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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a growing field with increasing demand as the population is more aware of the importance of a non-invasive, non-medicated, holistic approach. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, OTs help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday occupations. Common OT interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive change.

NOTE: The University of Tampa has a Bachelor of Science degree in allied health with a concentration in occupational therapy sciences, which can equip students to apply to a graduate program in occupational therapy. UT does not have an occupational therapy graduate program.  

Preparing for Occupational Therapy School

Earn a bachelor’s degree

Occupational therapy school is a graduate program; to become eligible to apply to OT school students need to earn a bachelor's degree and take specific pre-requisites (classes that OT schools require). At UT, students can earn a bachelor's degree and take pre-requisite courses. Students who are interested in going to OT school typically major in allied health with a concentration in occupational therapy sciences. This major includes most of the required courses for entrance into OT programs. However, other degrees can also prepare students for health professions; thus students are encouraged to major in the field where they excel and should consult the pre-health professions advisor about course work.

Basic pre-requisite* (Each OT school has its own set of pre-requisites, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply.) courses required for occupational therapy school:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I (1) and II (2) with labs
  • Biology
  • Physics/Chemistry/ Kinesiology /Psychology/ Human Growth in Development/Statistics/ Medical Terminology may be required depending on the school

*Each OT school has its own set of pre-requisites, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply. Search OT schools.   

Build an extensive record of relevant experiences

  • Shadow an OT – gain knowledge of the OT field and confirm if this is your passion; this may be required or strongly recommended by OT schools
  • Volunteer or paid OT experience – working with patients under the supervision of a licensed OT

Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE)

  • The GRE may be required for some OT schools. It is about four hours long and costs $205.
  • Students who are on the traditional path of going to OT school directly following graduation from UT should be prepared to take the GRE in the late spring/early summer of their junior year.
  • Take the GRE before applying to OT schools.

Occupational Therapy school applications

  • Students can start to apply to OT school a full year before they intend to start (summer of junior year through fall of senior year). 
  • Applications open in July. 
    • Applicants are encouraged to apply early!
  • Take a look now at what is expected of the application: OTCAS application    

Occupational therapy school information and beyond

  • Students can choose between a master’s degree or doctoral degree
    • Both degree levels prepare graduates to be entry-level practitioners  
    • Most OTs have master’s degrees
  • A traditional master's in occupational therapy program is about two to three years long and includes classroom instruction and fieldwork.  


Pre-professional advising has a dedicated program specialist to help students prepare for professional school in the health sciences. The advisor would like to see all pre-health students early on to ensure they are on the path to success. Please email Jackie Mikulski to schedule an appointment.  

Additional Resources

Explore Health Careers – Occupational Therapy
American Occupational Therapy Association

Paige Dunham

"The faculty to student ratio and diverse population of students at UT created a supportive learning environment. The emphasis on the importance and interrelatedness of liberal arts, as well as health sciences, provided me the tools necessary to succeed as a student and post-graduate learner."

— Paige Dunham '18, B.S. in Allied Health with a Concentration in Occupational Therapy Sciences; Temple University MOT '20