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Bachelors and masters or just masters in OT....does it make a difference?

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by southerngirl100, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. southerngirl100


    Jul 19, 2012
    I know that occupational therapists are now required to have a masters degree instead of just a bachelors, but lately I have been noticing that a lot of the job listings in my area for occupational therapists list a bachelors degree in occupational therapy as the educational requirement. These job listings do not say that a masters is required, they only list a bachelors degree. Because of this, I was wondering if it makes any difference whether one has a bachelors degree in OT along with the masters degree versus only having a masters degree in OT and a bachelors in another unrelated liberal arts or science field.

    In other words, if someone has a BA degree in liberal arts and a masters degree in OT would they be at a disadvantage compared to the therapists who have both bachelors and masters degrees in OT? I am working on completing a non-occupational therapy bachelors, but I am hoping to go to occupational therapy graduate school. Only one of the programs I am considering awards both masters and bachelors of OT to graduates. I am wondering if I should focus on getting into this program over the others for this reason or if it even matters at all? Also, what are the biggest differences as far as salary, opportunities, etc. in having a masters in occupational therapy versus having a doctorate degree?
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  3. 2bOT


    Jan 20, 2012
    Most job listings state "bachelors degree" as a requirement because most practicing OTs only have a bachelors - the master's became a requirement about 5 years ago. The only way both a bachelor's and a master's in OT will benefit you is if you are still in your first year or 2 of undergrad. Combined BS/MOT programs usually last 5 years whereas entering a master's program after a traditional undergraduate career of 4 years would take 6 years to complete.

    Someone with both a master's and bachelor's in OT will really only have experience above you, as s/he would have existed in the field when just a bachelor's in OT was enough to be licensed (i.e. before 2007).

    There are many threads and posts on this forum comparing the master's and doctorate degrees. Here's a link to AOTA's official answers on all of your degree questions:
  4. babycheeks


    May 13, 2012
    What your bachelors is in won't matter it could help you if it's related in some kind of way but not in the sense of pay.
    That doesn't mean you have to do the bachelors in OT to be related plenty other degrees will work.

    My example of what I mean by it could help you:

    I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and start my Master of Occupational Therapy on August 6th.

    I had talked with AOTA about it before doing it and they told me it's a great degree for the field and my program had all the pre-reqs. She told me due to the fact that OT is what they refer to as a health and human service career. You will even run across schools that have OT listed under the college of health and human services like as in Western Michigan University. In human services you focus a lot on helping those in need and being dedicated to serving people and you develop compassion and other necessary traits you will use in the field of OT. In our senior year we did a internship and portfolio and I got to work with cancer patients at Make a Wish Foundation. Human services opens you up to a lot of networking and connections with nonprofits and other community you get to do some papers or projects on it. All the networking and connections allowed me to have a vast amount of recommendation letters and improved my resume. Honestly the degree is not to difficult, it was a lot of fun learning and working with all these causes and people with different needs which has helped me feel prepared for OT, it was affordable it's not typical some expensive type of program, and they have different minors you can get mine is Gerontology got to spend time in a nursing home to work on a presentation.

    I used the degree and worked a position for a while before my MOT as a program manager at a community center for down syndrome. My advice to anyone who does this degree is to do well on your classes but also get out there and do it start helping others it will really make your resume and your MOT application shine. But to answer your question I know someone with liberal arts, journalism, business, and english and they got in the MOT just fine it all comes down to having the pre-reqs completed.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

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