Students who wish to pursue a degree in occupational therapy typically want to help people recover from injuries, provide holistic assistance to improve ability to do daily activities and have an overall desire to use therapeutic methods and evaluations to help people progress in their recoveries. The top schools for occupational therapy, ranked in 2012 by "U.S News and World Report," provide students with the necessary skills, education and hands-on experience for success in this career.
University of Southern California
Ranked as the top school for occupational therapy in 2012 by "U.S News and World Report," the University of Southern California offers three different degree options. Students can enter into the combined bachelor's to master's degree program, a one or two-year master's degree program or a doctorate degree program. Additionally, students in any of the occupational therapy degree programs at the University of Southern California can specialize in pediatrics, rehabilitation medicine and lifestyle redesign.
Boston University offers a bachelor's to master's degree program in occupational therapy, as well as a master's and a doctoral program in occupational therapy. Tied for second ranked program in 2012 by "U.S News and World Report," Boston University prepares their occupational therapy students for careers in a wide variety of health care professions. Students will conduct research, participate in experiential learning and have the guidance and support of seasoned faculty in the field of occupational therapy. Additionally, about 96 percent of all occupational therapy students pass the board exam to become a certified occupational therapist.
Washington University in St. Louis
Tied for second ranked school for occupational therapy in 2012 by "U.S News and World Report," Washington University in St. Louis offers a master's program and a doctoral program in occupational therapy. Students in either of these programs will participate in fieldwork and interdisciplinary educational opportunities. In addition, the faculty who teach in the occupational therapy programs are researchers and scholars of the field. Washington University requires students who wish to apply for any of the occupational therapy programs to complete 30 hours of observation to gain some experience before entering the program.
University of Illinois - Chicago
The University of Illinois - Chicago offers a master's and a doctoral program in occupational therapy. This school, ranked fourth in 2012 by "U.S News and World Report," has a close relationship with the University of Illinois Medical Center. This allows students to gain hands-on clinical experience with some of the top clinicians in the field. Research assistantships are available to students as well as tuition assistance. Additionally, students can apply to both of the occupational therapy programs at the same time at the University of Illinois - Chicago.
- The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.: About Occupational Therapy
- University of Southern California: Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
- Washington University in St. Louis: Program in Occupational Therapy
- Univeristy of Illinois, Chicago: Department of Occupational Therapy
Meghan Donnelly has worked in the field of education since 2005. She is the author of "Educating Parents through Orientation Programs" (2007, master's thesis). Donnelly holds a Masters degree in college administration from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.