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Becoming An Occupational Therapist Is Expensive

Why Should I see a Physical Therapist.

If youre going for the OTR route, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40,000 to well over $100,000 for your degree.

Less expensive state schools are harder to get into, so you may have to choose a private school and pay an average of $80,000+ for your Masters degree, and over $100,000 for your Doctorate.

To rub salt in the wound, many Occupational Therapy Masters programs are transitioning to solely Doctorate degrees, which bumps up the price of tuition considerably compared to OT Masters programs.

If youre thinking about becoming a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant you will pay much less in tuition as it is now an Associates degree, but keep in mind this may be transitioned to a Bachelors degree in the near future. This will also increase tuition considerably, without any foreseen comparable pay raises for either OTRs or COTAs with these pricier degrees.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for OTRs is $86,280, the average for new grads is quite a bit less . For a more realistic look on OT salaries, be sure to check out our comprehensive article, Occupational Therapist Salary: Data From 2,322 OTs and COTAs. Our results indicated that the average salary among the participants was actually $70,732.

This is important to consider when your student loans from OT graduate programs alone might be well over $100,000, not including interest.

Clinical And Research Opportunities

Clinical fieldwork is an integral and complementary part of the occupational therapy curriculum. Through classroom and fieldwork experiences, students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that allow for occupation-centered and evidence-driven occupational therapy practice. Occupational science and occupational therapy students participate in several levels of clinical experiences and fieldwork.

Applied Community Service Experiences take place during year 3 and are aligned with students’ engagement in occupational science courses. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 20 hours of experiences throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Level I Fieldwork is the applied experience that is coordinated with coursework during the fall and spring semesters of year 4 and the fall semester of year 5 . Level I Fieldwork provides occupational therapy students with opportunities to develop professional behaviors, establish relationships with clients/patients and staff, identify the role of occupational therapy in various treatment settings, formulate goals and objectives in the therapeutic process, and demonstrate emerging occupational therapy skills. Course instructors design assignments to be completed during Level I Fieldwork to assist students with meeting the learning objectives of the fieldwork experience, while also addressing the learning objectives of the course.

Research

How To Prepare For Pt And Ot Schools

If you think a career in physical or occupational therapy is right for you, then preparing early can ensure youre ready for PT/OT school after graduation. During your undergraduate studies, taking the right courses and getting involved in clubs and outreach projects are the best ways to start on the right path to reach your career goals.

Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for the demands of PT or OT school as you progress in your studies:

The right academic track paired with strategic extracurriculars will help instill the passion, leadership, and experience needed to succeed as a PT/OT practitioner.

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How To Pick An Occupational Therapy School

I recommend that you explore the mission and philosophy of each occupational therapy school. Dig deep to find out what the program values, in terms of its curriculum and vision for OT.

I found it really helpful to read the biographies of faculty members on each schools website. This gives you a sense of who they are and which types of research interests them. If you can find a program where the professors interests align with your own, that is ideal!

Other factors to consider include:

  • Whether the program offers a masters degree or a doctorate degree
  • Location
  • Price
  • Quality and breadth of fieldwork opportunities
  • NBCOT pass rates
  • Job placement assistance
  • Facility and equipment

I strongly recommend that you really examine the cost of the program youd like to attend. Thats because, as noted above, there really isnt a correlation between a schools reputation and what youll get paid when you graduateplus, youll enjoy your role as an OT way more if youre not constantly stressing out about repaying your student loans.

Is Occupational Therapy Science Heavy

Need Physical Therapy? Here are 5 Signs

The short answer is: YES, occupational therapy school is hard. … These programs want to ensure you’re equipped to competently and safely work in the healthcare field, so you’re going to have a good amount of science classes involved in any of these programs, along with challenging clinical/fieldwork rotations.

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Who Needs Occupational Therapy Or Physical Therapy

Both forms of rehabilitation therapy may be part of your full treatment plan.

Occupational therapy serves:

  • Those with delays in development
  • Those experiencing mental health difficulties
  • Patients who experience difficulties taking care of themselves due to a medical condition
  • People with injuries or chronic illnesses
  • Adults who are experiencing significant physical and/or cognitive changes
  • Children who need help functioning better in school and social situations
  • People who need to know how to properly use assistive devices

Physical therapy serves people who have:

  • Joint pain
  • Tendon, ligament, and/or cartilage injuries
  • Spinal pain

The Path To Becoming An Occupational Therapist

First, a Bachelor’s Degree

To become an occupational therapist, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree. This is a separate step, requiring that you choose a major and complete general education requirements. This is different from the system in many other countries, in which health care professionals are on a professional track from the moment they graduate high school. The U.S. system values applicants who have gained a broad education, and who have successfully committed themselves to in-depth study of some particular topic, whether biology or history or exercise science. The point is to show your ability to learn and excel, rather than to complete a narrow preparation for a specific profession.

