Occupational therapy involves assisting persons who are limited in their ability to complete activities of daily living, leisure and careers. Many distance learning occupational therapy schools allow students to complete 60-70% of coursework online, and some graduate programs are offered 100% online. Programs are available at the associate's and master's degree levels. Supervised clinical practice is typically required.
Santa Ana College
An entry-level professional position in this field is an occupational therapy assistant. Santa Ana College (SAC) offers a program for assistants that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Students receive a strong base of theoretical and practical courses that prepare graduates to sit for the national certification exam offered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), www.nbcot.org.
Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
Santa Ana College's online program combines online lectures with supervised clinical practice and on-campus lab work. The curriculum enables students to provide help to those with developmental, mental or physical challenges. Coursework includes a general education curriculum and subjects relating to the major, such as anatomy and assessment of clients.
Completion of this school's degree program and obtainment of appropriate certification or licensure prepares graduates to work as registered occupational therapists. Shenandoah University's online program is accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
In this graduate program, problem-based learning groups meet online weekly. Students are encouraged to take advantage of hands-on community-based learning opportunities that are arranged each term. In addition, participants have access to a faculty member who is available for mentoring.
University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma offers a hybrid master's degree program. The school also offers an online post-professional doctoral degree to registered occupational therapists; the program emphasizes advanced clinical skills and scholarly research. A registered occupational therapist (OTR) has graduated from an accredited occupational therapy institution and successfully passed a national certification examination. Many states require a license to practice.
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
This professional program requires 80 semester hours of coursework that is sequenced and integrated with 26 weeks of fieldwork. The program is typically completed within 5 years.
Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences
This closely related doctoral degree has a 100% Web-based path for occupational therapists who wish to specialize in pediatric practice. The program centers on therapy used in schools and teaches students methods for early intervention to assist youngsters in successful integration into mainstream society.
Online programs in occupational therapy are available through schools such as the University of Oklahoma, Santa Ana College, and Shenandoah University. Programs are typically in a hybrid format, with most coursework online and required clinical practice, though some fully online graduate programs are also available.