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Overview

Occupational Therapy is a relatively new and a definitely expanding specialty in the health care field. Its origins can be traced to the increasing industrialization and disastrous effects of modern warfare.

Occupational therapists help people. They help people of all ages prevent, reduce, and overcome disabilities by encouraging and training them to work, draw, dance, and express themselves in social settings. They work with patients of all ages with every kind of disability: heart problems, cerebral palsy, arthritis, serious physical injuries, mental retardation, emotional and neurological disorders - you name it, really. They also work with families, doctors, nurses, case managers, social workers, and other therapists.

Most four-year Occupational Therapy programs consist of two years of science-heavy classroom coursework followed by two years of professional, hands-on fieldwork, particularly during senior year. One important thing you should know about Occupational Therapy is that an important, national standardized test comes at the end of your undergraduate years. To be an occupational therapist, you must take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination after graduating from an accredited program and completing all your fieldwork. It is only then that you will officially earn the designation Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR).

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Abnormal Psychology

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Development of Children and Adolescents

  • Developmental Psychology

  • Ergonomics

  • Fieldwork

  • Human Anatomy

  • Human Development

  • Human Physiology

  • Neurodevelopment

  • Principles of Disease

  • Research Methods

  • Sociology


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

Occupation Therapy programs can be somewhat competitive. If you want to get an edge, you should take as many high school science and math courses as possible. Advanced placement biology, chemistry, and physics classes will prove especially helpful. Also, take psychology if your school offers it.