Individuals interested in an occupational therapy degree program in Illinois have a multitude of schools to choose from, ranging from associate-level occupational therapy assistant (OTA) programs to various master's and doctoral-level programs. Occupational therapy programs include traditional classroom instruction, research, as well as practicum requirements, such as fieldwork experiences or internships. Master's degree programs may require a thesis while doctoral students may need to complete a dissertation.
Chicago State University
Chicago-based Chicago State University offers a joint Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences/Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program and a standalone MOT program. These programs are administered through the College of Health Sciences and Department of Occupational Therapy. The joint-degree option is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in the graduate-level occupational therapy program. This program provides 175-176 credits of coursework and requires students to complete all of the bachelor's degree requirements before beginning coursework for the MOT. The curriculum integrates didactic instruction, fieldwork experiences, and research projects, providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the field. MOT courses include population planning, evaluation and intervention, health conditions, and human occupation. The 82-credit MOT program includes foundations classes, research-based courses, several practical experiences, and the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest.
City College of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College
Located in Chicago, City College of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College has an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in OTA that integrates several general education classes, core classes within the major, electives, and two fieldwork experiences. The curriculum in this 75-credit program covers the occupations of various ages, assisting skills, and various special topics. The two fieldwork experiences require supervision and take place at various community settings or healthcare facilities. Students must also successfully complete biology, child development, psychology, social service, and sociology courses.
Governors State University
University Park's Governors State University has an MOT program that is offered through the College of Health and Human Services and Department of Occupational Therapy. This program requires students to complete at least 98 credits in extensive major-specific coursework, lab-based classes, and fieldwork experiences. Program coursework includes gross anatomy, psychosocial knowledge, research methods, assessment and intervention, and model of health. Students must complete two, 10-credit fieldwork experiences at the end of the program within 24 months after completing all didactic coursework.
Illinois Central College
East Peoria-based Illinois Central College offers a 68-credit OTA associate degree program that integrates general education classes, coursework specific to the major, and two supervised practical experiences. Students are required to take various general education classes, including composition, psychology, humanities, and anatomy. Occupational therapy courses include human growth and development, occupational therapy foundations, healthcare organizations, therapeutic media, and legal issues in healthcare. The practical experiences cover physical, developmental, and psychosocial functionality.
John A Logan College
Carterville's John A Logan College has a 70-credit, associate-level OTA program that can be completed in five semesters. This program requires students to take a handful of general education courses in conjunction with occupational therapy foundational classes during their first semester in preparation for more advanced coursework within the major. Required classes cover therapeutic media, psychosocial practice, occupational development, and theory. In addition to the didactic requirements, students participate in two, eight-week fieldwork experiences during the final semester.
Lewis and Clark Community College
Godfrey-based Lewis and Clark Community College offers a 70-credit AAS in OTA that equips students for employment in the occupational therapy field by providing a solid base through coursework and hands-on experience. Students are required to complete relevant general education classes in addition to topics specific to the major. Occupational therapy courses include anatomy and physiology, therapeutic methods, psychosocial and physical functions, and occupational practice. This program also requires students to participate in two supervised fieldwork experiences designed to advance an individual's clinical, organizational, and administrative skills in the occupational therapy field.
Lincoln Land Community College
Located in Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College has an associate-level OTA program that requires 70 credits for graduation and integrates general education coursework, classes within the major, and supporting classes in fields relevant to occupational therapy. Students are required to take 44 credits within the major, including an introductory course, kinesiology, sensory and motor function, and several theory-based classes. They must also complete three supervised fieldwork experiences at various agencies or organizations within the field.
Champaign-based Parkland College offers a 72-credit OTA associate degree that allows students to choose from three different tracks. The school offers a full-time option that takes four semesters to complete; a five-semester, full-time plan, and a part-time option that spans eight semesters. This program includes more than 1,400 hours of practical experience, consisting of clinical practice and classes that emphasize hands-on training. Program coursework covers therapeutic methods, occupational therapy theory, health and occupations, anatomy and physiology, and human development.
South Suburban College
Located in South Holland, South Suburban College has a 69-credit OTA associate degree administered through the Department of Health Professions and Sciences. This program integrates general education classes, several internship and fieldwork experiences, and coursework within the major. Courses specific to the occupational therapy field cover basic techniques and skills, occupational therapy fundamentals, physical and psychosocial dysfunction, and professional issues in the field.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Located in Chicago, the University of Illinois Department of Occupational Therapy offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), and a joint, doctoral-level program in disability studies. The master's program requires students to earn at least 73 credits and includes core courses, electives, research and theory-based courses along with several intensive fieldwork experiences. Coursework within the major includes human structure, occupational performance in children and adults, medical conditions, and therapeutic methods. The curriculum also covers movement and mobility, psychosocial issues, and perception in action. Additionally, students spend the final two semesters participating in various 12-week fieldwork experiences in different settings.
The 90-credit OTD allows students to specialize in one of the following areas: advanced therapeutic practice, education, or leadership and management. This program integrates core classes, electives, coursework within the student's specialty, field exams, and a final, 20-credit project. Core classes that all students must take include occupational theories, research methods, and several seminars on various topics. The PhD in Disability Studies program requires students to complete 64 credits if they hold a master's degree in the field, or 96 credits if they don't. This program is designed to take between seven and nine years to complete and is comprised of a research project, written exam, and final dissertation.
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants must be licensed to practice in Illinois. To obtain a license, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants must pass their respective certification exams administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Occupational therapists must have a master's degree in occupational therapy, and occupational therapy assistants must have an associate's degree in the field to be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Occupational Therapy Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Chicago State University||University, public; large city|| Combined Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Master of Occupational Therapy,
Master of Occupational Therapy
|$10,163 for in-state and $17,123 for out-of-state residents*|
|City College of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College||Two-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$3,504 for in-district, $9,216 for in-state, and $11,544 for out-of-state residents*|
|Governors State University||University, public; fringe rural||Master of Occupational Therapy||$9,984? for in-state graduate and $13,552? for out-of-state graduate residents*|
|Illinois Central College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$4,500 for in-district, $9,600 for in-state, and $11,340 for out-of-state residents*|
|John A Logan College||Two-year, public; small suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$3,766 for in-district, $5,506 for in-state, and $6,106 for out-of-state residents*|
|Lewis and Clark Community College||Two-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$3,552 for in-district, $9,552 for in-state, and $12,552 for out-of-state residents*|
|Lincoln Land Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$3,372 for in-district, $6,480 for in-state, and $9,588 for out-of-state residents*|
|Parkland College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$4,920 for in-district, $11,100 for in-state, and $15,870 for out-of-state residents*|
|South Suburban College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$5,093 for in-district, $11,033 for in-state, and $12,683 for out-of-state residents*|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||University, public; large city|| Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Doctor of Occupational Therapy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Disability Studies
|$16,792 for in-state graduate and $26,479 for out-of-state graduate residents*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.