Would it be better to obtain an undergraduate and graduate degree separately or together in a single program?
I am a high school student going into my senior year and can't decide which program route I should go into. Over the summer, I have discovered my passion for the occupational therapy field and the good that comes out of it. Knowing very well that I want to major in that study, I started looking into universities that offer an occupational therapy program. I soon found out that there aren't many colleges that offer an undergraduate program for occupational therapy, solely because it is a field that requires a graduate degree to be licensed. I have found a few colleges that offer a 5-year combined BS/MS program for occupational therapy, but that would mean I would have to sacrifice my opportunity to attend a top school. Should I result to being accepted into a better university, getting a bachelor's in a related major, and then later obtaining my master's of occupational therapy? Or should I stick with the 5-year program in a much lower rank school? What are the differences beside time length to be licensed?
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I would answer that it depends on how sure you are on what you want to study and the efficiencies afforded by doing a 5 year program all in one.
I have no intention of planting any doubt on your mind about OT, if you have researched it, and like the schools, programs, what you understand the future job entails, etc then you are probably good to go. I would only caution that if you have interest in any other career path, then it would make sense to first go to the school of your choosing and get an undergraduate degree and then go on to get a MS in OT. Here is an additional reason, even though you know that you like OT, it might be that once you begin taking classes, you discover that there are other related fields that you also enjoy too. In this way you haven't limited your options. I give you my experience as an example: I knew that I liked to negotiate, and that I liked business, so I signed up into a business school for an International Commerce degree. I quickly discovered that I didn't want to specialize in logistics & import/export subject matters, but that I loved Operations and purchasing. I eventually switched my major to a Supply Chain degree, which is what I have been doing for the past 15 years. Had I specialized in any one degree, I might have wasted some of my time. Anyway, just another perspective for your to consider.
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