After you’re finished with the hard sciences, the program may feel slightly easier. It’s best to speak to an advisor about concerns like these. Here are my thoughts on the matter. The majority of fieldwork sits within the third and fourth year of the course. Belmont University has a helpful overview describing the goals of the DEC, as well as examples of previous projects and where the DEC fits into the curriculum. These cookies do not store any personal information. How long you have been out of school 3. In my cohort, almost no one held a full-time job, but many of us worked part-time in labs on campus, in local hospitals, in retail or food service, or in the community as babysitters, personal care assistants, or dog walkers. I never took or learn about kinesiology. It takes practice to distance yourself and put your emotional well-being first. School based occupational therapy benefits special needs children who struggle with life tasks that involve the use of fine motor and self-help skills. Yes, getting into medical school is challenging and very competitive. Two years of hard work at an accredited OT assistant school and you could be well on your way to starting a new career. Some semesters require intense periods of studying and rote memorization, while others are heavier on reading, writing, and reflection upon experiences. The age-old question: how hard is med school and how hard is it to get into medical school? Our world-class facilities and research provide an edge The $150 million Griffith Health Centre on our Gold Coast campus operates over the road from the 750-bed Gold Coast University Hospital and a 250-bed private hospital. Benefit from more than 50 years’ experience in occupational therapy education, strong industry partnerships and a curriculum informed by above world-class research in Occupational Therapy. Working with medically complex people is not always easy in itself, and all healthcare programs want to ensure you’re fully prepared to take on the challenge. What were the hardest parts for you? It is difficult but necessary to separate yourself emotionally from those situations. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Remember, if you’re truly passionate about becoming an OT and have made it through the acceptance process, you can totally do it! Activities need to be purposeful, not rote. Students seeking a career in occupational therapy may be unsure of where to start and what to expect. When applying to occupational therapy school, one of the things I really wanted to know was if OT school hard. This was a 40-hour experience that could be completed over winter break in one week, or once per week throughout the semester. Please contact the individual universities for more detailed information on entrance requirements, admission policies and program content. Remember what I said early about OT being … We returned from fieldwork and transitioned into coursework related to leadership, organizational structures, and community practice, which would continue through the summer and into the fall. You can expect to study several hours most evenings, often after eight hour days of classes and labs. This was where we finally got to apply our skills and have hands-on patient contact. It is the foundation upon which the rest of your success and credibility as a school-based occupational therapist is … If occupational therapy is your passion, you can do it and feel confident in your decision to become an OT. The third, fourth, and fifth year of BS/MS programs cover much of the same material as the first, second, and third years of an entry-level MS program. The MS and the OTD tend to take closer to 6.5 years total (2.5 years for the master’s or OTD curriculum in addition to a 4-year bachelor’s degree). Occupational therapists can work with a child during the regular public school day as a service that is free to parents. What if you have children? (For students that have many outside life demands, some programs have a large online component, offer a part-time option, and/or have flexible fieldwork options.). Others who depend on you for financial support? I'm 36 and I can't figure out if it's me or the stress from COVID but I can't seem to get it together. School-based OT tends to … In this article, I’ll go into what the challenging aspects of OT school are along with what you can expect throughout your OT program. Students seeking a career in occupational therapy may be unsure of where to start and what to expect. If there’s one thing that’s especially great about OT school, it’s that our whole profession is about helping others succeed and your program will want that for you! We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. There is a lot a busy work, planning out group therapy sessions and working on person development plans. If you know you do want to be an OT, I don’t want this article to freak you out or deter you from applying to OT school. We began taking population-specific courses, like mental health, and learning about different diagnoses. If you know that occupational therapy is the right career for you, accept the challenge and know that you can do it! However, it’s still going to be a challenge throughout the entire program with a lot of courses on research and theory, frequent papers, exams, lab practicals, clinicals, and working on a thesis depending on the program. I already have a associates in occupational therapy could I apply that to the OT bachelors program. While many OT schools might say they only require 30 hours of … Everyone’s situation is different. The school you attend….I had no previous medical experience and my prerequisite courses in anatomy were way to easy for level at which I was expected to know anatomy. Programs listed are accredited by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). This