Online Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Loma Linda University (LLU) is a private special-focus health institution located in Loma Linda, California. There are 4,417 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 3:1. This university is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist church.
LLU offers online opportunities as well as academic and career counseling. In addition to health, LLU offers programs in psychology, biology, family and consumer sciences, education, theology, philosophy, and public administration. LLU currently offers 20 online degrees.
LLU offers an online Doctor of Occupational Therapy. This program requires 53 quarter units to complete and will take about 2 years. The program is divided into two main component parts: core coursework and a capstone. Students may also choose one elective and will be required to conduct independent research.
Some of the core courses include Education in Occupational Therapy, Leadership in Occupational Therapy, Education for Health Professionals, Bioethics & Society, Health, Society and Participation and Spirit of Diverse Abilities I & II.
Can you get a degree in occupational therapy online?
When it comes to occupational therapy, things change with the times. That includes online offerings. Today you can find dozens of online occupational therapy degrees. The majority of programs are for master’s-seeking and doctoral-seeking candidates. Although, you may be able to complete an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program.
Each university offers a slightly different format- some mimic the classroom experience with cohorts and synchronous classes. What we have noticed, however, is that more universities seem to favor a primarily online program that requires just 2-3 trips to the college campus. Several universities offer programs that are 100% online with no trip required.
Obviously, each method has its pros and cons, and a good step to take before applying is to ask whether or not you have the finances and time to leave town a few times a year. Participants often enjoy a hands-on approach to learning this subject and may find a blended approach better fits their learning styles.
That being said, the 100% online programs exist for a reason- they’re tailored to work with a working professional. Many of these programs are part-time, and asynchronous- a schedule that works well with an individual who is juggling more. We ranked the 25 best online Occupational Post-Professional ODT programs- some which are full-time, others blended, and many entirely online. Pick what works for you.
How many years does it take you to become an occupational therapist?
For a while, the entry-level degree for OT was a Bachelor’s of Science. That is no longer the case. To become an Occupational Therapist, an individual must have a Master’s degree. Additionally, students will need to become licensed, and some jobs require specific specializations.
An accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy takes about five years to complete. You can expect to study a variety of topics including anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, psychology, neuroscience, child-specific classes, adult-specific classes, research, policy and ethics and more.
Many programs extend a year to include the internship. Your internship is one of the most critical steps to becoming an OT as you will learn from other professionals, form relationships, and maybe even establish or expand your specific areas of interest.
After your schooling, you’ll need to pass the Occupational Therapy Registered Exam (OTR). This exam is about $550 and includes clinical issues that resemble case studies as well as 170 multiple choice questions. Once passed, you will need to become licensed in the state you wish to practice.
Finally, head to the American Occupational Therapy Association and look through their job search. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational therapy is growing at a rate of 25% over the next ten years- a rate much faster than the average for all other occupations. There is an increased likelihood that you may find a job rapidly upon gaining licensure in your state.
Overall, the process will take about six years. Individuals looking to pursue a doctoral program often do so after a few years of professional experience.
What colleges offer occupational therapy?
If you are looking to obtain a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) check out our ranking for the best online occupational therapy programs. If you are looking to study on campus in your area, check out the nearest university hospitals. Often the state schools will have an allied program in occupational therapy. These are great opportunities for individuals looking to gain hands-on experience and exposure while learning to become an occupational therapist. Some examples of schools which offer programs include:
- University of Kansas Medical Center
- Medical University of South Carolina
- Texas Woman’s University
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences
- Louisiana State University
- Tufts University
This is just a sample list of schools. There are several other programs located across the United States. Pick a school that fits with your passions, finances, and time allowance.
For those looking for the best graduate programs in the country. The top 10 according to U.S. News are:
- Boston University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- University of Southern California
- University of Illinois- Chicago
- University of Pittsburgh
- Colorado State University
- Thomas Jefferson University
- Tufts University-Boston School of Occupational Therapy
- University of Kansas Medical Center
- University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
Is a Doctorate Required to Become an Occupational Therapist?
The baseline requirement to become an occupational therapist is a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and state licensure.
While a doctorate is not required to become an occupational therapist, many professionals choose to pursue a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program after a few years in the profession. These candidates are often looking to advance into a leadership role in their field or after a few years of experience are looking to deepen their knowledge and hone their skills in a specific specialty area.
Evidence-based practice is yet another reason to pursue an OTD. Many insurance companies will need to see evidence that there is a correlation between the therapy and the improvement of the individual. In the absence of evidence-based programming, insurances companies do not hesitate to pull out. You do learn about evidence-based practice in a Master’s program, but the OTD is an opportunity to take this further and learn more about the application and importance of providing evidence along with your practice. For this reason, many individuals who are looking to start their own practice in the community may head back to pursue a doctor of occupational therapy.
How Much Do Occupational Therapists With a Doctorate Make?
According to PayScale, the average OTD makes about $90,000 per year. That being said, a doctoral program does not guarantee a particular salary. Rather, the advanced studies open doors to more specialized higher level professions. To quote the AOTA “Preliminary informal surveys of entry-level doctor doctoral graduates indicate that the doctoral degree does not guarantee advanced salaries. However, many entry-level doctoral graduates are able to pursue and fill unique positions due to their advanced education.”
The same can be true of all degree levels. What happens after you complete a bachelor’s degree is that doors begin to open to jobs that have a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree. The same may be said of a master’s degree and so forth. Though please note that the new entry-level degree requirement for occupational therapy is a master’s degree. Individuals looking to become an assistant or OTA may find employment with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
The same is true of an OTD. Typically students pursuing a doctor of occupational therapy have done so after a few years of experience. Arguably, the few years of experience (a range of about 2-5) are just as important as the degree.
The types of jobs that pay a salary of $90,000 require both the doctoral degree and time spent on the job. So, if you are looking to pursue an OTD, you may first wish to consider what job you hope to secure. Does this position’s requirements for years of experience match yours? This is likely a good time to pursue your OTD.
We have also ranked the top 20 colleges to get an online PhD degree.