background in occupational therapy sciences. Some examples include:
- Functional anatomy
- Human development and functioning
- Health services practice management
- Occupational therapy process
- Disabling conditions
- Occupational practical and analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 114,660 occupational therapists jobs in healthcare services, hospitals, and nursing care facilities in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment of occupational therapists is predicted to rise by 27% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, the median annual salary for occupational therapists was $80,150 (www.bls.gov). Professionals who worked for home healthcare services typically earned the highest salaries.
All U.S. states require that occupational therapists gain licensure before they are legally allowed to practice. Professionals must pass a national licensure exam in order to gain the credit of Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). Before students can sit for the national exam, they must also complete a master's degree in the field. Individual boards such as the National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy also offer voluntary certification options that can increase career opportunities.