Occupational Therapist Requirements and Education Prerequisites

Successfully completing an occupational therapy education can lead to a rewarding career as an occupational therapist or an occupational therapist assistant. If you are interested in enrolling in an occupational therapy education program, take some time to learn about the occupational therapist requirements in your state and review occupational therapy prerequisites for your particular program. Every college and training program will have varying requirements and you can review the key requirements and prerequisites for your occupational therapist education with your academic advisor before enrollment.

Pursuing an Occupational Therapy Education

If you are considering becoming an occupational therapist, you'll need to learn about different occupational therapy education programs available in your area, and find out which will be the best fit for you. Some occupational therapist education programs include an online component where the student can complete some courses over the web. Others are strictly campus-based and provide both classroom and hands-on training in the field. It's important to make sure that the school you choose to complete an occupational therapy is an accredited institution.

Occupational Therapist Requirements

All occupational therapists in the United States must have at least a master's degree or higher in order to provide services. Occupational therapist requirements only vary slightly from state to state, but all states require the student to have completed at least a bachelor's degree with certification, and then a master's level degree in the field. In addition to fulfilling all master's degree occupational therapy requirements, students need to seek out an internship or volunteer opportunities where they can work directly with patients under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Work experience can help any student graduating from an occupational therapy education program secure a position after graduation.

Occupational Therapy Prerequisites

Every School of Occupational Therapy will have different prerequisites and requirements for those who want to complete a master's degree or higher in the field. Some of the common occupational therapy prerequisites for a master's level degree in this field include:

  • Completing 50+ credits of general education courses, including English Composition, Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy, Statistics and electives
  • Maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in all science and math courses
  • Receiving high grades in college-level math, psychology and other science courses
  • Being certified in CPR
  • Having certification in Standard First Aid
  • Have completed at least 40 hours of volunteer or work experience observing an occupational therapist in two different settings.

Other Occupational Therapy Requirements

In addition to completing all classroom-based courses, students will need to meet a set of other occupational therapist requirements in order to obtain their degree. Occupational therapy requirements for hands-on training will vary slightly from school to school, and also by state. Students need to log a certain number of hours of hands-on training so that they have some experience working directly with patients. This part of an occupational therapy program will either take place at the school at a dedicated clinic, or at an approved clinic or training center in the area.

Taking some time to learn about classroom-based and hands-on training occupational therapist requirements can help a student select the right program and work towards a rewarding career in the field.