best schools for occupational therapy

The World Best Schools For Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapist normally needs a master’s degree, state-specific licensing, and a four-year bachelor’s degree. 

If you are looking to go into this field, this article is the best place to learn about the best schools for occupational therapy, what is expected of you as a graduate, and the career prospects for this field.

What Exactly Does An Occupational Therapist Do?

Occupational therapists use therapy to treat patients who are wounded, ill, or incapacitated. 

They help the patients develop the skills required for their daily life and employment.

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best schools for occupational therapy

What Are The Best Schools For Occupational Therapy?

Now let’s look at the best schools for occupational therapy.

1. Boston University in Boston, MA

Students at Boston University choose between the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree and the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. 

The school’s three-year OTD program is provided in a hybrid style that consists of a 16-week doctorate experience component, six months of Level II fieldwork, online summer courses, and four semesters on campus during the academic year. 

Students study an integrative seminar and complete Level I fieldwork at medical facilities in the Boston region during the on-campus sessions.

2. University of Illinois in Chicago

The University of Illinois provides a two-year entry-level M.S. in Occupational Therapy degree that aids students in obtaining their state licensure. 

The Department of Disability and Human Development and the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition are two more academic departments that provide combined Ph.D. programs in disability studies and rehabilitation studies.

3. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

This university has consistently maintained its reputation as one of the best occupational therapy schools.

The university’s occupational science and occupational therapy programs were ranked third by USN&WR in its analysis of the “Best Occupational Therapy Programs” for 2016. 

Students who opt to major in occupational therapy as undergraduates can complete their master’s degree in OT in just one extra year instead of two, and it is open to students who have a bachelor’s degree in a different subject. 

A doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) and a doctorate in occupational science (Ph.D.) are both available as doctoral degrees in this field.

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4. Tufts University – Boston School of Occupational Therapy in Medford, MA

This university made it to the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the “Top Occupational Therapy Programs” for 2016. 

The institution is among the earliest occupational therapy schools in the country to provide an entry-level and a post-professional master’s degree program in occupational therapy, as well as a certificate program and an OTD program. 

Tufts University is a member of a group of universities that permits cross-registration with Brandeis University, Boston College, and Boston University.

5. Thomas Jefferson University

Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences offers a BSMS in occupational therapy, which made it among the top occupational therapy best schools. 

Students who complete this program can practice occupational therapy at the entry-level in a variety of settings. 

They also have the chance to concentrate on things like specialized practice, instructing, conducting research, and networking with professional associations.

6. Saint Louis University

Only four schools in the United States focus on both occupational science and occupational therapy, making SLU’s Bachelor in Occupational Science unique. 

The curriculum of this program comprises coursework in occupational science and therapy, a liberal arts education with an emphasis on interprofessional health collaboration, and field experiences to prepare students for jobs in this field of medicine. 

Students need to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.9 throughout this 133-credit program to graduate well.

Also see: What Is a Good GPA in College? Requirements And Tips.

7. Baker College

A bachelor’s in pre-occupational therapy from Baker College equips students with the practical knowledge and expertise needed in this wide-ranging discipline. 

Courses in this 120-credit program include Clinical Kinesiology, Mental Health Conditions, Occupational Dysfunction, and Program Planning/Intervention Strategies. 

Students can also choose to combine this program with a master’s in occupational therapy, allowing them to finish both the undergraduate degree and one year of graduate study. 

The admissions procedure in this school is quite competitive due to the current enrollment cap imposed by the availability of clinical sites. 

Students are required to complete prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of B in the weighted and required courses and at least a C in the general education courses. 

8. University at Buffalo

With its combined BS/MS occupational therapy program, the Department of Rehabilitation Science at UB allows students to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years.

This makes for an exceptional curriculum and ranks the school among the best schools for occupational therapy. 

You would save at least one or two years in this school because it typically takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree and two to three years to earn a master’s degree.

9. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The bachelor’s in occupational studies offered by UW Milwaukee integrates many aspects of health, disability, and occupation that contribute to full involvement in life. 

This program examines disability from a multifaceted standpoint that takes into account both social and medical causes. 

One option for students who are interested in the therapeutic recreation field is the therapeutic recreational track. 

The courses can be done online, in traditional face-to-face settings, or in a hybrid of the two.

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10. Western Michigan University

This program offers an accelerated route to earning a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services with a specialization in occupational therapy. 

Students start taking graduate-level courses in the last year of their bachelor’s program 

Your application to this university will be assessed based on your prior academic success, work/volunteer experience, leadership roles, and cultural and ethnic diversity competence. 

