Occupational Therapy Degree: What to expect?

Problems with physical mobility, learning disabilities, cognitive processing, and mental illness make life challenging. As an Occupational Therapist, you use your caring demeanor, listening and communication skills, and motivational talents to help people recover from injury, cope with debilitating illness, or improve physical or mental disabilities. But empathy alone won’t do the job. You’re going to need a degree.


In order to really help your patients, you’ll need to learn about the human body and mind. Check out colleges that offer a degree in occupational therapy. If the traditional classroom schedule is too daunting, look into earning an online degree in occupational therapy.

Programs vary, but typically, you can expect to take a lot of courses that revolve around physiology. After all, if you’re going to help a student improve his handwriting, or retrain an Athlete after an injury, it’s vital that you know what job every muscle, tendon, and joint performs. In addition to human anatomy, you’ll also study psychology, mental health, human development, and geriatrics.

Most programs also require you to complete a supervised internship as part of the curriculum. The campus will most likely hook you up, and you might even turn that opportunity into a paying job.

Next Step

Completing a master’s degree is a beneficial step towards your career goals. It is required if you want to become an Occupational Therapist. However, you can find jobs—such as assistant positions—with an associate’s degree from an accredited program.

When you begin your job hunt, look at rehabilitation centers, senior centers, mental health facilities, hospitals, and schools.


Every Occupational Therapist needs to earn a license through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

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