Master of Science (MS): Occupational Therapy Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

A Master of Science (M.S.) in Occupational Therapy is required in order to work as an occupational therapist. Students learn to assess, evaluate and build treatment plans to help people return to everyday activities and compensate for loss of functions.

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Essential Information

M.S. programs in occupational therapy combine classes with clinical research experience and hands-on training. Most programs require two years of study, and some schools combine bachelor's and master's programs.

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree, generally in occupational therapy, as well as previous coursework in relevant fields like science. Schools may require students to have completed specific coursework in anatomy, psychology, biomechanics and medical conditions.

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Students develop the critical-thinking, problem solving and leadership skills necessary to provide treatment to people who have disabling conditions. These conditions can be physical, mental, cognitive or emotional in nature. They learn to use specialized equipment designed for rehabilitation and therapy. Master's degree programs explore current occupational therapy practices, as well as future trends.

  • Occupational therapy theories
  • Educational leadership
  • Occupational therapy trends
  • Occupational performance for children and adults
  • Professional development

Popular Career Options

Some career opportunities for occupational therapists are available in:

  • Hospitals
  • Private and public educational services
  • Health care services

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for occupational therapists were expected to increase by 18% from 2018-2028. The projected increase is expected to partly stem from the aging population's need for treatments. The median wage for occupational therapists in May 2018 was $84,270.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

According to the BLS, occupational therapists in all states need to hold licensure to practice. Licensure requires the completion of an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)-accredited program and passing an exam.

Graduates of an M.S. in Occupational Therapy program may go on to earn a doctoral degree and focus on research and academia. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. offers a voluntary certification examination for graduates.

A Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree program covers equipment design, occupational theories and trends, leadership and the skills needed to work with disabled patients. Students will complete a combination of classroom coursework, clinical research, and field experience. Graduates should enjoy a healthy job market, with employment opportunities for occupational therapists increasing 27% between 2014 and 2024.

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