Hillary Mayes, Pre-Health Advisor
Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Occupational therapist plan and direct educational, vocational and social programs designed to help people with disabilities become self-sufficient. The treatment program consists of assisting individuals with work-related movements such as adapting their equipment or strengthening muscles and assisting in developing recreational skills.
Occupational therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as specialized hospitals, general hospitals, rehabilitation centers, community and governmental agencies, public schools, nursing homes, research centers and the armed forces. Average salaries for full-time occupational therapists start at $32,000 per year and could increase into the $60,000 range with experience.
To work as an occupational therapist, one must hold a post-baccalaureate degree (either a master's or doctoral degree) and be certified as an occupational therapist. Certification involves taking the Occupational Therapist Registered OTR® examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®).
An occupational therapist's education includes general college requirements, such as writing, communication, and mathematics; basic knowledge in the natural, physical, and social sciences; and professional education coursework consisting of health sciences, clinical sciences and direct observation of the practice of occupational therapy.
Occupational therapy programs are highly competitive and have limited seats available in each entering class. Students wishing to pursue degrees in this area should have strong undergraduate GPAs, a solid background in the physical and nature sciences, and have several hours of practical and/or shadowing experience. Students can begin their preparation for these programs while in high school by completing four units of English; three units of mathematics, including geometry and algebra I and II; two units of foreign language; two units of natural science; two units of social sciences and one unit of speech.
There are limited occupational therapy programs available in the state of Missouri. Missouri State University does not offer a program in occupational therapy. However, students can complete prerequisite coursework that will allow them to apply to a program elsewhere. The University of Missouri-Columbia and Saint Louis University each offer students the option to complete a five-year, joint bachelor/masters degree in the field. Each institution allows students to transfer courses completed at Missouri State to meet application requirements. Saint Louis University also offers an entry level master's degree option for students who wish to matriculate at the post-baccalaureate level. Rockhurst College in Kansas city offers an entry level master's degree program option while Washington University in St. Louis offers both master and doctoral level degree programs.
For a complete listing of accredited master and doctoral level programs, consult the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. website at www.aota.org.
Each OT program has a very specific list of prerequisites; therefore, students should contact the school at which they intend to apply for special course requirements. The following list of suggested courses are common requirements. Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course requirements.
Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.
The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.
|First Semester Courses||Hours|
|ENG 110 Writing I||3|
|MTH 135 College Algebra||3|
|BMS 110 or BIO 121|
|CHM 160 or CHM 105|
|GEP 101 First-Year Foundations||2|
|Elective (Advisor Approval)|
|First Semester Courses||Hours|
|SOC 150 Introduction to Society||3|
|BMS 308 Human Physiology||4|
|CFD 155 or PSY 331|
|PHY 123 Introduction to Physics I||4|
|PHI 115 Ethics and Contemporary Issues||3|