If you are a “people person” interested in empowering people of all ages who find daily tasks challenging due to a physical, developmental, or mental condition, occupational therapy might be a good fit for you.
As a professional in this applied science, you will teach people skills to enable them to perform the tasks of everyday living. The skills you teach may be as simple as eating or getting dressed, or more complex, like learning to drive a hand operated car, operating a computer with modified control switches, or developing new job skills. Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private clinics, and schools.
Preparing for a Career in Occupational Therapy
To work as an occupational therapist you will need to meet the following professional requirements:
- Earn a masters degree (MSOT) or doctoral degree (OTD) in occupational therapy
- Complete at least 6 months of supervised field work
- Pass a national board examination
At Calvin, you have two options for preparing for admission to a graduate program in occupational therapy.
Option 1: Completion of a Bachelors Degree
While admission to most MSOT and OTD programs requires a bachelors degree, a particular major is not required, as long as specified prerequisite courses are taken. If you choose this option, you will take courses that fulfill requirements for completion of a Calvin degree (popular majors include Psychology, Spanish, and Recreation Therapy) and fulfill requirements for graduate school admissions. While prerequisites vary between graduate schools, most include: Biology 141, 205, 206; Psychology 151, 201; and Mathematics 143 or Psychology 255.
Option 2: 3-2 Combined Curriculum Program
Calvin offers a combined curriculum with the Program in Occupational Therapy at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.
If you choose this option, you will spend three years at Calvin taking the following courses:
Biology 141, 205, and 206
Mathematics 143 or Psychology 255
Psychology 151, 201, and 212
Sociology 151 and 153
Recreation 324 or Kinesiology 215
IDIS 110, 149 and 150
Communication Arts and Sciences 101
Physical Education and Recreation, 3 courses
Foreign language, through the second year college competency
History 151 or 152
Philosophy 153 and 212 (or 205)
Music 101, 103 or 238
Religion 121 or 131, and one 200-level course
Three interim courses
Cross Cultural Engagement requirement
If you meet the Washington University admissions requirements and are accepted into the MSOT or OTD program, you will spend the next two years at Washington University for clinical training. (NOTE: Participation in the 3-2 program does not guarantee admission to Washington University).
Upon successful completion of your first year at Washington University, you will receive a Bachelor of Science in Letters and Occupational Therapy from Calvin.
Upon completion of your second year of study at Washington University, you will receive a MSOT. If you are in the OTD program, the doctoral degree will be awarded at the end of your third year of graduate studies.