Occupational Therapy College in Tennessee with Degree Overviews

There are seven schools in Tennessee that offer occupational therapy programs. Read an overview of these programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Students in Tennessee interested in completing a formal education program in occupational therapy may choose to earn an associate's in occupational therapy assisting or pre-occupational therapy, bachelor's degree in pre-occupational therapy, or master's or doctoral programs for occupational therapists. Except for the pre-occupational therapy associate's and bachelor's programs, each of these programs includes fieldwork experiences.

Students need to complete a bachelor's degree program prior to enrolling in a graduate degree program. Some programs emphasize research in addition to fieldwork. Online and weekend courses are offered by some schools for part of the curriculum.


Belmont University

Located in Nashville, Belmont University enrolls about 6,000 students. The school offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy that is mainly designed for currently licensed OTAs. This 75-credit-hour program is offered in an accelerated format that includes weekend classes and online coursework. Classes in the program cover topics like neuroscience, kinesiology and occupational performance.

The university also offers a 36-month Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. In addition to fieldwork, this program, which requires 109 semester credits of study, includes a 640-hour residency. Classes in the program provide instruction about topics such as clinical pathophysiology, cultural awareness in human development, public policy and interventions in cognition and perceptual disorders.

Milligan College

Milligan College is located in the city of its name, Milligan. The school, which enrolls approximately 1,000 students, offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. The curriculum of this program includes three main components: an introduction to occupational therapy, an education about the occupational therapy process and capstone experiences. Classes in the program focus on subjects such as diagnostic considerations for occupational therapy, lifespan occupational development and neurological dysfunction theory and practice.

Nashville State Community College

Located in the city of its name, Nashville, this college enrolls about 10,000 students. It offers an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant that requires 70 credits of study. Classes in the program cover topics like human movement, group dynamics, the foundations of occupational therapy and occupational human development.

The college also offers a 60-credit-hour Associate of Science with an emphasis in pre-occupational therapy program. Coursework in this program related to the emphasis includes anatomy, chemistry and physiology.

Roane State Community College

Roane State Community College is situated in Harriman and enrolls about 7,000 students. The college offers an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant that requires 68 credit hours of study. Classes in this program include life span psychology, practice management and therapeutic activities.

The college also offers an Associate of Science in Pre-Occupational Therapy program that is designed to allow students to transfer to a 4-year university. This program includes 19 credit hours of coursework in the area of emphasis. Classes in the area of emphasis cover topics such as trigonometry, chemistry and physiology.

Tennessee State University

Located in Nashville, Tennessee State University enrolls about 9,000 students. The university offers a Master of Occupational Therapy. Classes in this 2.5-year program cover areas like anatomy, psychosocial dysfunction, biomechanics and general diagnoses.

The University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville. The university offers a Master of Occupational Therapy through its College of Allied Health Sciences on its Memphis campus. This program consists of 18 months of on-campus instruction and nine months of fieldwork. Its curriculum includes classes in neurobiology, perspectives of aging and community mental health practices.

Trevecca Nazarene University

Situated in Nashville, Trevecca Nazarene University offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a concentration in pre-occupational therapy/athletic training. Core exercise science classes in this approximately 113-credit hour program include biology, nutrition, kinesiology and sport medicine. Classes in the concentration cover topics like abnormal psychology, physics, medical terminology and therapeutic modalities. This program does not include fieldwork experiences.

Career Requirements

Tennessee requires that occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) be licensed. The Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy is responsible for overseeing the OTs and OTAs in the state. Licensure for either career requires graduating from a program approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), completing fieldwork and passing the exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination.

With the exception of the pre-occupational therapy associate's and bachelor's degree programs included in this article, the seven schools in Tennessee that offer occupational therapy programs are accredited by ACOTE.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Occupational Therapy Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Belmont University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Doctorate of Physical Therapy
$34,310*
Milligan College 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize suburb Master of Science in Occupational Therapy $33,700*
Nashville State Community College 2-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant,
Associate of Science with an emphasis in pre-occupational therapy
$4,191 for in-state and $16,479 for out-of-state students*
Roane State Community College 2-year, public; rural fringe Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant,
Associate of Science with an emphasis in pre-occupational therapy
$4,443 for in-state and $17,349 for out-of-state students*
Tennessee State University 4-year, public; large city Master of Occupational Therapy $8,792 for in-state and $21,512 for out-of-state students*
The University of Tennessee 4-year, public; midsize city Master of Occupational Therapy $13,006 for in-state and $31,426 for out-of-state students*
Trevecca Nazarene University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a concentration in pre-occupational therapy/athletic training $25,598*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.

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