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Master of Occupational Therapy


Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. It is often said that OT gives people "skills for the job of living". Everyone has a "job" to do - learning, growing, playing, working, managing our homes, or many other things. Occupational therapists (OTs) perform assessments of the individual, their home or work, provide treatment interventions, make adaptive equipment recommendations and work with caregivers in order to help someone with an injury or illness live with as much independence as possible.
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Where do OTs work?
OTs work in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, out-patient facilities, home health agencies, mental health agencies, assisted living facilities, day care facilities for children or older adults, and private practices just to name a few!
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Who do OTs work with?
OTs work with people of all ages, from newborns to older adults. Those people may have a physical or mental health illness, injury, or debilitation that is new, ongoing, or even occurred at birth. OTs often work with a team of other professionals to help people live as meaningful and independent lives as possible. Some other professionals may include Physical Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, and Social Workers.
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What is the timetable and process for applying to the OT program?
The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program at St. Ambrose University is called a "2 plus 3" program. That means a student could take two years of general education and prerequisite coursework and enter the MOT program as a junior in college at the earliest. Some students are seniors or have already earned a bachelor's degree when they begin. All students will have completed a bachelor's degree before beginning the last year of coursework and fieldwork in the MOT program. To gain admittance to the program, a student must complete an online application through , take the pre-requisite courses and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in those courses, obtain 3 letters of reference, provide documentation of 50 hours of observation with an occupational therapist in at least two different treatment settings, and complete an on-campus interview. Admission is competitive, meaning that we receive more applications than spots available in our program.
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What are the prerequisite courses I need before I can begin the program?
Students must complete Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 202), Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 204), Medical Terminology (HS 250) or competency, Ethics (PHIL 207), 6 credits of Social Sciences including Life-span Developmental Psychology (PSYC 305), and Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences (STAT 213). The MOT faculty and staff are happy to meet with you as you register and prepare for each semester to ensure that you are taking the necessary coursework and are ready to begin the program.
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What are the tuition costs and other fees associated with the program?
Students in the MOT program will be included under the SAU One Price Tuition Plan. This tuition plan is higher than the tuition rate for other SAU students but eliminates all course fees and includes some other costs incurred by OT students. The one price plan also ensures that the tuition costs remain at one rate throughout the normal course of graduate study making financial planning easier and giving OT students the chance to take elective courses at no additional cost. This tuition plan does not include textbooks, certain Fieldwork expenses or room and board. Contact the MOT Program for the current one-price tuition rate and details.
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Are there any scholarships or graduate assistantships available?
OT students who are graduate students in the second year of the program are eligible to be one of three graduate assistants in the OT program. Additionally, many other departments on campus have graduate assistant positions. Scholarships are available through many community agencies and philanthropic groups.
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What is the curriculum like?
The MOT program curriculum is organized along the lifespan. This means students enter the program and learn about the history and roots of the OT profession and then begin to learn about how OTs work with adults, older adults and then children. Each student will complete a research project over time in a series of research courses. Hands on experience is critical to learning and the OT student has many Level I Fieldwork experiences to see OTs in action, as well as a lot of lab time and service learning experiences built into coursework. The academic portion of the program must be completed within 60 months from first beginning coursework in the MOT program.
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Can I customize any courses to form an area of interest?
Students will take at least two special topics or independent study courses that allow them to learn about a specific area of interest or take a generalist approach and broaden the depth of knowledge the student has. The MOT program has an Assistive Technology Lab that is a non-profit resource enter that offers free assistive technology services to health-care providers, students, teachers, and individuals within the community.
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Are there internships for OT?
Level One Fieldwork experiences occur in four different semesters while the student completes coursework. Level Two Fieldwork is completed following the coursework and during the final semester of the third year of the program typically. This is 24 weeks of full-time field experience. Students are responsible for their own transportation, travel and housing costs and any other expenses for these experiences. Tuition is also paid while completing Level Two Fieldwork as part of the third year one-price plan tuition expense. All Level Two Fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of finishing the academic coursework.
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What do I need to do after graduation to be able to work as an OT?
Following graduation, students sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Initially passing this exam is required to practice as an OT in any state. Most states also require a license to practice and your passing your exam ensures you are eligible for a license. The NBCOT exam typically serves as the licensing exam but students will need to apply separately for licensure. Please note that students will be asked to answer questions related to felony convictions. A previous felony conviction may affect a students ability to sit for the NBCOT certification exam or attain state licensure.

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What is the job placement rate like?
The demand for occupational therapy services is very strong and employment of OTs is expected to increase by 33 percent between 2010-2020 according to the Department of Labor.

Recent surveys of practitioners reveal that in May 2011, the median annual income for a practicing OT was $74,970. The lowest 10 percent earned about $49,980, and the highest 10 percent earned about $104,350. Reports from 2011 show that metropolitan areas, such as Las Vegas, Elizabethtown, Ky., Coeur d'Alene, Id., Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex., and Stockton, Calif., had the highest salaries ranging from $93,050 to $98,920 mean annual income. In 2007 the majority of OTs were employed in the health practioner offices and hospitals, with others working in nursing facilities, schools, and home health facilities.
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