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Online Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy

Are you interested in helping people with injuries, illnesses or disabilities? As an occupational therapist, you can support patients as they develop, recover and improve skills used in daily life and work. If you have the patience and training required, you can join this in-demand career in the growing field of health care.

To become an occupational therapist, you need a master's degree and a license in the state in which you are working. Master's degrees in occupational therapy show you how to treat patients through the therapeutic application of everyday activities and also how to assess patients and create treatment plans.

Earning master's degrees in occupational therapy

Master of occupational therapy, or M.O.T., programs usually take two years, but some schools offer combined bachelor's and master's degree programs that last five years. Courses cover topics like these:

  • Advanced clinical practice and research
  • Advanced occupational therapy theory
  • Assistive technology
  • Leadership and management

You may specialize in areas such as administration, industry, mental health, rehabilitation, pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics or research. Occupational therapists must meet minimum educational standards, including 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork.

Career outlook for occupational therapy

Most therapists work in hospitals and in offices providing audiology, physical, occupational or speech therapy, while jobs may also be found in schools, nursing homes and home health services. For this profession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual salary in 2010 of $72,320.

The BLS expects employment of occupational therapists to expand by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster growth than the average for all U.S. occupations. Job growth reflects the need for treatment of conditions ranging from Alzheimer's disease to autism to cerebral palsy.

Academic options in occupational therapy

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, both master's and doctoral degrees qualify candidates to take professional certification exams. Doctoral programs include a practical component in areas such as administration, policy development, advocacy, education or theory.

Some online master's degree programs are built for those with both a bachelor's degree and professional experience. For example, certified occupational therapy assistants can earn a master's degree through a hybrid program blending online classes and weekend laboratory work. Programs offer flexible scheduling and your choice of full-time or part-time studies so you can continue gaining work experience while you achieve your academic goals.

Featured Online Occupational Therapy Degree Programs

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