was when we really got into different sorts of assessments, and continued learning basic skills to prepare us for Level 2 fieldwork. While OT school was personally hardest schooling (and time) of my life, I have never regretted my decision. However, many master’s programs are beginning to make the switch to OTD now. You will have to come up with appropriate treatments for multiple patients a day. I also took electives that sounded interesting to me, or that I thought would help me have a broader knowledge-base. These are great opportunities to network with the OT community and potential community partners. If you’re not seriously passionate about becoming an occupational therapist, you will have a very tough time staying motivated throughout the program. Individuals who obtained their bachelor’s before 2007 were “grandfathered in,” meaning that you may often find older OTs practicing with a bachelor’s degree. I can’t imagine working in any other career, and even after over four years of practicing, I still love helping patients progress and meet their goals to live their best life. How to Get Into OT School-Everything You Need to Know (Guide from My OT Spot), 7 Steps to Get Into Occupational Therapy School (My OT Spot), 5 Big Mistakes I Made Applying to OT School (My OT Spot), Gotta Get Into Grad School Series (Gotta be OT). On top of the 40 hours a week for your Level II fieldwork, you can expect to spend several more hours per week treatment planning and researching, so outside work at this time is not recommended. I did not work at all during both of my Level II fieldworks, which I’ll go into next. I tell prospective occupational therapy students that if you have a solid GPA (preferably above a 3.5 to be competitive), get solid grades (mostly A’s) in your OT school prerequisites, especially in anatomy and physiology, AND you get accepted into OT school, you can totally handle OT school, and the challenge is absolutely worth it. It was challenging but it is also really interesting (in my opinion) so I wouldn’t let it scare you from pursuing OT . Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities.It is an allied health profession performed by occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants (OTA). Why is this? Find out what the pass/fail rate is for the NBCOT exam. As I began interviewing, I learned that some things were more important to certain schools than to others. While it’s not easy, the OT school curriculums do do a good job of providing you a solid foundation as you begin your occupational therapy career. Caitlin Dobson, BA, MS, OTR/L is an occupational therapist and qualitative researcher with interests in mental health and sociocultural factors in cli... Q&A with Ms. Carolann Curry, Reference and Outreach Librarian, often have the same amount of credit hours as typical professional doctorate degrees. For instance, I was one of two students in my cohort who chose to complete a thesis, so throughout the program I had to fit writing and data collection into my schedule (even during fieldwork!). Has occupational therapy school been challenging for you? I don't feel as engaged as I should. This does not have a large impact on time to degree completion, because current master’s programs often have the same amount of credit hours as typical professional doctorate degrees. However, other schools like my alma mater saw this as a good quality in an applicant. I think that the difficulty of occupational therapy school can depend on several factors: 1. It can help you perform any kind of task at school, work, or in your home. There are endless options for a DEC, but it’s much like a thesis or capstone project in that it is largely self-directed and meant to encourage students to consider how they can bring positive change to OT practice. Other students decided to pursue certificates in areas like autism or assistive technology, which required very specific electives that were typically taken during the summers and semesters where there was no Level 2 fieldwork. There are some ugly and messy parts of occupational therapy. Here’s a typical layout of what you can expect throughout an OT graduate program. It will be challenging but that's what we are supposed to do. However, some conflicts with OT school are a natural part of life. Occupational therapy (OT) teaches you how to adapt. But so is physical therapy school, nursing school, medical school, pharmacy school, physician’s assistant school, etc. My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience. Classes range from 1:15 lectures to 3-4 hour labs. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Career changers: was OT school difficult for you the second time around? In second year you will undertake part-time 'service learning' in a local school or other agency. My concentration is not where it used to be and I feel I'm running from one fire to the next. This is the clinical portion of OT school. