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Masters in Occupational Therapy Online

Occupational therapists work with injured, ill, or disabled clients to offer skills training that assists them in their lives. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, this in-demand profession will grow by 16% between 2019 and 2029, adding more than 22,700 new positions nationwide, which is why many students are exploring a master’s in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists (OT) are licensed and work across a wide range of clinical populations, including children, the elderly, and the physically and mentally disabled.

It generally takes two to three years to complete an accredited OT program. Hybrid online occupational therapy degree programs combine flexible distance learning with 24 weeks of on-site supervised fieldwork.

Read on to find out all there is to know about occupational therapy education, the different online programs available, how to enroll for a master of occupational therapy online, and additional steps needed to become an occupational therapist.

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Featured Online Programs

Best Graduate Occupational Therapy Programs

The first step when choosing a master’s in occupational therapy online involves doing a lot of research about what the best occupational therapy schools are. To shortlist the best online occupational therapy programs, it is necessary to analyze the master’s degree program confirms and assess several factors like accreditation, tuition fees, graduation rates, quality of the program, etc. Here is a list OMC has drawn up, containing the masters in occupational therapy online school rankings:

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
Nebraska Methodist College
720 North 87th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68114
Belmont University
1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37212
Elmhurst University
190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
San Jose State University
One Washington Square, San Jose, California 95192
Concordia University, Wisconsin
12800 N Lake Shore Dr, Mequon, Wisconsin 53097
University of St. Augustine
700 Windy Point Drive, San Marcos, California 92069
Trinity Washington University
125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, District of Columbia 20017
$14,310 38%
University of Indianapolis
1400 E Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana 46227
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Rd, Utica, New York 13502
$21,480 54%
Barry University
1300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33161

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Occupational Therapy Online Programs

A master’s degree program is designed to cater to different forms of instruction, and varying academic interests of students, sometimes paving the path for doctoral programs as well (doctor of occupational therapy). As with most programs in occupational therapy, the online format delivers coursework online, but in an alternative called the hybrid program, students complete a combination of self-paced courses online, with on-campus clinics and occupational therapy internships.

Understanding the master’s in occupational therapy – what online degree options are available, how to choose a program, how to finance higher education, and how to attain national licenses, is important for occupational therapy students. With more than 200 accredited master’s in physical therapy programs online, there are key factors to explore in creating a list of universities that best match a student’s educational and professional interests. Occupational therapy programs list much of the information on their university websites including:


Program accreditations are a vital component when searching for an occupational therapy program and a prospective online master’s degree must be accredited to qualify graduates to take the NBCOT certification examination. Voluntary accreditations ensure program evaluation, which confirm that the program meets all national curriculum requirements set by the profession. Each school or occupational therapy department cites its accreditation on its website. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accredits more than 200 occupational therapy master’s programs throughout the country. ACOTE is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.The occupational therapy degree must be approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), failing which students will not be eligible to take the national certification exam, conducted by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). For more details, read the occupational therapy master’s degree accreditation requirements; also find out more about accreditation, on the Accreditation Guide.

Time to Completion

Many online master’s programs offer different formats, such as a hybrid program, that blends online learning with in-person lessons. Therefore, how long one would take to complete their occupational therapy education largely depends on factors such as total credits, number of semesters, the number and length of internships, the structure of the program, and the pace of study. All things considered, the range varies from between 2 to 3 years or more.

Tuition and Financial Aid

There can be a dramatic range in tuition depending on the university (public vs private) and the school’s prestige. Prospective students can view the tuition of an occupational therapy master’s degree at each school’s website or, better yet, telephone the university admissions office or the occupational therapy department. At the same time, one can round up information about institutional Grants and Scholarships that can support schooling costs for OT programs. Other forms of financial aid may usually be available as well, such as – Graduate Assistantships, Student Loans, FAFSA, etc.

For information about general financial aid for online master’s students, read the Best Financial Guide.


A masters in occupational therapy online has a wide range of topics that are covered through online coursework. These online courses are tailored to teach students the fundamentals of occupational therapy, along with research methods, while specializations can narrow down the area of study to specific topics such as Human Anatomy, and Health Sciences.

Class Format

There are several formats of the occupational therapy degree online. Students must evaluate and compare programs between a completely online format, or a hybrid format. There may be considerable differences in the percentage of studies offered entirely online and the number of on-campus visits required for the degree.

Class Scheduling

An online master of occupational therapy may be entirely self-paced through asynchronous sessions at a chosen time and location. Alternatively, one could combine such sessions with synchronous online classes that meet at specific times for lectures and faculty presentations.

Career Assistance

Almost all schools that offer the online master degree program in occupational therapy offer career counseling and guidance to graduates. Some go a step further and provide resume assistance and job placements for roles such as an occupational therapist, or other related roles.

Licensure Exam/ Employment Outcomes

A student who has graduated with a master’s in occupational therapy, and who wants to become an occupational therapist should check whether or not taking the NBCOT certification exam is necessary, particularly for licensure in their state of work. In most cases, this certification, which leads to licensure, will be required, and can ultimately translate to secure and well-paying employment.

