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 an occupational therapy license, it does provide a solid background in the field and prepare students for a master's degree program in occupational therapy.
Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy
Many of the courses included in an occupational therapy bachelor's program are designed to provide students with a broad background in the healthcare field, as well the occupational therapy sciences. Some examples include:
- Functional anatomy
- Human development and functioning
- Health services practice management
- Occupational therapy process
- Occupational practical and analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 114,660 occupational therapists employed in 2014 (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).
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.
In occupational therapy bachelor's programs, students learn about topics like anatomy, human development and health services management. The occupational therapy field is expected to see much faster than average employment growth.