Occupational Science Associates Degree Programs

Occupational science is a multi-disciplinary field wherein professionals help individuals who have physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities to perform daily functions independently, whether at home or work. Students learn to provide rehabilitative services that improve memory, motor skills and problem-solving abilities.

Essential Information

Students of such occupational therapy programs are typically trained to work as assistants to occupational therapists that hold bachelor's or master's degrees. Students work as part of rehabilitative teams to create, implement, and evaluate treatment plans. Additionally, these programs may prepare students for state mandated licensure exams.

  • Program Levels in Occupational Science: Associate's Degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, 2.5 GPA or higher, ACT/SAT scores
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Other Requirements: Internship/field work with occupational therapist; students should be in good physical shape to lift patients

Associate's in Occupational Science

Curricula for occupational science associate's degree programs combine courses in social and behavioral sciences, general education, and occupational science. Common courses include the following:

  • Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Human development
  • Biology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pediatric occupational therapy
  • Adult occupational therapy
  • Group occupational therapy

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Due to the aging U.S. population, employer demand for occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43% from 2010-2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs will be available in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, residential care facilities, nursing homes, hospices and adult day care centers. Occupational therapy assistants earn a median annual salary of $53,240 in 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Students who earn an associate's degree in the field of occupational science may transfer credits to a bachelor's or master's degree program in occupational science or related field. Most states require aspiring occupational therapists to pass a certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Graduates of occupational science associate's degree programs receive significant on-the-job training.

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