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.

Occupational therapists work with children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, help people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

College Major
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 physical 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 physical therapy school. Common undergraduate majors include Exercise Science, Psychology, Child Development, Therapeutic Recreation and Neuroscience.

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.

Other qualifications
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.
Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before you can be accepted to a graduate program in occupational therapy. This is a GUIDE only. Students must consult with their advisors AND the appropriate OT programs on a regular basis for revisions to course requirements and to identify and ensure completion of all required courses. Some of the most common requirements include:
  • 1 year Anatomy & Physiology
  • 1 semester Exercise Physiology
  • 1 semester Medical Terminology
  • 3-4 semesters Psychology
  • 1 semester Statistics
  • Additional requirements based on school
Students should meet with an academic advisor to determine which courses will fulfill these requirements and best align with their major.

Some occupational therapy schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of the physical therapy schools you plan on applying in advance.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy regarding AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs.
For additional career information and a list of accredited educational programs in physical therapy:

Some programs will require some standardized testing. The most common exam required by occupational therapy programs is the GRE. This is a computerized exam offered year-round. Examinees may take the test once every 60 days, but no more than 5 times within a 12-month period.

In order to register for the GRE you will need to complete the following:

Click here for more information on the GRE.