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.
For additional information about your potential career in occupational therapy, check out the American Occupational Therapy Association's website.