Occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistant's (COTAs) role inside of a school setting is to promote the inclusion of students who have a physical or mental disability. Their goal is to ensure students can participate in social and academic activities. Since occupational therapists are very specialized and deal with a wide variety of disabilities, it is required they attend a graduate program.
Deciding on an Occupational Therapy Program
Once you complete an undergraduate degree and decide to become an occupational therapist, you then need to choose which program to attend to receive your Master's in Occupational Therapy. This can be a difficult decision since there are hundreds of schools that have a wide array of differences. One major consideration is the cost of tuition. Generally speaking, an in-state public school is going to be more affordable than a private or out-of-state school. Acceptance rate, teacher to student ratio, and enrollment are other important factors to look at.
Another major thing to take into consideration when deciding which school to attend is the prestige of the program. A program that is regarded as one of the best in the country will have the highest level of teaching and will help your resume stand out when you begin applying to that first job.
Best Occupational Therapy Schools
According to the U.S. News and World Report, there is a tie for the top occupational therapy school in the country. Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis received the highest score based on a survey of academics. Several other well-known schools round out the list such as the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois - Chicago, the University of Pittsburgh, and Colorado State University.
While OT programs can be found across the country, many of the best occupational therapy schools are found in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York. These findings came from a 2016 survey that was set out to find the best occupational therapy schools in the country.
Before you make your decision on which program you are going to attend, check with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) to ensure your school's program is accredited.