Master’s in Occupational Therapy Online No GRE

To get admitted into an online master in occupational therapy program, most universities require a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, some universities do not have a GRE requirement or will waive the GRE requirement for their online programs, if the applicant has a related bachelor’s degree, or professional experience, or any master’s degree. Here are some universities that offer masters in occupational therapy program No GRE:

FAQs about Master’s in Occupational Therapy Online

Here are some frequently asked questions about a degree in occupational therapy:

Q: How do I apply to a university offering an online master’s degree in occupational therapy?
A: Each college or university has its own set of application requirements for an online master of occupational therapy. Fees can run from $50 to $150. Most schools require applications via the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). OTCAS fees are $125 for a student’s first program of choice and $45 for each school thereafter.
Q: What are the entrance requirements?
A: While the particulars may vary, most online master occupational therapy programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete pre-requisite courses in physical sciences, math, medical terminology, and statistics. Prospective students of online OT master’s programs are also generally required to submit their bachelor’s degree transcripts, a resume, graduate test scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The OTCAS application rounds up a student’s application materials and sends them to their target schools.
Q: What are the requirements for earning a degree and how long will it take to graduate?
A: All schools establish their own curriculum for an occupational therapy online program, along the lines of the ACOTE accreditation requirements. However, they may meet or exceed the requirements and consequently run from 50 to 93 total credits, including fieldwork and internships. A hybrid online/campus occupational therapy degree may take from two to three years to complete, whereas a purely online, self-paced course of study may take more time if the student is working on a part-time basis.
Q: What will I study in a master’s in occupational therapy?
A: The occupational therapy program focuses on didactic training in the core curriculum along with hands-on clinics and internships. Students will find classes in occupational therapy theory, clinical kinesiology, human anatomy, occupational therapy practice, advanced therapeutic techniques, and treatment for clients across the lifespan from childhood to old age.
Q: How much will my occupational therapy degree cost?
A: Cost, along with accreditation, is one of the key factors for choosing an occupational therapy degree. Our survey found that at the low end, OT programs at a public university can cost as little as $18,000. Prestigious private schools, on the other hand, can charge tuition as high as $80,000. Be sure to investigate each program of interest to learn about any additional costs, such as lab fees, and financial aid.
Q: How much can I expect to earn after my occupational therapy education?
A: When compared to a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in occupational therapy will lead to a wider selection of jobs, and better pay. Overall, the outlook for an occupational therapy profession seems good, with the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the median annual salary of an occupational therapist is $86,280, and jobs set to grow 16% between 201-9 & 2029. The top salaries are offered at nursing care facilities, followed in turn by home healthcare services, professional offices, hospitals, and public schools.
Q: Where should I look for a job?
A: Occupational therapy degree program students should build a powerful network of contacts from their fieldwork, as well as lifelong relationships with peers and professors.
Whether for an entry-level occupational therapist or licensed occupational therapists, becoming part of associations and independent organizations will always prove to be fruitful. For instance, members of the American Occupational Therapy Association can use their job board to find openings in their area. In addition, job sites such as list more than 4,500 new occupational therapist jobs throughout the U.S.
Q: Can occupational therapists earn additional certifications?
A: Yes. At the time of or after finishing with their occupational therapy education, if an individual has accrued 2,000 hours as an OTR and 600 hours in their specialty, they can gain certifications in gerontology, pediatrics, low vision, driving and community mobility, mental health, school systems, environmental modification, and feeding, eating, and swallowing. Most such certifications are granted by an accreditation council that also accredits online occupational therapy programs.
Q: What are similar occupations?
A: The Department of Labor cites several related entry-level and advanced professions for occupational therapists that require a graduate degree. They include nurse anesthetists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists, among others.

How to Pay for Master’s in Occupational Therapy Online

The pursuit of occupational therapy online master’s programs can be an expensive proposition. Fortunately, occupational therapy students have the option of seeking loans, grants, and fellowships to help them with funding their studies. The first, all-important step in securing financial aid is to register with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here is a roundup of some financial aid resources for a master’s in occupational therapy:

online masters degree in occupational therapy

Federal Financial Aid

Master of occupational therapy grad students can apply for a range of federal grants and loans to finance their studies. These include Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, Direct Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS Loans. Occupational therapy master’s students can also search for federal government scholarships.

University Scholarships, Grants, and Work-Study

Prospective occupational therapy master’s students should research as many occupational therapy programs as possible and create a list of the best schools that suit their needs while including all financial options available at those schools. Each university or degree in occupational therapy may have its own financial aid programs, based on academic performance or financial need.

Occupational Therapy Professional Licensing and Certifications

In most cases, occupational therapy degrees are only the first step to a career in occupational therapy. A graduate of an online occupational therapy master’s program must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam to become a licensed occupational therapist, and use the professional title of “Occupational Therapist, Registered” (OTR). Several other professional organizations, such as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), which is also an accreditation council, offer certifications and licensure to work in a clinical setting or health professions, or occupational development.

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