How do I Choose the Best Occupational Therapist Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2018
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There are four items to consider when choosing the best occupational therapist programs: education level, admissions requirements, accreditation, and faculty. Occupational therapist programs can be found in universities, community or career colleges. Occupational therapists work with clients who are recovering from an illness or injury and need assistance. Using work as a form of therapy, they help the client to relearn life skills, get refocused and prepare to enter the workforce.

There are two levels of education available: university or college. At the university level, the focus is on the theory and concepts behind occupational therapy concepts. Only through a university program can students obtain a master's or doctoral degree. These credentials are required to become a university professor or to conduct research in this field.

The training programs available at the college level are focused on the practical skills required to work in occupational therapy. This includes training on working with different client groups, successful methodologies, and well-known challenges and solutions for clients. Career advancement opportunities will require additional training or certification.

In order to qualify for admission to occupational therapist programs, you must have high school courses in biology and English. The best schools are usually located near a large hospital or in a major city center. This allows the school to organize multiple opportunities for job placements and guest lectures. Occupational therapist programs at the college level are usually two to three years, and are at least four years at the university level.


If you are looking at the best occupational therapist programs in the country or state, think about what is best for you. For example, a student with family responsibilities may find that a program with online course options is the best program. Another student may decide that a part-time program with courses in the evenings and weekends works best. Think about your daily life, what will fit and find the program that works for you.

When looking for occupational therapist programs, always check the accreditation status of the school. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. This is very important, as many people change careers and the ability to use credits earned in the occupational therapist programs toward other certificates reduces the time and cost of career changes.

Most occupational therapist programs provide the biographies of their faculty or instructors on their website. The information listed typically includes the academic credentials, work experience, special training, and any awards they have received. Talk with your admissions counselor about these instructors and determine if any of them are actually involved in teaching.



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