Looking to join a growing workforce in an industry with the best job opportunity? Search no more. The Healthcare industry is in high demand right now with our aging baby boomer population. There are a vast multitude of people needing health care assistance as they approach their 80’s and 90’s. Becoming an occupational therapist, specifically, is a great way to earn a living. The process to become is lengthy, but extremely rewarding in the end. In this week’s blog, we’ll go over the steps it takes to become an occupational therapist and help you make the first steps towards your career goals. Let’s begin.
In order to become an Occupational Therapist, you’ll need to earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree first. You’ll need to become an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) before moving on to occupational therapy itself, which requires a master’s degree. There are over 175 accredited programs approved by the American Occupational Therapy Association that you can sign up for to complete your associate’s. Completing a two-year program at a community college or technical school will get this milestone out of the way. Once this is finished, you’ll need to enter a bachelor’s degree program or combined bachelor’s/master’s program. Some schools require a bachelor’s of science in biology, while others house specific occupational therapy majors. Find out your University’s specific requirements and go for it!
To move up from being an occupational therapy assistant, a master’s degree must be earned from an accredited university. Once you’ve earned it, students usually apply for licensure to continue. As of now, no states require a doctoral degree in order to practice. The master’s degree itself usually combines classwork and fieldwork. Fieldwork includes professional work in hospitals, private homes, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and clinics under the supervision of a licensed, experienced occupational therapist. Once your master’s is completed, it’s time to move onto the next step.
Passing the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam is required in order to become a licensed occupational therapist. If you fail it, you’ll need to wait 45 days to retake it. Costing $540 dollars, it’s in your best interest to study hard and make sure you pass. The last step is to apply for licensure through the state. Most states require an application fee, the submission of all official transcripts, a background check, and your test results. Depending on the state you live in, you’ll need continuing education units to receive licensure. You can find your state on this chart, to determine how many you’ll need. Once you’ve gained licensure you are now an occupational therapist!
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