It is common for Wisconsin students to find occupational therapy programs at the master's degree level, and one Wisconsin school offers a doctorate in the field. Dual bachelor's and master's degree programs are also available. Another option is a specialized certificate program, which may focus on assistive technologies or therapeutic recreation. Students interested in working as occupational therapy assistants can pursue training at the associate degree level. Programs typically combine classroom studies with fieldwork experiences.
Concordia University - Wisconsin
Concordia University - Wisconsin offers several occupational therapy degree options at its campus in Mequon. Full-time students who have a bachelor's degree can obtain a Master of Occupational Therapy in 2.5 years. Those who don't have an undergraduate education can enroll in an accelerated program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science and a Master of Occupational Therapy in 4.5 years. There's also a third option for experienced occupational therapy assistants who would like to become occupational therapists; they can obtain a bachelor's degree and Master of Occupational Therapy in 3 years. This program offers most classes online. Students also attend weekend classes onsite once a month.
Fox Valley Technical College
Located in Appleton, Fox Valley Technical College offers an associate degree program that prepares students to become certified occupational therapy assistants. Full-time students can complete this 70-credit program in 2 years. Students take courses covering treatment techniques for adult, pediatric and geriatric patients. They also spend approximately 4 months developing professional and communication skills by working in clinics during their last semester.
Madison Area Technical College
Madison Area Technical College's associate degree program in occupational therapy assisting is available at its Downtown Area Center in Madison. Curriculum familiarizes students with the psychosocial and medical conditions that inhibit patients' function. Students also study activity analysis, the use of assistive technologies and physical rehabilitation modalities. The final semester of this 70-credit degree program is devoted to fieldwork, providing students with the experience they need to help people with disabilities adapt to their surroundings.
Milwaukee Area Technical College
This Milwaukee school offers an occupational therapy assistant associate degree program that includes 70 credits of coursework. Topics of study cover the adaptations and technologies used to help patients with various physical and psychological disabilities. Students also take classes in physical rehabilitation, activity analysis and community practice. Methods for working with pediatric and geriatric patients are also discussed. Students complete 12 credits of fieldwork as well.
Mount Mary College
Mount Mary College in Milwaukee provides 2 program options to students who want to obtain a master's degree in occupational therapy. There's a combined bachelor's-to-master's degree program geared towards students who've never attended college and a 2-year master's degree program for aspiring occupational therapists who already have a bachelor's degree in another field. Applicants to this stand-alone master's degree program will need to complete clinical observations and related volunteer or work experience to be admitted.
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
The University of Wisconsin offers an occupational therapy degree at its La Crosse campus. Students who already have a bachelor's degree can obtain the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy after completing 2 years of coursework and 6 months of field experiences. Students in this program can take advantage of school-sponsored career fairs and opportunities to study occupational therapy abroad.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus is geared towards students who already have a bachelor's degree. Admission to this program is limited to 25 students each summer. Students must complete 61 course credits and 24 weeks worth of fieldwork to receive this degree. The program takes approximately 2.5 years to complete.
The university also offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs in kinesiology with occupational science tracks. These options are designed for occupational therapists and healthcare professionals who work in related fields. Both programs focus on occupational therapy research and theory and allow students to take advantage of centers and institutes devoted to such areas as human development and education.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Milwaukee's University of Wisconsin offers more program variety in the occupational therapy field than any other school in the state. Students who already have a bachelor's degree can enroll in the stand-alone Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program.
The university also offers an undergraduate certificate in therapeutic recreation and a unique graduate certificate program that instructs students in assistive technology and accessible design. It also features several labs devoted to the study of rehabilitation research, occupational ergonomics, biodynamics, assistive technology and behavioral health.
Western Technical College
La Crosse-based Western Technical College features a 5-semester occupational therapy assistant associate degree program. Curriculum teaches students how to assess patients' motor skills and cognition. Students also examine topics in group dynamics, community practice and ethics. Western Technical College has agreements with several area schools that allow students to transfer credits in order to continue their education. The school also boasts a 100% NBCOT certification exam pass rate among program graduates from 2009-2011.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College offers an occupational therapy assistant training program at its campuses in Ashland, New Richmond and Rice Lake. Students must complete 70 credits to earn this associate degree. Curriculum provides students with a social science background and includes courses in anatomy, physiology and occupational therapy. Fieldwork is also required. In addition to employment as occupational therapy assistants, students completing this program can prepare for jobs as case managers, activities directors and community support workers.
Wisconsin occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants must obtain a license from the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services. Licensure for both vocations requires applicants to first earn certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
To qualify for certification as an occupational therapist, candidates must complete a master's degree program that's been approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and pass a written exam. Aspiring occupational therapy assistants will need to complete an ACOTE-approved associate degree program before they can sit for the certification examination.
Wisconsin also requires occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to pass an open-book exam demonstrating their knowledge of the Wisconsin statutes and administrative code. An oral exam may be required as well.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Occupational Therapy Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Concordia University - Wisconsin||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science/Master of Occupational Therapy,
Master of Occupational Therapy
|Undergraduate: $29,450; Graduate: $10,848*|
|Fox Valley Technical College||2-year, public; midsize suburb||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Applied Science||$4,565 in-state; $6,578 out-of-state*|
|Madison Area Technical College||4-year, public; midsize city||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Applied Arts||$4,407 in-state; $6,512 out-of-state*|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||2-year, public; large city||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Applied Science||$4,589 in-state; $6,602 out-of-state*|
|Mount Mary College||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
|Undergraduate: $30,100; Graduate: $14,720*|
|University of Wisconsin - La Crosse||4-year, public; small city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy||Graduate: $9,915 in-state; $19,985 out-of-state*|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||4-year, public; midsize city|| Master of Science in Occupational Therapy,
Master of Science in Kinesiology with an Occupational Science Track,
Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology with an Occupational Science Track
|Graduate: $12,010 in-state; $25,336 out-of-state*|
|University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee||4-year, public; large city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy||Graduate: $11,884 in-state; $24,921 out-of-state*|
|Western Technical College||2-year, public; small city||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Applied Science||$4,403 in-state; $6,377 out-of-state*|
|Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College||2-year, public; distant rural||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate Degree||$4,729 in-state; $6,877 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.