Becoming an Occupational Therapist
Step by Step on How to Become an Occupational Therapist
Anyone interested in the field of occupational therapy should first research this position and understand exactly what occupational therapists do and what types of work are available to him or her. While there are a wide variety of careers and jobs available in the field, occupational therapy is simply not for everyone. It can be a very demanding job, and it does require a fair amount of training and schooling. If can individual has done his or her research though and is prepared to begin the journey to becoming an occupational therapist, it is important to follow the steps correctly.
The first thing one has to do in order to become an occupational therapist is to decide what type of licensure or degree he or she is qualified for and wishes to obtain. Next, the person will need to find an accredited school or program to attend. Any school that is not accredited but claims to have a degree program in occupational therapy should be avoided; these “degrees” will not be of any use to the individual.
Some programs or schools will require bachelor’s degrees or even master’s degrees, depending on the level of certification one is planning to acquire. Some schools may even have restrictions on what field or fields the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree must be in. There may also be rules about past grade point averages or scores on certain exams. For these reasons, it is important that individuals learn the requirements of any institution they are considering attending.
Once a program has been selected, individuals simply have to fill out an application and wait to hear back from the program or school. It is common for students to be denied to programs several times before getting an acceptance, so many individuals will fill out multiple applications at once. Once a school has accepted the individual, he or she will complete coursework, often followed by an internship, before preparing to take the certification exam.
This exam varies from state to state and is updated frequently, so students should be sure to be extremely current on the latest advances and changes to techniques in occupational therapy. Not everyone will pass this exam on the first try, but it can be taken again. After passing the exam, however, it is time for individuals to begin looking for jobs in their fields of choice.