Online Occupational Therapy Programs

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A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy is your gateway to a career in this lucrative industry. Occupational therapists’ work is diverse. They adapt environments, activities, or equipment to enhance participation in everyday tasks, assisting people of all ages and abilities to do what they need and want to do at home, work, school, and in the community. Graduates are prepared as generalists, enabling them to work in a variety of practice settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and regional schools. Online Occupational Therapy Programs prepares graduates to work with people of varying diagnoses including people living with spinal cord injuries, cancer, stroke, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and many other conditions and illnesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational therapy has been identified as a high job growth area in the next 10 years. In this article, we look into the details of occupational therapy from a bachelor’s degree point of view and look at different aspects of obtaining occupational therapy courses.


Best Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

We at FBD (Find Best Degrees) have vetted several occupational therapy schools and have come up with a list of the best online occupational therapy programs. Our vetting process involves a host of criteria including graduation rate, tuition fee, student placements, location of the college, etc. Below is the list of our top picks for the best occupational therapy schools: *

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public land-grant research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Twin Cities campus comprises locations in Minneapolis and Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, approximately 3 miles apart. The tuition and graduation rate are as below:
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
University of Minnesota 100 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 $17,580 84%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to expect from an Online Bachelor’s Degree
in Occupational Therapy?

In the OT program, students learn to address the physical, psychological, and social needs of clients, concentrating on what’s important to them to rebuild their health and well-being, independence, and self-esteem. Occupational therapy courses emphasize hands-on learning opportunities with a focus on community-based services. Students intern in community programs, actively applying their knowledge and skills as part of their academic coursework. Students also have opportunities to work closely with faculty to engage in research and participate in program development. Challenging and rewarding fieldwork experiences prepare students for work in an array of settings. 

Types of Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

An undergraduate degree in occupational therapy is generally a bachelor’s in science degree majoring in OT or allied health and human sciences subjects. Typically, a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy is a four-year program that produces client-centered health professionals who are concerned with promoting health and well-being, with the primary goal of engaging individuals and population in occupation to facilitate participation in culturally meaningful activities and tasks and address physical, developmental, social, or emotional problems.  The program culminates in a one-year internship program that allows students to work hand in hand with clients of all ages, to increase the latter’s independence, enhance development, and/or prevent disability through their involvement in activities that are therapeutically designed to promote occupational performance. 

Areas of Specialization for Online Bachelor’s
Degree in Occupational Therapy

Students taking up a career in occupational therapy generally take up healthcare sciences specialization in their undergrad studies. Here we discuss such specializations which lead you to career concentration in OT.

Area of Specialization Description Institutions available Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Behavior & HealthBehavioral health describes the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. This would include how behaviors like eating habits, drinking or exercising impact physical or mental health.Boston UniversityMedical settings, public health agencies, schools, community centers and agencies, health education, social and human service organizations, health care organizations, etc.
Recreational Therapy (RT)Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being.College of Health –UtahRecreational Therapists, Rehabilitation Counselors, Occupational Therapists, etc.
PhysiologyPhysiology is the science of life. It is the branch of biology that aims to understand the mechanisms of living things, from the basis of cell function at the ionic and molecular level to the integrated behavior of the whole body and the influence of the external environment. Research in physiology helps us to understand how the body works in health and how it responds and adapts to the challenges of everyday life; it also helps us to determine what goes wrong in disease, facilitating the development of new treatments and guidelines for maintaining human and animal health. The emphasis on integrating molecular, cellular, systems, and whole-body function is what distinguishes physiology from the other life sciences.Eastern Kentucky UniversityExercise Physiologists, Chiropractors, Occupational Therapists, etc.
SociologySociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. Sociology’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole societies. Unifying the study of these diverse subjects is sociology’s purpose of understanding how human action and consciousness both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social structures.University of MinnesotaSociologists, Social Workers, Anthropologists, Archeologists, etc.
Gross AnatomyAnatomy, a field in the biological sciences concerned with the identification and description of the body structures of living things. Gross anatomy involves the study of major body structures by dissection and observation and in its narrowest sense is concerned only with the human body. “Gross anatomy” customarily refers to the study of those body structures large enough to be examined without the help of magnifying devices.University of New HampshireBiological Technicians, Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists, Microbiologists, etc.
BiologyAspects of biological science range from the study of molecular mechanisms in cells to the classification and behavior of organisms, how species evolve, and interaction between ecosystems. Biology often overlaps with other sciences; for example, biochemistry and toxicology with biology, chemistry, and medicine; biophysics with biology and physics; stratigraphy with biology and geography; astrobiology with biology and astronomy.Howard UniversityMarine Sciences, cell, and molecular biology, multiscale biology, occupational therapy, etc.

