There are a few public or private not-for-profit Washington schools that offer occupational therapy (OT) or occupational therapy assistant (OTA) programs, leading to master's and associate's degrees, respectively. Many programs include research and reporting skills, as well as practicum requirements such as fieldwork experiences. Applicants to a master's degree program must hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in a related field. Graduate students complete an extended in-field training experience, such as an internship.
Bates Technical College
Bates Technical College's OTA associate degree program is offered at the school's downtown Tacoma campus. Students in this program complete coursework in adaptive technology, nervous system functioning, mental health, documentation, and OTA settings, as well as several required intervals of clinical experience. Prior to undergoing the OTA-specific curriculum, students must undertake foundational classes in areas like medical terminology. Bates utilizes a quarter-based calendar, with the OTA program commencing during the spring quarter.
Eastern Washington University
Though the main campus of Eastern Washington University (EWU) is located in Cheney, the occupational therapy program is hosted at the school's Riverpoint Campus in Spokane. EWU's Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program incorporates classes in occupational therapy leadership, human disease, emerging practices, and occupational performance. In addition, students perform OT-related research and compose a corresponding written report.
EWU also offers a combined degree program that allows undergraduate students to earn a bachelor's degree in exercise science or interdisciplinary studies, while simultaneously completing courses required during the first year of the MOT program. Students who then go on to pursue the MOT at EWU can acquire it in less time than usual.
Green River College
The OTA program at Green River College (GRC) takes place at the school's main campus in Auburn. The curriculum comprises courses in psychosocial dysfunction, therapeutic adaptations, physical disabilities, and gerontology, among other topics. Students also participate in periods of clinical fieldwork supervised by a licensed occupational therapist. From 2010 to 2012, 89% of GRC OTA graduates taking the NBCOT test for the first time passed it.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT) in Kirkland offers an associate degree program in OTA that includes study in adaptive technology, kinesiology, health promotion, and professional communication. In addition, OTA students undertake required clinical practice in a professional occupational therapy setting. LWIT's on-campus Employment Resource Center provides students with resume and interview workshops, job postings, and job search support.
University of Puget Sound
The Tacoma-based University of Puget Sound awards a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree. The more research-oriented MSOT curriculum encompasses extended study in research methods and requires the completion of a publishable research report.
Students undergo coursework in areas such as functional anatomy, neurological disorders, and biomechanics, as well as health care systems and clinical research. To earn the MSOT, students must complete at least six months of full-time clinical work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. OT resources at Puget Sound include interactive video teaching tools and a pro bono on-site clinic available for student training.
University of Washington - Seattle
The University of Washington's (UW) main campus in Seattle houses the school's Master of Occupational Therapy program. The program has a faculty of four and, like the rest of the school, operates on a quarter-based schedule. Students take courses in rehabilitation diagnosis, therapeutic communication, and measurement systems, along with lab-based classes like gross anatomy and rehabilitation kinesiology. In a small-group format, MOT candidates complete a community-related master's project composed of a written analysis and professional verbal presentation. All graduates of the UW MOT program have passed the NBCOT certification test on either their first or a subsequent try, according to the school.
To practice as either an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant in Washington, it is necessary to obtain a license. For occupational therapists, licensure requires a graduate degree from an accredited OT program, while occupational therapy assistants must have an accredited OTA associate's degree. Candidates for both licenses must also pass the respective tests administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT).
All the schools listed above are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), which automatically qualifies graduates to sit for either the OT or the OTA NBCOT test.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Occupational Therapy Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bates Technical College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$5,391 in-state; $10,889 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Eastern Washington University||4-year, public; fringe town||Master of Occupational Therapy||$12,381 in-state; $27,511 out-of-state (graduate)*|
|Green River College||4-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$4,053 in-state; $4,482 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||4-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science Transfer in Occupational Therapy Assistant||$4,251 in-state; $9,618 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|University of Puget Sound||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy||$32,620 (graduate)*|
|University of Washington - Seattle||4-year, public; large city||Master of Occupational Therapy||$16,590 in-state; $28,881 out-of-state (graduate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.