Universities in Tennessee most commonly offer occupational therapy programs at the master's level, but there are several schools that offer doctoral programs as well. These programs all offer plenty of hands-on learning experiences and may have online learning options available. Learn about some of the admission requirements for a few of the Tennessee schools with graduate occupational therapy programs.
Common Entrance Requirements
Students wishing to apply to occupational therapy degree programs in Tennessee, at both the master's and doctoral levels, must hold a bachelor's degree and will usually need to meet a specific GPA requirement. Applicants may also need to meet specific GRE test scores and/or undergo an interview process for admission. It is also common for the majority of these programs to require a variety of prerequisite coursework, typically in subjects including, but not limited to, psychology, anatomy, physiology, statistics and medical terminology. Along with the required applications and their official transcripts, applicants usually need to include 2 to 3 letters of reference, a personal essay and/or 30 to 50 hours of volunteer, work and/or observation hours in occupational therapy.
Tennessee Schools with Graduate Programs in Occupational Therapy
Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University in Nashville offers a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree program. Students in the program take traditional lecture and seminar courses, as well as hands-on learning classes, like labs and practicums. Students also gain fieldwork experience through internships and have the opportunity to participate in research. Specific course topics include physical dysfunction, biomechanics, pediatrics and anatomy.
Belmont University, also in Nashville, has a unique Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy specifically for those already licensed as occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) or physical therapy assistants (PTAs) and a full-time Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD). The full-time MS program is offered in an accelerated, hybrid format that includes online coursework and on-campus, intensive weekend classes. The OTD program allows students to gain research and clinical fieldwork experience and requires a culminating research project. Students can finish the OTD program in as little as 3 years, but must complete it within 6 years.
The University of Tennessee-Health Science Center
The University of Tennessee-Health Science Center in Memphis offers an MOT degree program. Students complete 21 months of coursework and 6 months of hands-on learning through fieldwork. The program also has a mandatory attendance policy with no excused absences for labs, fieldwork or coursework. Students take courses in topics such as neurobiology, evidence-based practice, leadership and aging.
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga provides an OTD program that graduated its first class in 2017 with a 100% pass rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, according to the school's website. Students in the program participate in research, fieldwork and an internship experience. This doctoral program is designed to be completed in 3 years, including 2 summer terms. Students examine occupational therapy concepts related to topics like technology, community, administration and mental health.
Tennessee Wesleyan University
Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens has an MOT degree program that totals 6 semesters. Students participate in fieldwork experiences throughout the program and complete a thesis. The program also gives students the opportunity to take some courses in specific topics of interest in occupational therapy practice, including spirituality, sexuality and creativity. Students also gain exposure with patients ranging in age from babies to the elderly.
Students applying to occupational therapy programs in Tennessee generally need hours of volunteer or observation hours in the field and must meet GPA requirements. Once admitted to one of the universities, students can pursue a master's or doctoral degree program that includes clinical experiences.