Why should I do an Online Bachelor’s Degree
in Occupational Therapy?

A bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy opens a lot of avenues, including a good career and financial stability. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a degree in OT will fetch an annual salary of around $86,280 with a 17% growth between 2020-30 which is much faster than the national average. This matric alone makes OT a very lucrative vocational field and occupational therapy worth it.

How to get into an Online Occupational
Therapy Degree?

As for any bachelor’s degree, the requirements for an online bachelor’s degree are typical:

  • A high school graduate degree. 
  • Some colleges would need an SAT (scholastic aptitude test) or GED (general education development score) score. Or if someone is transferring in-between schools, then it should be in good academic standing. Which could be a minimum GPA of 2.0 or above.
  • Submit the online application with a cover letter and at least 3 letters of reference. The no. of letters of course depends on the university. Some schools would require you to do a criminal background check if you are enrolling in any health sciences programs.

The above is the typical occupational therapy requirement, for a bachelor’s degree. Students must submit proof that they have met all the above criteria to be accepted at a college or university.

How long is an Online Occupational
Therapy Degree?

An obvious question for any student is how many years is occupational therapy graduate school? Well, like any bachelor’s degree program, an online occupational therapy degree program takes 4 years and around 65 total credits for a major. A bachelor’s program can be broken down into required courses, supportive courses, and elective courses. Students must pick a few elective courses and the rest of them would be core subjects. There might be some supportive coursework required to be completed for completion of the program. Some students might have to go through some bridge courses to get into the bachelor’s programs, which would stretch the degree to 5 years.

But professionals who have full-time jobs could get into some accredited accelerated programs where students can get some credits for their work experience and can complete the program at a faster pace. There are also some asynchronous programs wherein working professionals can plan and complete their programs in their own space. So, there are a host of options to pick up from and one should choose according to the profile of the student.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s Degree
in Occupational Therapy

Accreditation is a vetting process wherein an institution has been evaluated by an independent accrediting body and found to meet the high standards of a rigorous education. Thus, accreditation in essence is enforcement of quality. Also, to practice occupational therapy, one must get a license from state bodies. And only those with accredited degrees would get the opportunity to sit for those license examinations. Hence, getting an accredited online occupational therapy program is a must to practice the craft of OT. Read more about Accreditation.

Hence, one must ensure that their degrees are recognized by the industry and fraternity they are getting into, and more importantly, to be eligible for US federal student aid students must ensure that the institution one is enrolling in is accredited by one of the federally recognized accreditation bodies.

Online Occupational Therapy
Bridge Programs

Occupational Therapy Assistants looking to become Occupational therapists will have likely taken some of the courses necessary to fulfill the remaining OT requirements. These are called occupational therapy bridge programs. Oftentimes, the four-year bachelor’s program can be expedited by applying past credits and fieldwork.

These bridge programs are created for working adults who cannot afford to return to school full time. These programs offer a way for working OTAs to obtain an OT degree through:

  • distance learning,
  • on-site classes,
  • and weekend classes.

Aspects of OTA to OT bridge programs differ, so it is important to review what each program includes, and how a student’s prior experience fits into any given program. Using your prior education and work experience is key to keeping your time and financial investments as low as possible. Most OTA to OT bridge programs can be completed in two to three years and are a blend of in-classroom, online, and fieldwork learning.

Accelerated Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

Accelerated occupational therapy programs online or fast track occupational therapy programs are generally combined programs where students enroll for an integrated program and instead of taking 6 years for a master’s, an integrated accelerated program would fetch students a master’s degree in say 5 years. Saving a few semesters in the bargain. That is the reason these programs are called accelerated programs. The requirements for the program might be a bit more stringent than the normal bachelor’s because the program might be a bit more demanding than a regular bachelor’s. The Occupational Therapy Accelerated program from the University of Florida is one such program students might want to explore further.