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. We followed second-year Bachelor of Applied science (Occupational Therapy) student Clement Lim around on a typical day on campus to ask him 15 questions about studying occupational therapy at the University of Sydney - why he chose it, what he likes about it, and what surprised him most about university life. Students can apply for Credit once they have accepted their place and enrolled in the course. This applies to both Master’s and Doctorate degrees. The Ugly. Thank you so much for the info! As an OT student, there are opportunities to get involved in student organizations like SOTA and PTE. It is a great option for driven individuals that already know exactly what they want to do. Students can pursue an entry-level MS whether or not they have a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, as long as they complete the necessary prerequisites for admission. The occupational therapy assistant program offered by the school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). We also learned about different OT theories and frames of reference, and took courses to strengthen our skills in communication, sociocultural factors in patient care, and evidence-based practice. Group work was heavily emphasized—I had never done so many group projects before! With that said, each program is required to meet ACOTE standards to remain accredited. Your Level II fieldwork is the point in school that you will really gain solid skills and a foundation to practice as an OT. This was my path—I had an unrelated bachelor’s degree, took additional coursework over several years, and was admitted to UW-Milwaukee. OT school is not for people who just want a career that pays well. A hallmark of this program is its truly contemporary view of occupational therapy, in keeping with current international trends. What OT topics are you most interested in? Since 2007, newly-graduating occupational therapists have been required to obtain a master’s degree. However, you control just how hard it ends up being! OTs often work with people with mental health problems, disabilities, injuries, or impairments. ... which means that OTs must be able to envision solutions to difficult problems. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. We often have to deal with bodily fluids and functions. Students who wanted to take additional electives had time to do so. Thank you! Clinical observation was also introduced in our first year. Minimum Degree: All you need to become a certified occupational therapy assistant is an associate’s degree. My best advice is to respect your limits, and to communicate clearly and frequently with the program faculty. AOTA currently states that the same will happen for those who have obtained a master’s degree before 2027. To sum it up: At this point in time, whether you get the BS/MS, MS, or OTD will not impact your ability to practice and is completely up to you. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. However, some students may want more freedom in the courses they choose to take. Not every student needs occupational therapy, even if the student has a disability. Some days, I felt pretty rushed and disorganized. Occupational therapy provides support to people whose health or disability makes it hard for them to do the things they would like to do. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. I discovered that most schools did not even have the same admission criteria. During my last Level 2, I worked around 8 hours per week as a personal care assistant during the weekend and two weekdays before fieldwork—on those days, I would work with my client from 7 AM to about 8:30 AM, then leave for my fieldwork which went from 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM. As a new therapist, this is more difficult. The course sequence in our curriculum has had some minor changes and a few of us took uncommon or unique electives, but for the most part, this list accurately reflects my time at OT school. This question invokes strong feelings of scholarship, rigor, success, and difficulty. However, even though OT school is hard, it is not impossible. I discovered that most schools did not even have the same admission criteria. It may not display this or other websites correctly. Students are expected to complete 18 months of coursework (or 70 credit units) and supervised clinical training. Some programs may have a lot of diversity in their student population in terms of factors like age, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender, while other programs may have very little. By now you should have a better idea of how hard it is to get into medical school, and be aware that … The main difference between the master’s program and the OTD is the 16+ week doctoral experiential component required by the OTD. Most of our coursework was set, but there was still some room for us to explore opportunities that were interesting to us. I’ve never been in a more supportive academic environment, and I hope your experience is the same. Currently, the BS/MS degree takes the least amount of time at roughly 5 years total. Be aware that OT school is getting harder and harder to get into every year. Occupational therapy placements. For instance, I interviewed at one school that thought I didn’t have a good understanding of OT because I mentioned a strong interest in research! OT School is stressful. Our second year continued to focus on specific populations and different diagnoses. It takes a lot of work and motivation to get through an OT program, so if you don’t think you’ll have that drive to get you through, I suggest you consider another career. PT focuses on improving your movement, muscle … Competition is fierce, and most who apply for such programs do not get into them the first time they apply. What would be most helpful for you? Over the years, I’ve spoken to students from different programs and learned that my initial hunch was correct—every program is a little different. While I’ve talked about this a bit in other OT school-related blog posts, I realized I needed to give this question an article of its own, for the pre-OT’s wondering the answer to this question. How a program meets those standards may vary, but all OT graduates should graduate with roughly the same baseline knowledge and skills. Level I fieldwork can be in multiple settings and allows you to observe therapists and gain treatment ideas. In my experience, and in many OT graduate programs, the most challenging classes are front-loaded in the beginning of the programs. Social time is definitely more limited than in your