Occupational Therapy Schools
When you consider what kind of school you want to choose to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to consider a number of factors. The first of which is what level of degree you want to acquire. If you want to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will have a wide variety of choices in that you will only be required to have an Associate’s degree from an Occupational Therapy Assistant program which is offered at many community colleges throughout the country. If you want to become an Occupational Therapist you will need to find a Master’s or Doctoral program in Occupational Therapy. In either case you will need to be sure that the school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Once you have determined what level of education you wish to receive, you will want to consider the most important factor which is curriculum. While most schools that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) will have similar programs, there are always elements that will differ from school to school. Some schools will have a greater focus on work with children with disabilities for example. Other schools will look to be preparing graduates for the demographic shifts that are occurring and will tailor their program to provide students with the knowledge and skill set to best help seniors make lifestyle adjustments due to limitations caused by aging. Another key curriculum consideration to make is whether a program features training around Physical Agent Modalities (PAMS). In many states there are additional levels of certification offered to licensed Occupational Therapists who wish to use Physical Agent Modalities (PAMS). Finding a program that emphasizes PAMS will allow you to be able to immediately receive the additional certification and help your practice stand out from other Occupational Therapists who do not offer PAMS.
You will next want to consider the different opportunities presented by different programs in various locations. While there are a few online programs available for Occupational Therapy Assistants, all Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accredited programs require a field work component that cannot be done online. Deciding on what school and location you wish to study and live in is a very important decision. You will want to consider the prestige of any particular program. The city or town in which the school resides is also a key consideration as the lifestyle offered by a major city is radically different from one offered by a school in a smaller quiet town. You will need to evaluate what you are looking for both in terms of schooling and lifestyle and make a choice based on your own particular needs in those areas.
A final consideration will be to research the financial costs associated with a particular program. There are rather
substantial differences in the cost of in state tuitions vs. out of state as well as from school to school. You will need to consider your own financial situation and access to aid when you make the decision. Keep in mind that tuition is just one of the costs associated with school and you will need to consider school fees, room, board as well as books and supplies. Making a careful analysis of the full costs of each school is a critical component of the decision making process.