Occupational therapists work with people of all ages to enable them to perform activities associated with work and/or daily living. By preventing injury, adapting an activity for a client with injury or disability, or restoring skills following injury, the ultimate goal is to give the client more independence and a better quality of living. Occupational therapists perform evaluations of the client, which may include the client’s home or work environment, to identify the client’s goals and challenges, and then recommend treatment and/or adaptive strategies. OTs are found in a wide variety of practice settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, school systems, home health services and workplace/industrial settings. The OT field is rapidly growing as demand steadily increases and interest in the profession expands. US News and World Report named OT as one of the 15 best careers of 2015. The average salary for OTs is ~$80,000.
The current entry-level degree is a master’s degree, typically the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree. Program length is usually 2 years. The 3-year professional doctorate degree can also be used as an entry-level degree. Following graduation from an accredited master's or doctorate program, the candidate must obtain a license from the state(s) in which he/she intends to practice. Licensure requires passing the national certifying examination for occupational therapists; individual states may impose additional requirements for licensure. Regular continuing education is usually required to maintain a valid license.
There are currently 4 fully accredited OT programs in North Carolina:
Pfeiffer University has applied to start a master's level OT program.
Methodist University has announced plans to open a doctorate-level program in 2017.
UNC Charlotte does not offer a professional-level OT program.