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Top Occupational Therapy Schools

Learn about the top schools for occupational therapy training. Find out about the colleges, rankings, locations and programs to make the right decision for an occupational therapy credential.

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A master's degree in occupational therapy is generally the minimum requirement for a position in this field, though doctoral degrees are available as well. While there are several schools in the nation that offer this training, here we discuss a few of the best.

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School Information

These three schools have all been highly ranked for the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings for their occupational therapy programs. A school's occupational therapy program can be accredited by organizations such as the accreditation board of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and graduates of accredited programs are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. The occupation therapy programs at Boston University, Washington University in St. Louis and Colorado State University in Fort Collins are described below, and a list of other top accredited schools with OT programs is also provided.

Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

School Highlight: As of 2016, the pass rate for OT graduates on the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam was 99%.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Boston University's Department of Rehabilitation Sciences as tied for #1 compared to all graduate programs for occupational therapy for 2017. The Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at BU offers a wide range of clinical placement options as well as a distinguished faculty. Program options include a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and an online post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

School Highlight: At Washington University, 99% of the 2013-2015 OT graduates passed the NBCOT exam.

For 2017, U.S. News & World Report put Washington University in St. Louis' (WUSTL) program as tied for #1 on the list of best occupational therapy graduate programs in the nation. The Washington University School of Medicine offers programs including a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), as well as a post-professional OTD. Faculty in the occupational therapy program at WUSTL are leaders in the field, and students can choose from more than 500 sites nationwide for completing fieldwork assignments.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

School Highlight: This school offers interdisciplinary studies in both human performance and occupational participation.

This school offers students a Master of Occupational Therapy (M.OT), a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Ph.D. in Occupation and Rehabilitation Science. It also ties for having the 6th best occupational therapy program for 2017 by the U.S. News & World Report.

Top Occupational Therapy Schools

Here are a few other tops schools that offer programs in occupational therapy, as well as some facts that may make them a good choice for you.

  • Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia, PA, includes opportunities for collaboration in child and family studies, elder care, and a sensory integration lab.
  • Tufts University, located in Medford, MA, has an entry-level master's, a post-professional master's, a doctoral degree and a certificate are all offered.
  • University of Illinois - Chicago is ranked 4th onU.S. News & World Report's list of 'Best Graduate Schools for Occupational Therapy' for 2017.
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, has degree options include a Master or Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Science.
  • University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus, in Pittsburgh, PA, has a master's degree program which reported a 99% graduation rate over the 2013-2015 period, along with a 97% job placement rate within 6 months of graduation.
  • The OT program at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, is ranked #3 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

With many schools across the nation offering master's and doctoral degrees in the field, there are several education options available for aspiring occupational therapists. This article only shows a few of the top options based on rankings, strong graduation rates and more.

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