Should I Get a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy
Master of Occupational Therapy | 4 MIN READ
Certain illnesses, injuries, developmental delays and disabilities can deprive people of their independence by making everyday activities difficult or impossible. By working closely with patients to develop habits, rebuild and restore skills and everyday functioning, occupational therapists (OTs) help patients regain their independence, bolster their self-confidence, and live full lives.
Occupational therapists are in high demand and job prospects are excellent. No previous experience in OT is necessary to begin a master’s program. A bachelor’s degree in any subject allows you entry into a master’s program where you will be trained as a professional in the dynamic, growing, lucrative, and fulfilling field of occupational therapy where you will make an immense difference in the lives of others.
Why choose occupational therapy?
As an occupational therapist, you evaluate patients and develop strategies to motivate them and improve their life skills. You may help patients with activities such as:
- Completing chores
- Following directions
- Processing information
- Using transportation
Though patients may need to repeat various tasks to gain mastery of them, an OT must think creatively and be able to adapt treatment to the patient’s skill level, energy level, and symptoms, which may vary daily. Occupational therapists also rely on strong communication skills to help patients understand instructions and their course of treatment.
After earning a master’s degree in occupational therapy, you have the option to further your education and choose an area of specialization, including:
- Feeding, eating, and swallowing
- Mental health
- Stroke rehabilitation
Whether you choose to specialize or become a generalist, a master’s degree in occupational therapy provides numerous opportunities for gratifying work.
If you are interested in a challenging career which provides great rewards for the patient and the therapist, occupational therapy may be for you.
Career Outlook in Occupational Therapy
You may be asking yourself, “What could I do with a master’s degree in occupational therapy?”
As an occupational therapist, you raise your patients’ self-esteem and confidence by helping them develop self-sufficiency. Whether you are building skills with patients to help them eat independently, cook a meal on their own, or return to work, you are giving them a chance to live their lives more fully. Some OTs even work to better the lives of others on a larger scale by working with architects consulting on accessibility in buildings or helping to develop adaptive clothing and tools.
Occupational therapists work in a wide range of settings, including:
- Government agencies
- Hospitals and clinics
- Nursing homes
- Outpatient facilities
- Primary care offices
- Private homes
While an OT most often works individually with a patient, collaboration as well as advanced communication and interpersonal skills are an important part of the job. Psychologists, social workers, speech therapists, physical therapists, and family members team up with occupational therapists to achieve the best holistic outcome for a patient.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual wage for occupational therapists was $85,570. The number of jobs in OT is expected to increase by 14% every year through 2031. This growth is much faster than the average growth for all occupations, making the master’s degree in occupational therapy a smart investment.
Preparation for Entry-Level Occupational Therapist Positions
A master’s degree in occupational therapy is the minimum standard for becoming a practicing occupational therapist, so choosing the right university to earn your degree is critical.
Elmhurst University’s Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy (MOT) is designed for students who are new to the field of OT. Elmhurst’s graduate program prepares you for your future as an OT with rigorous academic coursework, service learning, practical experience in the field, and collaborative research on campus. The Elmhurst MOT degree program is offered in a hybrid format combining online learning with on-campus classes. You can complete the master’s degree in 24 months of full-time study.
The Elmhurst MOT degree is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The AOTA is the accrediting agency for occupational therapy schools and ensures your coursework meets the exacting standards of AOTA.
To become a certified occupational therapist, you must pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) exam upon completion of the master’s degree program. Since 2018, Elmhurst MOT students have had a passing rate of 100%, reflecting the extensive preparation you receive through the program’s comprehensive, career-focused curriculum.
Pursue a Dynamic, In-Demand Occupational Therapy Career
With a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Elmhurst University, you will graduate into a rewarding career with abundant job openings, a variety of work environments, high salaries, personal and professional satisfaction, and the privilege of helping patients live their fullest lives.
Discover how to become an occupational therapist by requesting information below about Elmhurst University’s MOT degree.