11. Eastern Kentucky University

EKU provides students with the fundamental connections between occupational science and occupational therapy as well as the strong leadership abilities that are crucial. 

Students will gain the information and skills required to seek work in healthcare, education, or community-based occupational therapy occupations or pursue a graduate program in occupational therapy through education, research, and service.

12. Ithaca College

Students who enroll in IC’s Bachelor of Occupational Science program can also enroll in a master’s program to complete both degrees in just five years. 

This degree program’s objective is to give students a solid foundation in the humanities, sciences, and liberal arts through in-class instruction and clinical fieldwork experiences, which include 32 weeks of full-time labor.

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13. Texas Woman’s University

There are six occupational therapy degree programs offered by Texas Woman’s University. 

2022 saw the graduation of 240 individuals studying occupational therapy, with 128 receiving master’s degrees and 112 receiving doctoral degrees.

14. Towson University

There are five occupational therapy degree programs available through Towson University. 

There are about 40 graduates with bachelor’s degrees, 39 with master’s degrees, and 1 with a doctorate in occupational therapy who graduated in 2022.

15. Loma Linda University

There are 7 Occupational Therapy degree programs available at Loma Linda University.

The school graduated 184 occupational therapy students, who received 88 doctoral degrees, 54 master’s degrees, and 42 associate degrees in 2022.

Related: Online Master’s Degree: The Best Schools To Study

16. Nova Southeastern University

There are eight occupational therapy degree programs offered by Nova Southeastern University. 

The school is a very large, private, four-year institution that is ranked as one of the best schools for occupational therapy. 

2022 saw the graduation of 464 individuals studying occupational therapy, with 411 receiving doctoral degrees, 51 receiving master’s degrees, and 2 receiving bachelor’s degrees.

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

Occupational therapists can be found in a variety of work environments and sectors, such as outpatient clinics, research facilities, schools, hospitals, intervention agencies, pediatric clinics, community mental health care facilities, home care, rehabilitation centers, and senior care facilities.

What Is Better, Physical Therapy Or Occupational Therapy?

Both of them perform different functions.

Physical therapy helps patients cope with pain, increase their range of motion, improve endurance, and develop gross motor skills, while occupational therapy focuses more on how clients perform activities and roles that are most crucial to their daily lives. 

Is Occupational Therapy In Demand?

Yes, OTs are in high demand, and job growth is anticipated to increase by 17% between 2020 and 2030.

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What Else Can You Do With An OT Degree?

Once you graduate from one of the best schools for occupational therapy, you can:

  • Start your own practice.
  • Become an independent contractor
  • Be an Assistive Technology Consultant
  • Become an ergonomic consultant
  • Go into home/workplace modifications consulting
  • Start a driver’s rehabilitation and training consulting business.
  • Become a school consultant or a 
  • Product Development Consultant.

Is An Occupational Therapist Called A Doctor?

No, the title “Dr” is not used for occupational therapists; instead, it is only used by those who have earned an MBBS or BDS from a recognized medical institution. 

People who are pursuing a doctorate or Ph.D. may also use the title “Dr,” but it is not acceptable for occupational therapists.

What Do I Study To Become An Occupational Therapist?

You must hold a master’s or higher degree in occupational therapy before you practice. 

The relevant majors to obtain a degree in occupational therapy include biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberal arts, and anatomy.

Related: What Can You Do With A Biology Degree?

What Makes A Good Occupational Therapist?

An excellent occupational therapist spends a lot of time with patients, listening to them with kindness, empathy, and humor. 

They need to be patient because while some clients might achieve their objectives quickly, it might take years for a different client to make the same progress.


When choosing the right school for you, it’s important to arm yourself with all the facts you can.

Therefore, always do your own research and find out the key information before you apply to any school.

As usual, Expaat is here to provide you with all the information you need for any discipline of your interest.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Schools For Occupational Therapy

Which is harder, PT or OT?

Both of them are unique in their own ways.

While OT will need a Master’s, physical therapy is now more involved and will demand a doctorate.

Is an occupational therapy degree worth it?

Yes, an OT degree is worth it both in terms of career satisfaction and financial benefits.

According to the BLS data, the median salary for a college graduate was around $74,000, and you can climb the career ladder in the profession.

How long is occupational therapy school?

Occupational therapy is a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Is occupational therapy hard?

Yes, occupational therapy can be a difficult profession.

But you will pull through with the right hard work and zeal.


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