It typically takes six years to become an occupational therapist, although requirements for an occupational therapist degree vary by state and institution. This time includes an undergraduate degree plus a master's degree in occupational therapy.
Occupational therapy is a master's degree (MOT) in most institutions, and various types of undergraduate degrees qualify students to apply for the program. Some universities allow any undergraduate degree, while others specify subjects like biology. Master's degree programs have prerequisites, so it is best to plan accordingly while taking classes in the first four years of a bachelor's degree program. Some universities, including Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., offer a program that allows students to earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree within five years. After obtaining the necessary degrees, students must pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam.