Which are the most affordable online master’s in occupational therapy degree programs in the US? The top ranked colleges have a high NBCOT pass rate.
Consider becoming an occupational therapist if you want an exciting and rewarding career. Occupational therapy is one of the best careers for people wanting job stability and growth.
Occupational therapists develop personal relationships with their patients and instruct them on useful, practical ways to live independently.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the occupational therapy field to grow by about 14% from 2021 to 2031. This job growth data means that the field of occupational therapy has a significant, faster-than-average increase in employment.
The BLS estimated that there would be 10,100 new occupational therapy job openings nationwide each year, which is why many students are interested in pursuing an occupational therapy education.
Bottom Line: Occupational therapy is a growing and in-demand field that can provide stability and opportunities for career advancement for students with a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
An online master’s degree in occupational therapy is the entry point for becoming an occupational therapist. However, traditional brick-and-mortar degrees are expensive, and some students, typically working adults, lack the financial resources to pay for them.
The cost of higher education is becoming more and more expensive. The average cost of a master’s degree program is $62,650, according to the Education Data Initiative. This can be prohibitive to many students.
To help students with limited financial resources pursue their career aspirations, we developed a list of the most affordable master of occupational therapy online programs based on the following criteria:
Key Point: The schools in this ranking offer hybrid/online occupational therapy graduate programs. These types of programs allow students to complete a portion of their coursework online and participate in on-campus courses on the weekends.
A hybrid program in occupational therapy is a great option for busy occupational therapy students in maintaining their current employment while pursuing their educational objectives.
Tuition + fees
Average Graduate Tuition per Year: $17,820
The Barry University Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is known for providing students with low tuition fees and several financial aid opportunities. One of the program’s most sought-after sources of financial assistance is the HRSA Scholarship, which is given to deserving students to reduce their educational tuition costs. Nevertheless, the competitive, cost-effective tuition at Barry guarantees all the benefits of private school education.
Entry-level students are accepted into the program but must complete 74-75 credits instead of 35-36 credit hours that people with a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy must take. This is to ensure that all students have the knowledge base and opportunity to be successful.
Occupational therapy coursework is divided into two-course sequences: Clinical Foundation Courses and Advanced Professional Skills Courses. Entry-level students will complete Level I and Level II fieldwork. All Level II fieldwork must be satisfactorily completed within 24 months.
Most of the faculty of Barry’s occupational therapy program are working professionals; they hold separate jobs on weekdays and teach on weekends. They are distinctive due to their commitment to adult learners’ alternative education.
Barry University graduates had an 88% NBCOT pass rate in 2022.
Tuition + fees
Trinity Washington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Average Graduate Tuition per Semester: $14,310
The Master of Occupational Therapy at Trinity Washington University is a mix of on-campus and online learning that lasts up to seven semesters. Students attend eight weekends worth of classes each semester with courses that develop their active learning, hard and soft skills, and case-based problem-solving skills.
While the basic and advanced curriculum is delivered online through lectures, directed readings, and conversations, students must complete observation and supervised occupational therapy practice as part of their concurrent clinical assignments in various clinical practice settings.
The time-to-degree for the master of occupational therapy at TWU is 2.5 years, five semesters plus practical learning experience. Clinical assignments include two placements of full-time fieldwork lasting 12 weeks each.
TWU partners with several settings to provide top-notch practical learning experiences for their graduate students. Some of the clinical/internship partners include Sibley Hospital (Johns Hopkins), Community of Hope, PACE Center, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Community of Hope.
Featured courses of the occupational therapy program:
This hybrid occupational therapy degree program is one of the most competitive occupational therapy degrees on our list. Students should maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA on all coursework to graduate.
Occupational therapy students with an F will be immediately dismissed and can reapply after 12 months from dismissal. However, readmission to the program is not assured by reapplying.
Trinity Washington University occupational therapy program graduates had a 90% NBCOT pass rate in 2022.
Tuition + fees
Average Graduate Tuition per Semester: $10,340
New England Institute of Technology’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is one of the cheapest degrees in occupational therapy on our list. The program specializes in students with a bachelor’s degree in a related field and ROTA certification.
This master’s of occupational therapy program (MOT) is completed in a hybrid learning format, allowing aspiring registered occupational therapists to pursue their dreams of professionally advancing to leadership roles without sacrificing their current responsibilities.
Students can complete all the required occupational therapy coursework in 2.5 years. Students will develop the skills necessary to play a key role in rehabilitation teams that help individuals of all ages and abilities recover from ailments and achieve independence and self-sufficiency.
The coursework will equip graduates to assess, create, and carry out personalized treatment programs while managing occupational therapy assistants and other staff. Students must complete 113 quarter credit hours and explore various courses, such as:
Students will start their occupational therapy fieldwork during the fourth term of the program and have several opportunities to showcase what they’ve learned in lectures. There are also two full-time and twelve-week Level II Fieldwork experiences. Students will be qualified to sit for the National Certification Exam for Occupational Therapists if they have completed all degree requirements.
New England Institute of Technology graduates had an 86% NBCOT pass rate in 2022.
Tuition + fees
Average Graduate Tuition per Year: $27,125
Mount Mary University’s Online Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is a hybrid degree program best suited for students who want to graduate faster. With an average completion time of 28 months, MMU’s 67-credit MOT is one of the fastest, most accelerated online occupational therapy programs. This hybrid degree program combines online courses with fieldwork, culminating projects, and practical experience.
Students will dedicate 21 months of on-campus courses and six months of online distance learning fieldwork in various clinical settings. This degree is the best fit for students residing in Wisconsin.
Upon completing courses and fieldwork, students will spend one month completing a culminating project and gaining practical experience. Students pursuing a doctorate can easily transfer credits to the hybrid Occupational Therapy Doctorate.
Students in the master’s in occupational therapy degree program online will focus on courses that will build skills that will help to position them at the top of their field. Sample coursework includes:
In addition to low tuition costs, Mount Mary University also offers a number of financial aid opportunities to help struggling students. Tuition reductions, graduate assistantships, and federal financial support are available to graduate students. MMU’s financial assistance committee can also help OT students apply for external scholarships, such as those from private organizations.
Mount Mary University graduates had an 87% NBCOT pass rate in 2022.
Tuition + fees
Concordia University Wisconsin’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Average Graduate Tuition per Semester: $15,237
Concordia University Wisconsin offers an affordable and accessible master of occupational therapy degree program that allows students to enroll in a hybrid learning format. There are three tracks to enter the program: Accelerated, Bridge, and Post-Baccalaureate.
Course progression varies by track. But in general, students are required to complete the following graduate-level courses, among others:
The hybrid program combines online and on-campus courses, laboratory, and supervised clinic-based education. Students have several opportunities to interact with clients from all demographics. Experiences range from client evaluation and consultation in a classroom or community environment to clinical fieldwork placements.
The MOT at CUW offers faith-based instruction, encouraging students to develop a global worldview. To earn the degree, students must complete 87 credit hours of occupational therapy coursework.
The curriculum allows students to explore the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate (OTD). Students will then have the option of either staying in the Master of OT program or applying to the OTD program.
Concordia University Wisconsin graduates had a 100% NBCOT pass rate in 2022.
The median annual wage for the occupational therapy profession is $85,570, which is significantly higher than many other occupations in the United States.
Moreover, an occupational therapist makes more money on average than many other professionals in nursing and health professions. The typical pay for registered nurses is $77,600, speech-language pathologists ($79,060), dental hygienists ($77,810), radiologic technologists ($61,980).
A more experienced occupational therapist in the higher 10% earns a median of $123,840 annually.
Graduates of occupational therapy programs offer various career opportunities besides occupational therapy. The following careers accept unlicensed and licensed occupational therapists; however, some may require additional certifications.
Care managers identify the physical, psychological, and social requirements of patients. They also create care plans, organize services and resources, track patient progress, and give patients and their families information and support.
Both ergonomists and occupational therapists offer ergonomic services. Ergonomics is a common area of interest for occupational therapists specializing in workplace prevention and intervention. Ergonomists ensure that tasks, goods, and work processes are compatible with human performance.
As a health improvement practitioner, you will participate in regional initiatives that can support lifestyle and behavior change. You can also work with particular groups depending on the role and location.
In some situations, online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in occupational therapy will save you money. You do not have to pay for moving expenses, transportation, or on-campus accommodation if you enroll in an occupational therapy master’s program online.
Numerous financial programs are available for occupational therapy students, including the Ruth Peterson Memorial Financial, the Carlotta Welles Scholarship, and the AMBUCS Scholarship for Therapists.
An accredited occupational therapy program online is legit and has the same curriculum as its on-campus counterpart; therefore, employers will acknowledge your online degree.
Besides, online degree programs in occupational therapy are not 100% online. Online masters in occupational therapy programs will require you to participate in a hands-on fieldwork experience. Typically, you will engage in two 12-week fieldwork experiences.
The highest degree in a certain field is called a “terminal degree.” Because a doctoral-level degree is available, a master’s degree is not a terminal degree.
The answer depends on your goals. If you want to teach at postsecondary schools and do research, you should pursue an OTD.
If you have no plans to teach and research, then pursuing a doctorate is not highly suggested. However, because every sector has its own prerequisites, it’s crucial to carefully research what you’ll need academically before you pursue a particular field.
Physical and occupational therapists are equally important in the medical field. Physical therapy focuses on increasing a client’s capacity to move the human body, whereas occupational therapy focuses on improving a client’s ability to do activities required in daily living.
Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, and outpatient care facilities all employ licensed occupational therapists. They frequently collaborate with other speech- or physical therapists. Patients may also receive care from an occupational therapist in their homes.
Admission requirements for occupational therapy master’s programs vary. But in general, prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree and complete prerequisite courses in the physical sciences, health sciences, math, medical terminology, and statistics.
Additionally, applicants for online OT master’s programs typically need to submit transcripts from their undergraduate institutions, a resume, results from graduate entrance exams, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.