Online Occupational Therapy Degrees

All occupational therapists must now have at least a masters-level occupational therapy degree to enter the field, but there are some variations on this degree to consider. You may choose to get a master of science in occupational therapy, or pursue a certificate of advanced study in the field. Specializing in a certain area with an advanced occupational therapy degree can make you more attractive to employers and may be just what you need to pursue a rewarding career as an independent occupational therapist. Take some time to learn about different occupational therapist degree programs and options available to you so that you can work towards an exciting and satisfying career.

Getting an Occupational Therapy Degree

If you want to serve as an occupational therapist assistant shortly after graduating from a school that offers an occupational therapy degree program, you can complete a two-year associate's degree in the field. An associate's occupational therapy degree will prepare you only for entry-level positions in the field, and you can then complete a bachelor's degree and a certification program to prepare for a master's level occupational therapy degree program.

Occupational therapists must have at least a master's occupational therapy degree in order to qualify for a position that does not involve working under the supervision of a certified occupational therapist. Most individuals interested in becoming occupational therapists - not occupational therapy assistants or aides - have at least a master of science in occupational therapy degree or a doctorate degree in the field. Some schools also offer the following types of occupational therapy degree programs and variations:

  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Occupational Therapy
  • Master of Science in Advanced Occupational Therapy Studies
  • Post-Professional Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • Post Professional Masters in Occupational Therapy
  • Master of Science in Human Movement

Occupational Therapist Degree Specializations

Many students pursuing an occupational therapy degree choose to specialize in a particular field. Specialization can lead to higher-than-average salaries and even be a more rewarding career path for many students. Occupational therapists that remain generalists can take advanced courses or become certified in a particular occupational therapist degree specialization, such as:

  • Pediatric occupational therapy
  • Geriatric occupational therapy
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Mental health
  • Lifestyle redesign
  • Physical disabilities
  • Low vision rehabilitation

Completing an Occupational Therapy Degree Online

Even though many courses in an occupational therapy degree program involve hands-on training, some students can complete their classroom-based courses through an occupational therapy degree online. Online occupational therapist degree programs can provide students with foundational knowledge and basic skills through web-based lectures, virtual simulations and tutorials.

Students interested in completing an occupational therapy degree online need to be prepared to work on a web-based platform, submit assignments over the Internet, and they may be responsible for participating in online discussion groups as part of their course requirement. Completing a portion of an occupational therapy degree online can grant a student some flexibility with their schedules and in some cases, help them complete required courses at a faster rate than traditional offline programs.