Free Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

It is important to continue educating oneself post a bachelor’s in OT. Below we discuss a few free online Occupational Therapy courses:

Occupational Therapy – working with displaced persons

Designed for occupational therapist practitioners and students, the program may also benefit other professionals working with refugees and displaced persons. This course gives an insight into the understanding of people living in transition and crisis and how to help them at different points to move forward in their lives. Also, Identify and use new approaches to socio-political occupational therapy. This also allows students to professionally realign our work to meet the challenges of rapidly increasing displacement of people due to climate, war, persecution, violence, and poverty.

Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists

Designed for occupational therapists, assistants, and students, the program may also benefit climate change adaptation professionals, development planners, project implementers, and policymakers. This course will demonstrate an understanding of the disaster management cycle and the equitable and sustainable patterns of human activity that can potentially reduce disaster risk and vulnerability. It also recognizes the role of the occupational therapist in the emergency response and long-term recovery of individuals, communities, and populations post-disaster. This course enables Identify the strategic planning and coordinated efforts of one’s local community, state, and country for the development of risk-reduction strategies and emergency planning.

Quality Evolution Strategy Tool

The QUEST online course is designed for occupational therapists and occupational therapy students. The course also may be of interest to researchers, educators, administrators, funders, and policymakers. The online course uses video presentations, reading, and practical exercises to guide participants to use QUEST to evaluate the services they provide. QUEST can be used in all occupational therapy settings, including clinical practice, research, and education.

How to Pay for Online Occupational
Therapy Programs?

Keeping in mind the cost of education these days and the amount of debt that each student carries it is of prime importance how you choose to fund your master’s in occupational therapy online program. The smartest way to fund education is a scholarship. For further reference, students can refer to this link here for scholarships.

It might happen that someone does not qualify for a scholarship, for such candidates if they are working professionals, they can check with their employers to reimburse the tuition fee. The other way of funding your master’s in occupational therapy is to apply for a student loan. Students can also check if they are eligible for federal student aid. Here is a link to the application for FAFSA Application.

FAQs about Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

How to get into the profession of Occupational therapy or how to study the vocation of occupational therapy?

To get into the profession of occupational therapy, one must get a bachelor’s degree in any healthcare sciences with OT concentration and then get a state license to practice the vocation of OT. One can become an occupational therapy assistant or an occupational therapist, depending upon the degree attained.

How long is occupational therapy school?

What is the difference between an OT assistant and an OT?

What does an occupational therapist do?

What makes a good occupational therapist?

What are recent trends in OT?

What is the future of occupational therapy?

Is occupational therapy a good career?

Is occupational therapy on the rise?

Can you get an occupational therapy degree online?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after Online
Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy

With a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, one might get into many roles in the healthcare vocation. This could vary from an occupational therapist role at an entry-level to a wellness director role at the top of the hierarchy. There would be other intermediary roles in between. Below is a list of roles and salaries with their responsibilities highlighted for professionals with an occupational Therapy degree:

OccupationJob DescriptionMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Recreational TherapistsRecreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. These therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.$47,71010%
Rehabilitation CounselorsRehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities live independently. They work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on employment or independent living. Rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities at various stages in their lives. Some work with students, to develop strategies to live with their disability and transition from school to work. Others help veterans cope with the mental or physical effects of their military service. Still, others help elderly people adapt to disabilities developed later in life from illness or injury. Some may provide expert testimony or assessments during personal injury or workers’ compensation cases.$37,53010%
Marriage and Family TherapistsMarriage and family therapists help people manage problems with their family and other relationships. Marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. They bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.$51,34016%
School and Career Counselors and AdvisorsSchool counselors help students develop academic and social skills and plans for after graduation. Career counselors and advisors help students and other clients develop skills, explore an occupation, or choose an educational program that will lead to a career. High school counselors advise students in making academic and career plans. Many help students overcome personal issues that interfere with their academic development. They help students choose classes and plan for their lives after graduation. Counselors provide information about choosing and applying for colleges, training programs, financial aid, internships, and apprenticeships. They may present career lessons to help students learn how to search and apply for jobs.$58,12011%
Training and Development SpecialistsTraining and development specialists help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge. Training and development specialists help create, administer, and deliver training programs for businesses and organizations. To do this, they must first assess the needs of an organization and then develop custom training programs that take place in classrooms or training facilities. Training programs are increasingly delivered through computers, tablets, or other hand-held devices.$62,70011%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health CounselorsSubstance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, mental health issues, or other mental or behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help clients recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors. Substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors, also called addiction counselors, work with clients individually and in group sessions. Many incorporate the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), to guide their practice. They teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover.$47,66023%

