This article talks about the Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Occupational Therapy and their education requirements, coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and licensure and continuing education options.
Master of Science Program in Occupational Therapy
Individuals seeking careers as an occupational therapist can benefit from enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Occupational Therapy program. Program coursework is a combination of classes with hands-on training and clinical research experience. Students gain expertise in the assessment, evaluation and building of treatment plans aimed at helping people return to daily activities and compensating for the loss of functions.
Students complete most programs within two years, and in some schools, bachelor’s and master’s programs are combined. Licensure is compulsory in all states for prospective occupational therapists.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree – generally in occupational therapy – along with prior coursework in relevant fields. Prerequisite coursework covers topic areas such as coursework in anatomy, psychology, biomechanics and medical conditions.
Students can acquire the problem-solving, leadership, and critical thinking skills they would need to provide treatment to people with disabling: mental, emotional, cognitive or physical conditions. They become expert at using specialized equipment devised to rehabilitate and accomplish therapeutic results. Program coursework involves the exploration of future trends as well as current occupational therapy practices. The curriculum also involves participation in clinical research and practice, as well as seminars and fieldwork. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Occupational therapy trends
•Occupational therapy theories
•Occupational performance for adults and children
Program graduates can work in job settings such as:
•Health care services
•Private and public educational services
Job and Wage Outlook
Over the 2016 – 2026 decade, occupational therapists are expected to see a job growth of 21% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The job growth is due to the increased need for treatment arising from an aging population. In May 2016, occupational therapists brought in an average annual wage of $81,910.
Licensure and Continuing Education Options
Licensure is compulsory in all states for occupational therapists who wish to practice (BLS). Licensure can be obtained by completing an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) – accredited program and passing an examination.
Program graduates may opt for continuing education by earning a doctoral degree that could lead to careers in academia or research. A voluntary certification examination for graduates is available through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.