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What is an Occupational Therapist?

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Occupational therapists (OTs) are healthcare professionals who help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services may also include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.

Occupational Therapists typically do the following:

  • Observe patients doing tasks and review medical history.
  • Use observations and history to evaluate condition and needs.
  • Create a treatment plan that includes activities and goals.
  • Demonstrate movements/activities that can help improve daily or work activities.
  • Evaluate home/workplace and make recommendations that will support health needs.

Quick Facts:

  • Master’s level degree program - currently available but being phased out in favor of doctoral programs.
  • Apply through OTCAS plus supplemental program applications
    • Not all accredited OT programs may participate in OTCAS. Make sure to check with your programs of interest to see if they participate in this service.
  • Master's typically 2 years
  • Doctoral typically 3 years
  • GRE required for most programs
  • Diverse shadowing experiences required before admission
  • Three institutions in Georgia:
    • Augusta University
    • Brenau University (campuses in Gainesville and North Atlanta-Norcross)
    • Georgia State University

Resources for Pre-OT Students

Helpful Handouts for Pre-OT Students

What Should I Major In?  

Your major really does not matter, as long as you successfully complete the courses required for admission into your preferred OT program. Indeed, it is important that select a major in a field that you are most passionate about.  Many students find the disability certificate to be helpful to their degree and interests.