Occupational therapy assists people of all ages by using their daily activities to promote health and well-being. They focus on adapting the environment and tasks to fit the individual, including working with children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations; helping people recovering from injury to regain skills; and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Experience in occupational therapy
Many OT programs require applicants to have a certain number of volunteer or paid experiences working with patients in an occupational therapy setting. The program may specify which settings or types of experiences are required. Applicants also may be required to have a licensed occupational therapist verify the number of hours and type of experience. This experience may be an important factor in the admissions process along with your experiences in a pre-occupational therapy or pre-OT pathway.
To be an occupational therapist you should have strong interpersonal and communication skills so that you can educate your patients about their condition and treatments. Occupational therapists also need to be compassionate and possess a desire to help patients.
You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a OT program. In selecting a college major, consider how you will you satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated occupational therapist programs in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements. Work with your academic advisor to plan your course schedule.
You have the option to choose from a wide variety of undergraduate majors to prepare you for a occupational therapy program. There are no major requirements; you can choose any major for occupational therapy school. Common undergraduate majors include Exercise Science, Psychology, Child Development, Therapeutic Recreation and Neuroscience.