You must also complete specific prerequisite courses.

After you receive your bachelor’s, you will go on to a graduate program in occupational therapy to receive a masters or, increasingly, a doctorate of occupational therapy .

To Gap or Not to Gap

A “gap year” is a year between completing your undergraduate degree and beginning physical school. Taking a gap year has the following benefits:

  • Allows more time to complete prerequisite coursework
  • Usually results in a higher science G.P.A. at time of application
  • Full-time work during the gap year can allow money to be saved for use during occupational therapy school
  • Provides a break from schooling!

If you are not taking a gap year, you need to apply to a D.O.T. or M.O.T. program the summer after your junior year.

OT School

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Potential Pros Of Being An Ot

Career advancement

If you become an OT, you will have opportunities for advancement in your career. You can become a clinic owner, or you can opt to specialize and remain an employee. You can also pursue a number of different non-clinical OT careers. While there is certainly growing market saturation in desirable cities, its still very possible to make a good living as an occupational therapist, especially in small cities and rural locales.

The other benefit of having a wide scope of practice is that there are many settings in which you can workand many OTs do wind up switching settings during their careers when theyre ready for a change of pace. For example, it is common to work in more demanding settings, such as SNFs and acute care, right out of school. However, once their debt is paid off, some therapists find themselves transitioning to pediatrics, outpatient, or mental health settings.

Fulfillment

As I noted, OT is very fulfilling. You are working with patients when they are at their most vulnerable, and you are teaching many of them skills so they can participate in lives they feel are worth living. That is priceless, and many OTs form long-lasting relationships with patients and their families.

I always think it is worth noting that OT is a popular second career. Many seasoned professionals are attracted to the meaningful nature of occupational therapy work.

Stability

Flexibility

What Does An Ot Do

What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?

Before we talk about what an occupational therapy professional is, it is important to understand the full scope of OT. It can be described as a type of rehabilitation that assists people struggling with health-related setbacks to get back to doing their meaningful daily activities.

OTs are also called allied health professionals. The programs they finish allows them to work alongside physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, and many other health practitioners. They work together to ensure that their collaborated work results in the holistic care of patients suffering from the ill effects of debilitating illnesses or injuries.

OTs use their unique training and observation to suggest evidence-based interventions to help patients participate in the activities they used to do with ease. This means that OTs care is extremely holistic and is very particular to each individual patient.

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Do Occupational Therapists Need To Take Chemistry

There are often different requirements for obtaining a masters degree in occupational therapy. However, occupational therapy masters degrees typically require chemistry as a core subject. In addition to biology, physics, anatomy, and physiology, this degree is often required to study other science-based subjects.

What Subjects Are Required For Occupational Therapy

A master’s degree or a more advanced degree in occupational therapy is required in order to work as an occupational therapist. Biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberal arts and anatomy are all appropriate majors for those who ultimately want to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

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The University Of Tennessee At Martin

You dont necessarily have to have work experience in the OT field however, most OT programs require direct observation of the field prior to admission. That direct observation can be gained through volunteering and shadowing an occupational therapist. Many OT programs require documented observation hours .

The UT Martin Pre-Work-related Therapy Plan is made to prepare students for application for an work-related therapy program. By using the Pre-OT Plan recommendations, students is going to be qualified for admission into most Masters of Work-related Therapy and Physician of Work-related Therapy programs however, the undergraduate courses needed for admission vary substantially in one institution to another. The courses listed here are intended only like a guideline and students are strongly asked to evaluate the needs for his or her school of preference because they change from school to college.

Video advice: DO NOT GET INTO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY !!! IF THIS IS YOU

Must have qualities to be an Occupational therapy or any other healthcare professional!

After Graduating You Might Not Get To Work In Your Dream Setting Right Away

How to Become a Doctor of Physical Therapy

Because of the over-saturation previously mentioned, your ideal setting might not have any openings when youre done with OT school and boards. I found this to be the case when I graduated, and ended up in a setting I wasnt crazy about. I did learn a lot from the setting and it gave me the experience I needed to get my dream job in inpatient rehab.

If youre open to other types of settings after graduation, this wont be a huge downside. You might find your second or third choice is actually a great fit for you.

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Decide Between An Mot And Dot And Get Into A Program

Another decision youll need to make is whether to pursue your masters degree or a doctorate degree. There are pros and cons for each.

In most scenarios, you will be competing for the same clinical jobs whether you have a masters or doctorate, so if you are looking at the two options from a purely numbers standpoint, it probably makes sense to take on less debt and go for the masters degree.

That being said, a doctorate might open doors for you down the road, especially if you want to work in academia or research.

