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Occupational therapy (MOT)?

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by biogirl215, 05.01.07.

  1. biogirl215

    biogirl215

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    Hello,
    I’m a freshman human bio major who wants to go into some sort health care. I was pre-pharm, but recently, I decided to look into occupational therapy as a possible choice (patient-centered, etc)--not 100% certain but am intrigued. I’ve looked into pre-reqs for schools in my geographic region, the West/NW/SW (where I live/go to school now and where I hope to stay in the future) and plan to do some observation this summer to get s better feel for if this is what I really want to do. Some questions:
    *Would the best way to find someone to observe just to make cold calls to rehab clinics and explain that I’m a prospective OT student (being very polite and all that, of course?)
    *What type of GPA/GRE does it take to get into MOT programs? The school websites have very little info on this.
    *What is starting salary like? How much in loans would be reasonable to take out for a MOT?
    *Would hospital OT work by hard to find? I’ve always known most OTs to work in schools (not my cup of tea)?
    *Any experiences, advice, etc., would be helpful! Do you like or regret the field?

    Thanks for your time!
     
  2. ftcnt

    ftcnt Junior Member

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    To observe an OT, you could always call them up and see if they have time or at my school, they had programs setup so you could go and observe a therapist on the job

    My GPA for going into OT was 3.2 but I was lucky enough to get some money due to my financial situation from the school that i applied to.

    I think the starting salary for most OTs working in the public sector is in the mid 40K. Most of my friends that graduated started higher than that probably closer to low 50k. Those in the private sector were even higher. Google it to get more info.

    I got a job working in a hospital, mental health area but I think it is more challenging to get hospital positions not because they are not available but often require more experience under your belt and as a new grad you don't have that. Start out small and work your way up. I hope that helps
     
  3. delightx81

    delightx81 San Jose State '08 OT

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    Hi biogirl215,

    I'm going to take a stab at answering some of your questions:

    *Would the best way to find someone to observe just to make cold calls to rehab clinics and explain that I’m a prospective OT student (being very polite and all that, of course?)
    Yes, that is fine; many places are used to that because some schools require volunteer hours. Mine required 100 hours before enrollment in the program.

    *What type of GPA/GRE does it take to get into MOT programs? The school websites have very little info on this.
    I think the minimum GPA is generally 3.0, and the minimum GRE is 1000 (quantative and verbal).

    *What is starting salary like? How much in loans would be reasonable to take out for a MOT?
    I'm not sure where you live, but it varies depending on specialty and location. According to salary.com, here is the info for my zip code (95112) (San Jose, CA):
    10th percentile: $62,528
    25th percentile: $68,024
    75th percentile: $81,442
    90th percentile: $88,164
    I would recommend going to public school if you can, because your loans will be smaller and employers only care that you passed the board exam and have your license.

    *Would hospital OT work by hard to find? I’ve always known most OTs to work in schools (not my cup of tea)?
    Many OTs work in hospitals, specializing in physical dysfunction (traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury) or mental health. OTs can also work in private clinics, home health, retirement homes, or hand therapy.

    *Any experiences, advice, etc., would be helpful! Do you like or regret the field?
    I was also going for pharmacy before, and was a pharmacy technician for two years. Although I enjoyed it, I found that I wasn't able to have much patient contact. I volunteered in a pediatric clinic and an adult day care center, and just completed my first fieldwork in a pediatric clinic. Each experience has been fun, educational, and rewarding. I am glad I switched to occupational therapy because I love being able to develop and implement a treatment plan for a client that will make them more independent, build a therapeutic relationship with them, and see the progress they are making firsthand.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a private message. I hope this helps! :)
     
  4. biogirl215

    biogirl215

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    Thank you both for your very helpful replies! I will try cold calling some rehab places and see if I can get any observation time for the summer. I know it's probably a bit early, but I figure actual experience is the best way for me to decide if this is something I really want to do.

