Are you interested in becoming an occupational therapist? If so, you may be wondering where to start your education. There are many great occupational therapy schools in Florida that offer excellent programs for those who want to pursue a career in this field.
In this article, we will explore the different occupational therapy schools available in Florida and what each school has to offer. We will also discuss some of the benefits of pursuing a career as an occupational therapist and why choosing a school in Florida may be the right decision for you.
What is Occupational Therapy?
First, let’s begin by defining what occupational therapy is. Occupational therapy (OT) is a type of healthcare profession that focuses on helping individuals with disabilities or injuries improve their ability to participate in daily activities.
OT can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from children with developmental disabilities to older adults recovering from a stroke or other medical condition. The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients live as independently as possible and achieve their full potential in life.
Here are some examples of tasks that an OT might help someone accomplish:
- Dressing and grooming
- Cooking and eating
- Driving or using public transportation
- Working or going to school
- Engaging in leisure activities
Why Pursue a Career as an Occupational Therapist?
There are many reasons why someone might choose to become an occupational therapist. Here are just a few:
Helping others: As an occupational therapist, you will have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives by helping them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
Job stability: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Good salary: The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $84,950 as of May 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Variety in your work: As an occupational therapist, you will work with patients from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and conditions. This can lead to a diverse and fulfilling career.
Occupational Therapy Schools in Florida
Now that we’ve discussed some of the benefits of pursuing a career as an occupational therapist, let’s take a closer look at some of the schools in Florida that offer OT programs.
- University of Florida
The University of Florida (UF) offers a Master of Occupational Therapy program that prepares students to become licensed occupational therapists. Students learn through classroom instruction, clinical experiences, and research opportunities.
The UF OT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and takes two years to complete. Students must also complete at least 24 weeks of fieldwork experience in various settings such as hospitals, schools, and community-based programs.
- Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers both an entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program and a post-professional OTD program for those who already hold a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
The FGCU OTD program is accredited by ACOTE and takes three years to complete for entry-level students. The curriculum includes courses on fundamentals of occupational therapy practice, assessment, intervention strategies, professional issues in OT practice, and more.
- Barry University
Barry University offers both a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and an entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD).
The MSOT program is designed for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree while the entry-level OTD program is for students who do not yet hold a master’s or doctoral degree. Both programs are accredited by ACOTE.
Students in both programs benefit from practical experience through fieldwork education placements within healthcare facilities throughout South Florida.
- Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University offers an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program, as well as a post-professional OTD program for those who already hold a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
The NSU OTD program takes three years to complete and includes both didactic coursework and clinical experiences. Students will have the opportunity to work with patients across the lifespan in settings such as hospitals, schools, and community-based programs.
- Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program that is accredited by ACOTE. Students will learn through classroom instruction and fieldwork experiences in various settings such as hospitals, schools, and community-based programs.
The FIU OT program takes two years to complete and includes courses on anatomy and physiology, occupational therapy assessments and interventions, research methods, healthcare systems management, and more.
- AdventHealth University
AdventHealth University offers a Master of Occupational Therapy program that prepares students for careers in occupational therapy. The program is accredited by ACOTE and includes both classroom instruction and fieldwork experiences.
Students will complete four semesters of coursework followed by two full-time fieldwork placements in hospitals or other clinical settings.
Why Choose Florida for Your Occupational Therapy Education?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the occupational therapy schools available in Florida, you may be wondering why choosing a school in this state is the right decision for you.
Here are some reasons why:
Great weather: Florida’s warm climate makes it an attractive place to live year-round. If you enjoy being outdoors or participating in outdoor activities like hiking or biking, Florida offers plenty of opportunities to do so.
Diverse population: Florida is home to people from all walks of life, which can make for a rich cultural experience both inside and outside the classroom.
Strong network of healthcare facilities: Florida is home to many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities where occupational therapists can gain practical experience during their education and throughout their careers.
Career opportunities: As we mentioned earlier, employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. This means that there will likely be many job opportunities available to graduates of occupational therapy schools in Florida.
Affordable living: While some parts of Florida are more expensive than others, overall the cost of living in Florida is relatively affordable compared to other states.
Choosing the right occupational therapy school is an important decision that can impact your career for years to come. Luckily, there are many great options available in Florida that offer high-quality programs and practical experience opportunities.
Whether you want to work with children with disabilities or older adults recovering from medical conditions, pursuing a career as an occupational therapist can be a rewarding experience. We hope this article has provided you with valuable information about some of the top occupational therapy schools in Florida and why choosing this state may be the right decision for you.
What are the requirements to enroll in an occupational therapy school in Florida?
To enroll in an occupational therapy school in Florida, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, prerequisite courses completed, and satisfactory GRE scores