Occupational Therapy Major and Schooling Prerequisites

If you are interested in having a major in Occupational Therapy (OT), you will need to complete a series of undergraduate pre-requisites in order to move on to a Master’s program. In order to become an Occupational Therapist you will need to have an understanding of a variety of topics. You will also need to have additional requirements that will vary greatly depending on the program you are applying to. Some look for volunteer experience, or letters of recommendation.

For students who completed their education in a foreign language there must complete and receive a score that is passing (in the eyes of the graduate program) on the official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. There may be additional factors looked at by graduate schools and you will need to contact programs you are interested in directly in order to get up to date information.

It is imperative that you have a working understanding of human anatomy and human physiology before entering graduate school. You must also have an understanding of either Physics or Kinesiology. An understanding of Psychology, both General and Abnormal Psychology is required. You must have an understanding of developmental psychology preferably with an understanding of how psychology changes throughout the lifespan of a person. You will need to understand statistics and then have completed classes in a Social Science such as Psychology (beyond the classes mentioned), Sociology, Anthropology or Math. You will also need to have taken classes in the Humanities such as Music, Theater, Literature, Religion, Art History, Philosophy, History or Ethics.

Finally, as your job will involve and understanding of the physical body, it is critical that you have taken courses in Medical Terminology in order to understand the Medical Terminology that will be required to do your job. Once you have accumulated these credits and have graduated from a Bachelor’s program in Occupational Therapy (OT) or a highly related field, you will be able to talk the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and if you have a qualifying score you will be ready to apply for Graduate school.

Most schools will also request essay’s on why you are interested in the program and also letters of recommendation from professors or Occupational Therapists.

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You will need to have completed a certain number of credit hours in a variety of classes, exams and additional expectations that may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Developmental Psychology with an emphasis on changes over lifespan
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Medical Terminology
  • A few credits from the Humanities, such as Literature, Religion Ethics or Philosophy
  • One of: Sociology, Psychology, Math or Anthropology
  • Statistics
  • Expository Writing or similar advanced writing class
  • Kinesiology or Physics
  • Human Anatomy with lab time
  • Human Physiology with lab time
  • Letters of recommendation from professors or Occupational Therapists
  • Volunteer experience
  • Sufficiently high Graduate Record Exam score
  • If you completed education in a non-English university a sufficient TOEFL score
  • Essay explaining interest in Occupational Therapy (OT)

Every school will have different supplemental expectations for their Graduate school applicants so it is wise to contact the programs you are interested in directly in order to find out the specifics of each Graduate program’s pre-requisites and expectations for its Graduate school applicants.

Once you have an understanding of the expectations it is a simple matter of gathering together your necessary materials and carefully completing your application to the Graduate program of your choice. Making sure you have all the necessary pre-requisites and an excellent score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) will give you the best chances of success when you apply to your ideal Graduate program.