Occupational Therapist

What are they?

Occupational Therapists teach skills necessary for functioning normally at home and work, and they promote life-long health and well-being by teaching everyday health maintenance through functional activities. Occupational therapists work in administration, education, research, government, nursing homes, public schools, and private practice. They specialize in infant development, elderly with health problems, and people suffering from mental and physical disability.  They complete programs of different lengths to receive Bachelors of Science, Masters and Doctoral degrees. MS programs take about 2 years after college and the doctoral programs take at least 3 years after undergraduate study.

What do they do?

Occupational Therapists are health professionals who use activities to help people of all ages prevent, lessen, or overcome disabilities. These include such basic activities as bathing, dressing, or eating and can be as complex as working with a modified computer or operating a vehicle by hand. They work in a variety of settings including schools, rehabilitation centers, and research facilities.

Employment for OTs is growing at an above average rate.  The median annual wage in 2008 was $66,780.

Necessary Training:

There are over 150 accredited OT master's programs in the US.  Currently seven schools within the state of Florida that have master's programs in OT:

  • Barry University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida Gulf Coast Univ. 
  • Florida International Univ.
  • Nova Southeastern Univ.
  • University of Florida
  • University of St. Augustine

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and Nova Southeastern University also offer doctoral degrees in OT.

Undergraduate

Requirements vary but typically include:  General Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Communications, Medical Technology, and Statistics.

A GPA of at least 2.75 and a GRE score of at least 800 are required.

Professional School

Course work includes: Anatomy, Signs and Symptoms, Data Collection and Assessment, History and Theory of Occupational Therapy, Neurobiology, and Research Methods.

Clinical work includes rotations in pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and physical dysfunction.

How to find out more?

American Occupational Therapy Association

The OT centralized application service: