Occupational therapy programs come as both master's and doctoral degrees, and the exact requirements depend on the institution. Becoming an occupational therapist involves getting at least a master's degree in occupational therapy and obtaining a license to practice.
Occupational therapy programs start with a bachelor's degree. Typically schools prefer students get their diploma in anthropology, biology, psychology or sociology. The bachelor's degree is the prerequisite for entering graduate school for the actual occupational therapy diploma, though some schools offer dual programs that allow students to earn both within an accelerated amount of time.
In traditional programs, earning a master's degree in occupational therapy takes an additional two years. Students learn about anatomy, assistive technology and patient care. During this time, they also participate in fieldwork, such as in schools, rehabilitation centers or nursing homes.
The prerequisites to even get into the program depend on the institution. For example, the College of Public Health and Health Professionals requires students to have four credits each of biology, human physiology and human anatomy as well as three credits each of statistics, oral communication and sociology. During the program itself, students complete 59 credits, which includes fieldwork.
Once students have earned a Master's of Occupational Therapy, they must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam to receive a registered credential. They use this to apply for a license to practice through their local state board.