Best Online Master’s Degrees in Occupational Therapy for Students 2023

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Occupational Therapy for Students 2023

Interested in continuing your college education with a master’s degree in occupational therapy? We rank the best online master’s degree programs in occupational therapy.

Key Takeaways

  • The master’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a licensed occupational therapist.

  • Occupational therapists work with individuals managing everyday tasks with injury, illness, or disability.

  • A growing number of online schools offer fully online master’s degrees in occupational therapy.

A master’s in occupational therapy is the basic threshold for becoming an occupational therapist. Fortunately, prospective students have many excellent online occupational therapy programs to choose from.

Occupational therapy is a great career for people who like to help others. As an occupational therapist, you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with individuals recovering from injury or illness as well as individuals managing disabilities.

Your job as an occupational therapist is to help your clients develop strategies for overcoming physical challenges and managing everyday tasks. As a licensed occupational therapist, you may work in a number of settings including nursing homes, schools, and in-home health services.

Most students who earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy will sit for their licensing exam and become certified occupational therapists. However, there are numerous related career paths that you could take including nurse practitioner, physical therapist, or physician’s assistant.

Find out more with a look at our Online Program Rankings. Otherwise, read on.

  

About Online Master’s in Occupational Therapy Degree Programs

Students in an occupational therapy master’s degree program will study topics such as pediatrics, school-based early intervention, gerontology, and the connection between physical and neurological disabilities.

These skills can easily be transferred to careers in other medical and therapeutic contexts including emergency healthcare, clinical rehabilitation, and general home healthcare.

In most cases, however, the online master’s degree in occupational therapy is designed to prepare you for a career in the occupational therapy profession. In fact, a master’s degree is required in order to become a licensed occupational therapist.

This advanced degree can lead to immediate and well-paying opportunities in the field. Graduates with a master’s of occupational therapy degree are capable of earning a median salary of $85,570 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Admission Requirements for an Occupational Therapy Education

Schools that offer an online master’s in occupational therapy degree program have different admission requirements.

These are the admission requirements common to schools offering online occupational therapy programs to graduate students:

  • A completed online application
  • An accredited bachelor’s degree
  • Official college transcripts
  • A cumulative college GPA of 3.0 - 3.5
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Score
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Reference Letters
  • Professional Resume or CV

Key Point: Some programs might also require an interview process.

Curriculum and Courses

Schools offering an occupational therapy online program have different courses, although there are similarities in programs. There are typically core occupational therapy courses, individualized research projects, and practicum, laboratory, or residency requirements.

The typical courses offered in a master of occupational therapy program include:

  • Aging and Gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Integrative Service Delivery
  • Home Healthcare
  • Autism Spectrum Therapies
  • Sensory Processing
  • Virtual Therapy
  • Homelessness and Healthcare
  • Home Modifications for Disabilities
  • Geriatric Rehabilitation
  • Navigating Limb Loss
  • Pain Management Strategies

Key Point: Graduate occupational therapy programs will cover topics such as aging, pediatric development, and rehabilitation from injury.


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Careers for Online Occupational Therapy Program Degree Holders

Graduates with an online master’s degree in occupational therapy have the credentials to qualify for several careers, including:

  • Licensed Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Certified Stroke Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurse Aestheticians
  • Physicians Assistants
  • Recreational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Speech-Language Pathologists

Key Points: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for practicing occupational therapists are projected to grow by 14% from 2021 to 2031.

The picture is even brighter for those who use their graduate degree to pursue careers as nurse practitioners. Jobs for these positions are expected to grow by an incredible 40% from 2021 to 2031.

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Factors for Choosing Occupational Therapy Online Programs

If you aspire to a career in occupational therapy practice, you must be sure that you can tackle the challenges of an accredited occupational therapy program.

Choosing a top-notch online degree program will help to make your professional journey easier by allowing you to balance your pursuit of an advanced degree with any existing professional demands.

Furthermore, an online degree program in a reputable college or university should have the integrity, reputation, and track record to convince employers that their graduates deserve a place in the employer’s organization.

Here are the factors that you need to consider when choosing a school that offers the online master in occupational therapy degree:

  • National and Regional Accreditation: Accreditation is vital. It signifies that the school’s education is in compliance with the standards of the Department of Education and the accrediting body. A school must also be accredited in order to offer federal financial aid to its students.
  • Programmatic Accreditation:This is especially important in occupational therapy. In addition to institutional accreditation, be sure your degree in occupational therapy is accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association. This national board provides programmatic accreditation, which is important for occupational therapy students who plan to sit for the Occupational Therapy Certification Exam and become licensed occupational therapists.
  • Cost: Cost is an inherent element of every educational pursuit. But since cost differs from one school to another, you must ensure that the online school you choose is affordable while still providing a quality education.
  • Financing Options: Accredited colleges and universities will offer financial aid options including grants, scholarships, and loans for students who qualify. Some will also offer work-study programs.
  • Course Delivery: Online education courses are delivered in three different ways: synchronous (live online classes), asynchronous (classes that can be attended anytime), and blended or hybrid (a mix of both synchronous and asynchronous). Choose a school that offers the type that suits your schedule.
  • Academic Support: Academic support is a valuable element of distance learning. Give due credit to schools that provide students with online resources such as references and tutorials. You will need these to gain a deeper understanding of your lessons.
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The 10 Best Online Occupational Therapy Programs for Master’s Degrees

  1. #1

    Colorado State University

    Fort Collins , CO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/26

    What do we love about Colorado State University?

    Colorado State University was formed in 1870 as the flagship institution in what would become the Colorado state school system. The Fort Collins-based public research university is noted today for its excellence in biomedical sciences, engineering, environmental science, and more.

    Colorado State University was formed as a small agricultural school in the years leading up to Colorado’s 1876 statehood. Today, Colorado State serves more than 34,000 students.

    • Colorado State University is great for students who:

      Are pursuing careers in healthcare. Colorado State ranks high for spending on its various medical sciences programs.

    • Colorado State University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Are seeking a small campus experience.

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/22

    What do we love about San Jose State University?

    San Jose State University is a public research university based in San Jose, California. Founded in 1857, San Jose State is not only the first campus in the expansive California State University system, but it is also the oldest public higher education institution on the West Coast.

    San Jose State University is home to nearly 34,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

    • San Jose State University is great for students who:

      Are interested in tech careers. San Jose State is a major contributor to the Silicon Valley workforce.

    • San Jose State University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Prefer a less urban learning environment. San Jose State is located directly in downtown San Jose.

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    What do we love about Cleveland State University?

    Cleveland State University was formed in 1964, but the public research university’s roots go back a bit further. The Cleveland, Ohio institution began offering courses after absorbing a once-private school founded in 1923 called Fenn College.

    By 1969, Cleveland State had absorbed the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Today, the University System of Ohio affiliate serves more than 15,000 students, including nearly 5000 graduate students.

    • Cleveland State University is great for students who:

      Prefer a commuter college school. The vast majority of Cleveland State students live off campus.

    • Cleveland State University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Prefer a more selective college. Until only recently, Cleveland State offered open admissions.

  4. #4

    Thomas Jefferson University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/23

    What do we love about Thomas Jefferson University?

    Thomas Jefferson University was established in 1824 as a private university based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though the university merged with Philadelphia University in 2017, it is still largely recognized simply as Jefferson.

    Thomas Jefferson was formed as a medical college but, today, serves nearly 8,000 students in a wide range of disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Today, its medical school ranks as 9th oldest in the nation.

    • Thomas Jefferson is great for students who:

      Wish to study medicine. Jefferson is noted for its many teaching hospitals.

    • Thomas Jefferson University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Do not prefer an urban environment. Jefferson is based in the major metropolitan city of Philadelphia.


  5. #5

    Towson University

    Towson , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    What do we love about Towson University?

    Towson University was founded in 1866 and was the very first teachers college in the state of Maryland. Today, Towson is part of the University System of Maryland and serves more than 20,000 students across eight colleges.

    Towson University is a public research university and holds the distinction of producing the most teachers in the state of Maryland.

    • Towson University is great for students who:

      Want a balance between campus and city life. Towson is located just 8 miles from downtown Baltimore.

    • Towson University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Prefer a campus with competitive athletics programs in major NCAA sports.

  6. #6

    Barry University

    Miami , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    6K

    What do we love about Barry University?

    Barry University was formed in Miami Shores, Florida by Adrian Dominican Sisters. Founded in 1940, Barry is today one of the largest private Catholic universities in the region.

    Barry University offers more than 100 distinct degree programs to its roughly 7000 students. Barry’s student body is almost evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students.

    • Barry University is great for students who:

      Are seeking a well-rounded liberal arts education.

    • Barry University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Desire fancy amenities. Students describe dorms and meal plans as relatively no-frills.

  7. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    21K

    What do we love about Grand Valley State University?

    Grand Valley State University is a public university located in the town of Allendale, Michigan. Formed in 1860 as Grand Valley State College, GVSU serves more than 24,000 students at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

    Grand Valley State University offers more than 200 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

    • Grand Valley State University is great for students who:

      Are looking for undergraduate options. Grand Valley places a strong emphasis on its varied selection of bachelor’s degree options.

    • Grand Valley State University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Like to attend campus events on the weekends. Some students say that many of their classmates leave the residential campus for home on most weekends.

  8. #8

    Le Moyne College

    Syracuse , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What do we love about Le Moyne College?

    Le Moyne College was founded in 1946 by the Society of Jesus and became the first co-educational Jesuit college in the nation. Today, the private college serves a population of more than 3,000 students, mostly at the undergraduate level.

    Le Moyne College sits on 160 acres, stretching between Dewitt and Syracuse, New York.

    • Le Moyne College is great for students who:

      Are seeking a commuter college. Many students attend classes or complete online courses while living at home.

    • Le Moyne College might not be the best fit for students who:

      Prefer a traditional residential campus experience.

  9. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    2K

    What do we love about Trinity Washington University?

    Trinity Washington University was founded as a liberal arts college for women in 1897. Today, the coeducational institution serves 1800 students, many from directly within the local Washington, D.C. community.

    Trinity Washington University is the only university in the capital region designated as a Minority Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education for its emphasis on creating opportunities for Black and Hispanic students.

    • Trinity Washington University is great for students who:

      Wish to study at Trinity Washington’s reputable Schools of Nursing, Education, or Professional Studies.

    • Trinity Washington University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Are seeking scholarships or specialized financial assistance opportunities. Students report that these opportunities are often difficult to access.

  10. #10

    Belmont University

    Nashville , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    What do we love about Belmont University?

    Belmont University was founded in Nashville, Tennessee by local school teachers in 1890. Begun as a women’s college, today Belmont is a private coeducational Christian university with more than 8000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

    Belmont University ranks high among private universities in a number of categories, including healthcare professions, teaching, and in opportunities created for military veterans.

    • Belmont University is great for students who:

      Wish to study nursing and other healthcare professions. Belmont has worked closely with healthcare providers in the region to fill healthcare worker shortages.

    • Belmont University might not be the best fit for students who:

      Are paying for college on a fixed budget. Belmont University tuition is higher than average for private colleges in the state of Tennessee.

Check out our complete List of University Rankings.