What Other Preparation Will I Need For Ot School Requirements

Since occupational therapists work closely with people of all ages and backgrounds, they must possess good communication skills feel a commitment to serving others and have an interest in client-centered therapy. Undergraduate students who want to become occupational therapists must gain hands-on experiences–every semester if possible–to help develop competitive applicants for MOT programs.

North Central Colleges Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator guides students in selecting the activities listed below, connects them with alumni who have pursued this career path, and advises them throughout the application process to an occupational therapy program.

Helpful experiences for MOT admission include:

  • Observing a licensed occupational therapist to demonstrate that you understand how they work and are comfortable in a clinical environment
  • Campus leadership activities like serving as a peer health educator, as an officer in a student organization, or as a tutor
  • A commitment to others demonstrated through volunteer service.

Observing a licensed occupational therapist is very important and the minimum number of shadowing hours is around 40 hours. Be sure to investigate the shadowing requirements for the specific programs youre considering before you begin logging these experiences. Some admission professionals recommend getting 100 hours in a variety of settings to boost the strength of your application.

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What Is An Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists are health care professionals who specialize in helping patients to perform everday tasks despite physical, cognitive, or emotional limitations. Occupational therapy focusses on modifying the environment or the task rather than “fixing” the patient. Occupational therapists need to be able to concentrate both on details and on social and cultural context.

Physiotherapist With Female Patient

Physical Therapist Careers Video from APTA

According to PayScale, Occupational therapy assistants and physiotherapy assistants in Australia earn a similar average annual salary.

The salary of an occupational therapy assistant in Australia ranges between $45,000 to $60,000 per year or between $20 and $27 per hour.

The salary of a physiotherapy assistant in Australia ranges between $45,000 to $61,000 per year or between $20 and $26 per hour.

As with most occupations, your salary may depend on factors such as qualifications, experience and location.

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Who Is An Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapy practitioner helps people of all ages who have physical, sensory, or cognitive problems regain independence in all areas of life. This career path allows you to help people with their emotional, social, and physical needs through everyday activities, exercises, and other therapies.

For instance, OTs help children play, improve their school performance, and execute their daily activities. If you are interested in this career path thats awesome as it adds great credit to who you are right from the start!The attitude needed to succeed in this space comes from a place of empathy, a willingness to help, and a drive to see people work past their issues through the power of occupational therapy!

As an occupational therapist, you will interact with people of all ages kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly alike- and help them live their lives to the fullest. OTs are considered to have a noble vocation that is financially rewarding too!

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median pay for occupational therapists was $84,950 per year, which works out to $40.84 per hour. This is significantly above the national median for all jobs.

Physical Therapy Vs Occupational Therapy: The Main Differences

People who work in physical and occupational therapy share the same central goal: to improve their patients’ lives. Regardless of their job title, these caring professionals work to ensure that a patient’s injury, illness, or other condition impacts his or her activities of daily life as little as possible.

In fact, it’s not unusual for a patient to see both a physical therapist and an occupational therapist as part of his or her treatment plan. That’s because the work performed in these healthcare fields is often complementary.

But each field focuses on a separate aspect of a patient’s well-being. Here’s the key difference:

  • Physical therapy focuses on treating physical restrictions. Treatments are centered on rehabilitating patients’ bodies in order to help them move without pain or limitations.
  • Occupational therapy focuses on helping patients find safe ways to perform the “occupations” of daily life. That often means finding ways to improve patients’ environments in order to accommodate any physical restrictions or teaching them new ways to perform various activities.

Here’s another example: If a woman is experiencing back pain caused by Parkinson’s disease and can’t get out of bed because the act of sitting up hurts too much, a physical therapist assistant could help her learn how to do some exercises that ease the pain. And an occupational therapy assistant might help her practice easier ways of getting out of bed.

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How Long Do You Have To Go To School To Learn How To Become An Occupational Therapist

Ill be straight with you. A long time!

In most cases, youll need to complete an undergraduate degree , and then youll be in occupational therapy school anywhere from two to three years.

During that time, youll also go on fieldwork assignments, where youll be working as an occupational therapy student under the supervision of a licensed OT.

One thing to keep in mind is that each state in the US has its own rules and regulations for practicing as an OT. You need to get an OT license for any state in which you want to practice, and each state does have its own unique requirements for initial licensure, and also for license renewal.

Physical Therapy Vs Occupational Therapy: Whats The Difference

Do you need a physical therapist to get physical therapy done?
  • Renee Leuschke
  • |
  • 07 November, 2019

Are you considering a career in healthcare with a focus on therapy and rehabilitation? If so, you may have narrowed the list down to occupational therapist or physical therapist, but whats the difference? Both of these careers are rewarding, challenging, and have strong job outlooks and growth potential however, each career has its own place within patient rehabilitation, and each require specific education to become one.

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