Certifications and Licensing for Online Bachelor’s
Degree in Occupational Therapy

The typical process of becoming become an Occupational Therapist:

  • You must earn a Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 6 months of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You must pass the relevant state Jurisprudence Examination. 
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 30 Continuing Education hours during the licensure period.

Below are a few states licensing examination listing to post an operational Therapy degree:

OccupationJob Description
Texas State license to practice OTThe Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE) is a State of Texas agency charged with protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Texas by supporting the Board of PT Examiners and the Board of OT Examiners as they license and regulate qualified practitioners of physical therapy and occupational therapy. 
Maine State license to practice OTThe primary responsibility of the Board is to examine and license qualified applicants, promulgate rules defining qualifications and professional standards of practitioners, investigate complaints against licensees, and take appropriate disciplinary action against noncompliance with its statute and rules.
New Hampshire State license to practice OTOccupational Therapy Governing Board was established to create a pathway to license those individuals performing Occupational Therapy in the State of New Hampshire under the regulation of the Allied Health Professionals Governing Board.
Denver State license to practice OTThe Office of Occupational Therapy regulates individual occupational therapists. The Office does not regulate clinics where occupational therapy is practiced. The Division Director is authorized to take disciplinary actions against those who violate the Occupational Therapy Practice Act, Rules, and Regulations. Office activities include issuing licenses to occupational therapists, investigating complaints about occupational therapists, and enforcing disciplinary actions taken by the Division Director
Occupational Therapist RegisteredNBCOT offers an initial certification program for the entry-level Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR®) that confers the OTR credential and has established requirements for maintaining the OTR status through a certification renewal program.

Additional Resources for Online Occupational
Therapy Programs

A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy is a gateway to an industry with tremendous potential. But to further their careers and keep being relevant in this fast-paced industry, professionals can become members and hence accredit themselves with a professional organization in their chosen career field of OT. Apart from being a body that assists in developing and distributing knowledge, professional OT associations keep their members informed about the newest developments and innovations. We discuss a few such organizational bodies below:

OccupationJob Description
The Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA)The Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) is a non-profit professional association incorporated in Texas that was established for the benefit of professionals and students of occupational therapy. The mission of TOTA is to be responsive to the professional development, information needs, and educational requirements of its members; to advance and improve the practice of occupational therapy for the benefit of the consumers; and to anticipate and respond to the organizational, political, economic and social features of the health care delivery system at the local, state and national levels. TOTA is an affiliate of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Occupational Therapy Association of ColoradoOTAC is the Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado. It is a non-profit organization that strives to increase the quality of care and level of professionalism in the practice of OT in Colorado.
Occupational Therapy Association of CaliforniaThe Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) was incorporated in 1976 as the result of a merger of the southern and northern California groups. It is a not-for-profit, 501-c-6 professional society designed to be the collective voice that serves, promotes, and supports the more than 15,000 occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) throughout California. We are membership-driven — a professional association by our members and for our members. Your dues ensure the strength and sustainability of this collective voice.
New York State Occupational Therapy AssociationNew York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) is the only professional organization in New York State for occupational therapy. Its mission is to promote the profession of occupational therapy and to represent the occupational therapy practitioners who work and live in New York State. NYSOTA provides resources to Occupational Therapists, Assistants, Students, and Consumers of OT services. NYSOTA hosts education events throughout the state. The annual NYSOTA conference is usually the highlight of these events. NYSOTA strives to provide education of exceptional quality for an affordable price to its members.
The Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy(MAOT) provides a professional network for its members while developing and preserving occupational therapy as a profession. MAOT serves the interests of its members by representing the profession to the public and promoting better access to, and understanding of, occupational therapy.

MAOT has historically provided leadership and direction to move our profession forward.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.