Occupational therapists help people prepare to re-enter the workplace or merely regain control over their lives. They help patients develop behaviors and modify the workplace or living environment to accommodate disabilities and prevent further injury. As such, they are part psychologist, part sociologist, and part allied health specialist.
Occupational therapy programs are moving toward master’s degrees rather than the traditional baccalaureate degree. Eastern students who decide to pursue a career in occupational therapy should complete a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate major — such as psychology — and apply to a master’s program.
Alternatively, they could apply for transfer after the sophomore year into a bachelor’s degree program, but this requires careful choice of courses. Currently there are four master’s and two bachelor’s degree programs in Illinois (University of Illinois Chicago offers both degrees). Other master’s level programs include Governor’s State University, Midwestern University, and Rush University. Chicago State University offers a baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy.
Advisement checklist and suggested course sequence (PDF) Revised Fall, 2012
Tentative course offerings
For additional information about your potential career in occupational therapy, check out the American Occupational Therapy Association's website.
Necessary Undergraduate Coursework
Prerequisite coureswork for occupational therapy programs typically includes the following:
|Psychology Courses||15 Semester Hours|
|PSY 1879 - Principles of Psychology OR PSY 2000 - Introduction to Psychology|
|PSY 3515 - Child Psychology|
|PSY 3780 - Abnormal Psychology|
|PSY 2610 - Statistics|
|PSY 3521 - Child Psychology OR PSY 3525 - Adult Psychology OR PSY 3530 - Industrial Psychology|
|Biology Courses||6-8 Semester Hours|
|BIO 2001G - Human Physiology|
|BIO 2200 - Human Anatomy|
|This requirement varies, but often includes CHM 1310G and CHM 1410 (General Chemistry I and II).|
Other General Education Requirements
Also required is a series of general education courses. This includes ENG 1001G and 1002G, CMN 1310G, and six hours of electives in each of the following areas: social sciences, humanities and sciences. Since manual dexterity is important, coursework and/or experience with ceramics, crafts, weaving, woodworking, etc. is recommended. Students should check with individual programs for specific requirements.