    I currently have a 3.75 and am hoping to bring it up a bit, depending on how I do this semester. Would a GPA in that range combined with a decent GRE (provided I can pull it off) be good for a lot of OT schools?--I know that's a bit of an unanswerable question, but I'm just trying to get a feel for what MOT admissions takes? Also, would biological research experience be any help at all? I'm currently doing lab work (neurochemical in a vague sense) and really enjoy it, though I can't see myself doing it for life. I know lots of health care professions (PA, MD, DPM, DO, etc.) strongly recommmend research; is this the case for MOT programs, or do they only care about practical experience?

    Is it generally harder to get OT work/praticium experience in hospitals and clinics than in other areas of practice? How is the job market for entry-level OTs in general (Alaska/PNW region specifically)? Do most get jobs before graduating?

    Pitfalls of the profession?

    Sorry for all the questions--I don't mean to be a pest. I'm just trying to get a feel for this field.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. ftcnt

    ftcnt Junior Member

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    I would say that research is a strong component like any other health care discipline but this also depends on the school you go to and their focus, whether it is more clinical, research or both. I came into OT with a life science background with lab experience but you won't be doing any research like that. Most of the research has a clinical and rehab focus and for OT, you are going to be examining it from a holistic viewpoint rather just from a biological or medical model. Read up about it and you will get a sense of occupational therapy(clinical research) and occupational science (academic, empirical research). I honestly did not like OT research but because it is a new discipline (relatively) and plus the fact that there is so little research done in rehab in comparison to say medicine, there is a lot of room. I remember our professors were asking us, almost begging us to continue onward and complete a PhD while practicing.

    I went to a large urban university and there were many opportunities to do practical work in a hospital setting. I did all my placements in a hospital and I'm working in a hospital now. Just see what you like and you might want to do different types of placements to get a feel for OT work outside of the acute care setting.

    I can't comment on the job market in that area, I don't live there :) sorry.

    In terms of employability, it is really good. I graduated just last year and 100% of our class found work. Some were even hired before they finished school.

    I say the biggest pitfall of the profession as a new grad is that you might get into a one area of OT and get suck there by virtue of working in that field for a few years and then not being able to branch to other areas. I would suggest working contract or P/T in a few places and getting experience with say mental health, neurology, hands etc.

    The other pitfall is that everyone thinks you are a physical therapist and will call you the PT lol...and you have to explain your role a million times. You will get a lot of that! trust me
     
  6. biogirl215

    biogirl215

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    Thanks for the very helpful reply! How do you think you're lab experience was viewed by OT adcoms, if at all?
     
  7. ftcnt

    ftcnt Junior Member

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    don't get me wrong, i think having those lab skills are very valuable and they will be taken into consideration among many other factors. i was on the admission committee as the student representative last year and I read a lot of qualified applicants that had lab experience. It's just that, rehabilitation labs are very different from those most life science and biology students are used to. that was my point :)
     
  8. wave06

    wave06

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    Someone mentioned going to a public school to cut down on tuition and loans. I'd like to do that because I'm in enormous debt from attending a private undergrad. However, here in California, there are only two public universities which have OT graduate programs and both or Cal States. I'd rather go to a UC but none of them have OT programs. Anyone know why??

    Also why is there such a huge difference in reported OT salaries. Surveys always quote 40-60K but every OT job I've come across in my region ranges from 70-90K. Any input will be appreciated. Thanks! :)
     
  9. Grue1some

    Grue1some

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    B/c you live in california...
     
  10. jesse14

    jesse14 Senior Member

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    Hello all,

    This message is primarily directed at OT's. I don't know very much about the profession but am very interested in learning. I was told that there are very few men in the field. Is that true? If so, why the shortage? What would you say is the best and worst part of becoming an OT? I'm from Ontario, Canada and just took notice of the profession...what should i do to learn more?
    Does the salary of an OT and a PT compare in terms of base and ceiling?
    UMM i think that's it for now. I look forward to reading the replys :)

    Thank you
     
  11. delightx81

    delightx81 San Jose State '08 OT

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    I go to San Jose State for OT and I highly recommend it. I only pay $2,000 a semester, which is really nice because I want to start saving for a down payment on a house. I went to UC Irvine for undergrad and would have preferred to attend a UC for grad school as well, but I'm learning just as much (if not more) here. Our professors are highly educated and have lots of clinical experience, and what they teach us applies to what we encounter in practice. For the most part, UC's have medical, pharmacy, dental, and optometry schools, but not occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, etc. I'm not sure why, but it doesn't matter because employers will hire just about any licensed and registered OT due to the current shortage. Plus, I have friends at private schools who are paying much more than me, yet we are learning the same material.

