Top 5 Schools Offering Combined Bachelors And Masters Degree In Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapy aims to restore and improve patient’s abilities to perform basic everyday tasks. Some people are confused between occupational therapy and physical therapy because of the somewhat similar functions of these two healthcare professions. Although both professions handle patients with disability problems or injury, the two professions differ in its specific focus and goals.

Physical therapy focuses on helping patients recover from injury related problems or from disabilities, and improve specific aspects like range of motion, flexibility, and mobility. Occupational therapy also aims to provide these services but occupational therapists make sure that the recovery allows patients to return to normal functioning especially in performing work related and basic everyday tasks like eating, bathing, walking, and more. Occupational therapy, in general, does not only help people recover from disabilities but it generally helps patients improve their functioning and overall quality of life.

How To Become An Occupational Therapist?

Become An Occupational TherapistTo become an occupational therapist, a person must first earn a bachelor’s degree in a specific field that can qualify for occupational therapy degree program later on. Most states require occupational therapists to earn at least a master’s degree or even higher in occupational therapy education. After finishing the occupational therapy degree program, aspiring OT are then required to finish a residency program, which usually lasts for 1 year or more depending on the state you are planning to get employed than pass the licensure for aspiring occupational therapists.

Once all these requirements are accomplished, an occupational therapist can now finally work as a licensed and certified OT in various states or countries. Basic education path to become an occupational therapist usually involve 4 years of bachelor degree then additional 2 to 3 years of master’s degree.

With the greater demand for occupational therapists today, more schools are now offering advanced and accelerated course programs so aspiring OTs can finish the education requirements in a shorter span of time while still earning all the necessary education and training provided in traditional degree programs.

Combined Bachelors And Masters Degree Programs In Occupational Therapy

Combined bachelors and masters degree programs in occupational therapy allow aspiring students to finish the occupational therapy education requirements within a shorter period than taking the conventional education path. Instead of at least 6 years of study, students taking a combined or dual degree program can be able to earn their master’s degree in occupational therapy within 5 years.

These combined degree programs require full time study due to the fast track education system. The bachelor’s level in dual programs can generally be completed within 3 to 4 years while the master’s program can then be completed within a year or 2 depending on the education system followed by the school.

If you are planning to pursue a career in occupational therapy and want to take this accelerated degree, then here are some of the best accredited occupational therapy schools offering dual programs.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University offers seasoned education programs in occupational therapy, which was established in 1941. They offer a 3+2 degree program, which means that students can complete the undergraduate degree within 3 years and the master’s degree within 2 years. However, not all students can continue to the master’s program since students must still pass the necessary requirements and qualifications required to qualify for the master’s degree.

Students who want to proceed to the master’s degree must first earn a minimum GPA of 2.75, satisfying grades in core classes, minimum volunteer work of 80 hours, and must prove to be an upstanding student. After graduating, students will have both earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in occupational therapy.

University Of Wisconsin

Top 5 Schools University of Wisconsin in La Crosse County, Wisconsin offers new dual programs for students who want accelerated programs in healthcare professions like occupational therapy. The dual program in occupational therapy was founded in 2005 and offers a 3-year bachelor’s degree plus 2 and a half year of master’s degree in occupational therapy. Just like in other dual programs, University of Wisconsin also does not automatically grant admission to the master’s program after finishing the bachelor’s degree.

Students must first perform well during the undergraduate level and prove that they are qualified for the master’s program. After completing the programs, graduates will hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology then a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

University Of Southern California

If you want bachelors and master’s degrees both in occupational therapy, then the dual accelerated program in occupational therapy offered by the University of Southern California will be a good option. The university offers a 3-year bachelor’s degree then an additional 2 years for the master’s degree. After finishing the combined program, graduates will hold a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in occupational degree.

Easter Washington University

Just like in other universities, offer combined degree programs in occupational therapy Easter Washington University also offers dual degree in occupational therapy using the 3+2 system. However, students completing the program will earn a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies then a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Students are required to study full-time in order to complete the accelerated program within the given time frame.

Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University also offers dual programs in occupational therapy. This is one of the few universities in the United States that allow students to choose the undergraduate major of their own choice such as psychology or health science. To qualify for the master’s program in occupational therapy, students must first earn a minimum GPA of 3 or higher. Students completing the program will earn a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field within 3 years then the master’s degree within 2 years.

Specializations In Occupational Therapy

Just like in other healthcare professions, occupational therapy is also composed of sub-disciplines and specialties. Taking a specialization provides professionals advantages in terms of employment opportunities and salaries. Having a specialization in occupational therapy usually provides healthcare professionals higher-than-average salaries and also makes them more preferable by prospective employers.

When taking master’s program, you can also choose to take a specialization especially during your residency program depending on your preference and interest. Specializations in occupational therapy are pediatric, geriatric, cognitive disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities, low vision rehabilitation, and lifestyle redesign.


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