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Which college majors are best for people aspiring to become occupational therapists?

I'm looking into majors such as human development, neuroscience, psychology, and biology. Are there other majors I should consider? Thanks!
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jan’s Answer

Chelsea,

If your focus is occupational therapy, you want to seek majors (BS degree) that focuses on what people "DO" and how they do these everyday tasks. Many of the course you will take in an OT curriculum will be movement and occupation based.

Therefore to really embrace the field of occupational therapy, your BS should focus on individuals, groups and populations with the study in psychology, public health or occupation science, or even complete a BS in a subject you think you will use post OT that complement what you want to do within OT, such as business (rehab manager, start your own business...)

I would not recommend majors that do not have a solid relationship to OT and you then will most likely will not stay interested in OT. When you do decide on a major, look at your major through the lens of OT. What is the relationship of neuroscience to OT, how will I use this knowledge in OT? Also consider taking courses in your BS that are pre-requisites for the Masters or OTD (such as abnormal psych, stats, musculoskeletal anatomy... look carefully at pre-requisites from the MSOT or OTD program you will apply)


Good luck!
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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on exploring careers. The first and most important step is to get to know yourself better to see how your personality traits relate to people in various career areas and then develop opportunities to talk with the people in the various areas for which you may have a match to learn more about the career areas and the people who are involved in them and get their advice.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Dana M’s Answer

Hi Chelsea, You can also consider majoring in "Health Science". I'm not sure if you were considering, but Springfield College offers a somewhat combined BS in Health Science and MS in Occupational Therapy. In your 4th year, you begin to focus on Occupational Therapy. 5-6 years of college is a huge commitment, so reach out to professionals in the field to make sure you really love it. Maybe shadow someone for a day or week, or intern over the summer. Good Luck!
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Kaitlyn’s Answer

So, what you may want to do is reach out to the schools you are thinking of applying too. Some schools accept any major, and wanted a diverse class, however, others prefer a specific few degrees. All of those majors will definitely give a a great background of things that we cover within OT on a daily basis, but make sure you are getting your pre-reqs in as well!
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Margaret (Meg)’s Answer

I agree with the other comments - it's important to get a better sense of the occupation through shadowing, and each OT school might be looking for different things. That being said, I have two friends who have just begun OT school, and their majors were biobehavior health (which I believe is similar to kinesiology at some schools) and psychology. It's important to enjoy your major, though, because it makes it much easier to put forth effort and get better grades. It also helps you explain to an interviewer (if a school requires this) why you chose the major and what benefits you've gotten from your studies.
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