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How do I Choose the Best Schools for Occupational Therapy?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Occupational therapy is a popular occupation among people with a strong desire to help others overcome physical and developmental disabilities. Professionals help patients regain independence and return to the workforce after accidents or other situations that have prevented them from fully enjoying life. In order to provide the best care and guidance possible, occupational therapists are usually required to obtain advanced degrees from accredited universities. A person who is trying to choose the best schools for occupational therapy should consider a number of factors, including the types of degrees offered, the reputation of different programs, and the job opportunities made available to graduates.

Most schools for occupational therapy offer master's or doctoral degree programs, available to students who have obtained their bachelor's degrees in related subjects. Programs can last anywhere from two to four years, and include intensive studies in physiology, anatomy, biology, and psychology. When choosing a school, a prospective occupational therapist should determine if programs are geared at preparing students for specific jobs in the field, such as home health workers, school therapists, or inpatient hospital therapists. Some new college students might be interested in schools that offer combined bachelor's and master's programs, in which they can begin detailed coursework as undergraduates and finish master's programs one to two years earlier.

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A small number of accredited programs offer entirely online curricula for people who are too busy to attend physical classes and those who simply prefer distance learning. Online schools for occupational therapy are especially popular among individuals who already hold assistant or aide jobs in the field. They have the opportunity to pursue the necessary educational credentials for advancement while gaining practical experience.

Investigating university websites and speaking to advisors in person when possible can greatly help a person choose the best schools for occupational therapy. Most school websites and brochures offer detailed information about the types of programs offered as well as teachers' credentials. A professor who has gained many years of experience as an occupational therapist can generally provide students with a very good overview of the daily routines and tasks of working professionals.

Some schools for occupational therapy provide internship options, work-study opportunities, and job placement services. A student who wants to better prepare for his or her eventual career as an occupational therapist can determine which schools allow students to earn credits while working at local clinics or hospitals. Some programs offer test preparation services for students who plan on taking licensing exams immediately after graduation. By thoroughly investigating many different schools and talking to advisers, a prospective therapist can make a well-informed decision and pursue a worthwhile education.

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