    The 70-90K figure is most likely found in the bay area (Cali), Orange County, or New York, due to the high cost of living.
     
  12. wave06

    wave06

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    delightx81,

    Thank you for the reply. I was looking at the OT program website for San Jose State and almost passed out when I saw the low tuition.I paid over $1,000 per UNIT at my undergrad. I went to a private undergrad in California and my loans are killing me. I did not want to overdo it with another expensive degree and I am realizing the name doesn't really get you anywhere unless you're networking with alumni. I went to the orientation for the USC program and tuition is nearly 80k for the two years and I don't think that includes room and board. The UC system is still a mystery for me. They don't have programs for a lot of the professions I am interested in.

    I think the only drawback about San Jose is the volunteer requirement. I believe it is 100 hours and I just don't have that much time. Do you have any idea when their application deadline is? I could not find it anywhere on the site.

    I believe you're right about the salary for the bay area, Orange County, and New York. I wonder why there is such a difference according to region for most occupations except physicians.

    This is becoming an essay; so, I have one more question for anyone who would like to answer. Does anyone think that the current shortage of OTs will cause oversaturation someday and maybe lower salaries? Thanks!
     
  13. PREMEDWOAHS

    PREMEDWOAHS dare to dream

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    no it stays consistent with Medicare reimbursement, unless you open private clinic, i imagine that would increase competition and hinder financial growth.
     
  14. delightx81

    delightx81 San Jose State '08 OT

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    I know 100 hours is a lot, but you still have a long time to meet this requirement. Your hours and pre-reqs can still be in progress at the time of application, but must be completed by the time you enroll. They prefer that you complete at least 50 volunteer hours by the time you apply (although I had only completed 40 hours by the time I applied). The application deadline can be found on this page: http://www.sjsu.edu/ot/index.html
    Since you have a bachelor's degree already, you would be considered a pattern II (entry-level master's) student; the deadline is at the beginning of February for Fall admission.

    I hope this helps! :)
     
  15. wave06

    wave06

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    Thanks, Delightx81! I can definitely finish half of the hours or more by February. Now, I just hope I am making the right decision about OT. I've been trying to decide between OT, DO, and PA for quite some time now. Thanks again!:)
     
  16. jesse14

    jesse14 Senior Member

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    Does anybody want to reply? Don't be shy :D
     
  17. Shells

    Shells

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    Hi Jesse, I am quite amused that no one has replied to your message. I am an OT, practicing at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) and yes, there are few men in this field. I think this profession is still growing and people barely know about it, let alone men. It could be due to the hours of employment that women are more inclined to work for (mon-fri from 8-4 with no working on weekends)...thats how it is in most areas of OT in BC...I dont know how Ont works...but I graduated from Univeristy of Alberta and the same situation was there as well. This profession entails, if you have not already done ur research, enabling individuals to be independent and this could be done by using equipment, certain rehab techniques (i.e. if working in stroke, using Bobath approach) which you will learn in school, cognitive behaviour therapy for clients in mental health, basically using occupation as therapy (occupation is everything we do in our daily life like dressing self, bathing, cooking, which can be impaired due to physcial or psychosocial dysfunction). Salary for PT and OT is the same in BC. I dont know about Ont. Hope this helps...
     
  18. es888w

    es888w

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    I have asked in another thread some feedback on OT vs. PT. I saw this thread and would like to ask if it's better to pursue being an OT rather than a PT if one has a choice. I am applying to DPT programs this year but if unsuccessful I would like to apply to an MOT program to stay in my state (MD). I am just afraid because I have always considered going into PT and not OT. Advantages? Disadvantages? would appreciate any feedback. Thanks a million. ES.
     

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