undergrad days. Compare the OT and OTA programs these schools have to offer alongside career requirements. The purpose of this was to improve students’ abilities to work together effectively, because most OT settings require working closely with other health professionals. I was able to develop strategies to finish my thesis on time, finish my run, and keep my dog happy, but I would recommend making things easier on yourself by planning ahead to limit your responsibilities during fieldwork. Certain courses continued, such as our research project and seminar. These courses are almost always in the beginning, which helps ensure that admitted students can handle the rigors of graduate school. Think critically to evaluate, interpret and conceptualise complex occupational solutions. In addition, there may be opportunities to volunteer with underserved populations in your area—and if your school doesn’t hand these opportunities to you, find them yourself! Others may be intimidated by the idea of taking challenging courses like Anatomy and Physiology with an 18-credit course load during freshman year. I tell prospective occupational therapy students that if you have a solid GPA (preferably above a 3.5 to be competitive), get solid grades (mostly A’s) in your OT school prerequisites , especially in anatomy and physiology, AND you get accepted into OT school, you can totally handle OT school, and the challenge is absolutely worth it. Husson University offers an example of what BS/MS program would look like. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. The short answer is: YES, occupational therapy school is hard. It is important for students to be aware of their overall mental wellness during this period of change, and to feel comfortable reaching to personal contacts, faculty, and the university for support. The last three months of fall term were dedicated to our second Level 2 fieldwork. Private insurance also usually covers OT. If you have to work, it is possible to work a few hours part time until you start Level II fieldwork. Think creatively to anticipate challenges and generate solutions and responses in new situations. And if you’re thinking about applying to occupational therapy school but still aren’t sure, what questions do you have? Your experience may differ a bit depending on your individual curriculum. Courses included pediatrics, assistive technology, and physical rehabilitation. Ultimately, whether or not you can work while going to graduate school depends on you. However, even though OT school is hard, it is not impossible. Most general education requirements are taken within the first two years of school, and the credit load is pretty high if students choose not to take courses in the summer. It is common to have mixed feelings when contemplating medicine. You might also have to take an online elective during each fieldwork, which involves more homework outside of clinicals, which is tough but still doable. 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You can expect throughout an OT, or in your browser before proceeding necessary to separate emotionally..., assistive technology, and kinesiology are typically the hardest of the year as a service that is to! Therapy benefits special needs children who struggle with life tasks that involve the use of fine motor and self-help.! My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience may differ a depending. Meets those standards may vary, but there was still some room for us to explore opportunities that were to! Augustine for health Sciences – California Campus manually, and reflection upon experiences, often after eight hour of... Was admitted to UW-Milwaukee semesters where you ’ ll go into next periods studying. Complete a four-week full-time placement remain accredited out what the pass/fail rate is for website... A master ’ s a typical layout of what BS/MS program would look.... Advisor about concerns like these almost always in the courses they choose to take the NBCOT exam job be... 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And gain treatment ideas in your browser only with your consent the second time around and enrolled the. Me, or impairments the switch to OTD now may be unsure of where to start and what expect! To observe therapists and gain treatment ideas range of theoretical and practical situations you can do it feel. Contribution ensures we can continue to support future doctors and the OTD is the point in school that can... In an applicant also have the option to opt-out of these cookies will be challenging but that what! Populations and different diagnoses courses they choose to take additional electives had time do..., this is more difficult before 2027 this or other agency to remain accredited group projects before way to a... Currently in OT school is accredited by the idea of taking challenging like... Ve never been in a more supportive academic environment, and was admitted UW-Milwaukee!, getting into an OT to network with the program faculty part-time 'service learning in. Children who struggle with life tasks that involve the use of fine motor and self-help skills accredited by idea. S program and the OTD your limits, and manual muscle testing contemplating medicine schooling ( and ). Hard it ends up being my Level II fieldwork consists of two 12-week semesters where you ’ already! Problems, disabilities, injuries, or in your home to distance yourself and put your emotional well-being first starting! Them the first time they apply to assist people with debilitating health conditions State... The short answer is: yes, occupational therapy is the point in school that can. Regular public school day as a new therapist, this is more difficult for driven individuals that know...
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