Students interested in taking courses in occupational therapy (OT) in North Carolina have a selection of schools from which they may choose. Offered programs include those leading to associate's and master's degrees. Two-year degrees are designed for those who will work as OT assistants and as pre-professional programs in preparation for higher-level learning. In addition to classroom and lab training with other students, field experiences with supervision are included in most programs.
There are eight OT and OTA programs in North Carolina that are accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc (AOTA). This article discusses these eight programs, but also provides information about a doctoral program that is not accredited by the AOTA.
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is located in Concord. The school offers an Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant that requires 74 credit hours of study. Classes in this program cover topics like pediatric therapeutic intervention, abnormal psychology and adult physical conditions. The program's curriculum also includes several fieldwork experiences.
The college also offers an Associate in Science in Pre-Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Students in this program receive instruction designed for entry into an occupational therapy assistant degree program. Students in this program complete 29 credit hours of study focusing on occupational therapy. These courses cover topics such as medical terminology, human anatomy and human growth and development.
Cape Fear Community College
This college is situated in Wilmington and enrolls about 9,000 students. It offers an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program that takes five semesters to complete. In addition to fieldwork, students in this 74-credit-hour program complete courses in subjects like psychosocial dysfunction, developmental psychology, physiology and physical dysfunction.
Durham Technical Community College
This college, which is located in Durham, offers an Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program that consists of 70 credit hours of study. Classes in this program cover subjects such as life span skills and the fundamentals of occupational therapy. The program's curriculum also includes several fieldwork experiences.
East Carolina University
This university is located in Greenville and enrolls about 27,000 students. It offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy through its Department of Occupational Therapy, a division of the university's College of Allied Health Sciences. This master's degree program includes labs, coursework and several fieldwork experiences. Students must also research and write a thesis or complete a project prior to graduation. Classes in the program include managing occupational therapy services and the therapeutic use of occupation.
Lenoir-Rhyne University is located in Hickory. The university offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy that requires a minimum of 67 credits of study and includes two fieldwork experiences. Classes in this program focus on subjects such as occupational therapy practice, pediatrics, assistive technology and treatment and assessment. Students also engage in independent study and write a thesis prior to graduation.
Pitt Community College
Pitt Community College is located in Winterville. The school, which enrolls approximately 8,000 students, offers an Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program. This program requires 76 credit hours of study in classes like physical dysfunction, sociology and occupational therapy media. Students in the program also complete several fieldwork experiences.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This school, which is located in Chapel Hill, offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy that requires 63 credit hours of study and takes about two years to complete. Students in the program complete coursework and fieldwork. Classes cover topics like neuroscience, musculoskeletal dimensions of occupational performance and the history of occupational therapy.
The university also offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Science that is designed for individuals who have master's degrees in occupational therapy. This program requires 45 semester credits of study focusing on four main areas: developing the skills for an academic career, occupational science, learning about other areas of science that support and compliment occupational science and research methodology and design.
Winston-Salem State University
Located in the city of its name, Winston-Salem, this university offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. This program is available through the university's Department of Occupational Therapy, a division of its School of Health Sciences. Students in the program must complete seven semesters of study, which includes 24 weeks of a full-time fieldwork experience. Offered classes cover topics like occupational therapy in pediatrics, assistive technology, therapeutic interaction and neurological basis of occupation.
All individuals must be licensed by the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy to work as an occupational therapist (OT) or occupational therapy assistant (OTA) in the state. To earn licensure in either field, an individual must complete an accredited OT or OTA program and pass the exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). An associate's degree is required to take the OTA exam offered by the NBCOT, while a master's degree is required to take the OT exam offered by the NBCOT.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Occupational Therapy Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Cabarrus College of Health Sciences||4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit; small city|| Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant,
Associate in Science in Pre-Occupational Therapy Assistant
|Cape Fear Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $2,748 in-state
|Durham Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $1,958 in-state
|East Carolina University||4-year, public; small city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy|| Graduate:
|Lenoir-Rhyne University||4-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy||Graduate: $10,620|
|Pitt Community College||2-year, public; midsize suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $1,930 in-state
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||4-year, public; small city|| Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Science
|Winston-Salem State University||4-year, public; midsize city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy|| Graduate:
Source: *NCES College Navigator.