Students in Missouri interested in earning a degree in occupational therapy may choose to earn a bachelor's in occupational science before enrolling in a master's and/or doctoral degree program in occupational therapy. Some students choose to enroll in dual degree programs that result in both a baccalaureate and graduate degree in the field and qualify them to take the necessary licensing exams. Practicum requirements, such as fieldwork experiences, are common. Research projects and the opportunity to travel to complete internships are also possible.
Maryville University of Saint Louis
Located in St. Louis, this university has a student population of nearly 3,900 and sits on 130 acres. The university offers a Master of Occupational Therapy degree that students begin during their freshman year. Over a five-year period, students are awarded with the master's degree without receiving an undergraduate degree. The curriculum of this program is focused on developing clinical reasoning skills and the development of professional behaviors that can be applied to clinical and community settings. The last three years of the program are focused primarily on occupational therapy coursework, and includes fieldwork experiences in a variety of community and health care settings. Fieldwork placements can be assigned anywhere in the United States and are offered as two 12-week placements.
Rockhurst University, located in Kansas City, is a Catholic and Jesuit university that emphasizes small class sizes, with a 12:1 student-faculty ratio. Students enrolled in the Master of Occupational Therapy degree program can expect to complete five semesters of coursework and spend 24 weeks in clinical residency. The curriculum includes courses in anatomy, kinesiology, movement, developmental disabilities and assessment and intervention. The program also requires that students complete a research project and participate in numerous fieldwork experiences. Through fieldwork assignments, students are supervised by experienced occupational therapists and work on developing professional skills. Students also have the opportunity to complete fieldwork assignments internationally and can volunteer or work as a clinic administrator at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic.
Saint Louis University - Main Campus
Established in 1818, this Catholic and Jesuit university is located in Saint Louis and serves almost 14,000 students. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science or a Master of Occupational Therapy degree. This dual degree program is typically completed in five years and includes courses in medical terminology, anatomy, neuroscience, kinesiology, rehabilitation, mental health and working with infants, children and older adults. Fieldwork is an essential part of the program and provides students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in their coursework to the professional setting. The first level of fieldwork is designed to familiarize students with the role of an occupational therapist and learn about developing professional skills, while the second level of fieldwork is more involved and allows students to practice their skills in providing occupational therapy to clients. Students are assigned a faculty mentor after being accepted into the master's program and are required to participate in professional development seminars.
Washington University in St. Louis
Located in St. Louis, this university offers a master's, doctorate and post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy. Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program typically complete the program in 28 months. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate can be completed in 40 months and includes a 16-week doctoral apprenticeship. Students in the master's and doctorate program can choose among five concentration areas, including productive aging, work and industry, social participation and the environment and children and youth, among others. Fieldwork is a core aspect of the master's and doctorate program and students have the option of choosing the type of setting and location in which they would like to gain experience. The post-professional doctorate degree is designed for students who have previously received a bachelor's or master's degree in occupational therapy and includes the completion of 72 hours of coursework and a full-time apprenticeship that lasts for 16 weeks.
To become a licensed occupational therapist, students must receive a master's degree from an accredited university and pass a certification exam offered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT). Although certification is optional, many professionals in the field choose to take the certifying exam offered by the NBCOT. After successfully completing this exam, therapists can use the title of Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). This credential is valid for three years and can be maintained by completing 36 Professional Development Units (PDUs), completing a Certification Renewal Application, abiding by the NBCOT Candidate/Certificant Code of Conduct and paying a renewal application fee.
There are only four public and private occupational therapy schools in Missouri, all of which have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). These schools are summarized in the comparison table below.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Occupational Therapy Degrees Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Maryville University of Saint Louis||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Master of Occupational Therapy||$15,646 per year*|
|Rockhurst University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city||Master of Occupational Therapy||$16,060 per year*|
|Saint Louis University - Main Campus||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science,
Master of Occupational Therapy
| $20,994 per year*
($43,884 undergraduate tuition)
|Washington University in St. Louis||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy,
Post-Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy
|$52,875 per year*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.