Occupational therapy, with a 27% job growth estimate and an annual, median salary of $80,150 is among one of the top healthcare careers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Accreditation Counsel for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) is the accrediting body for educational programs offering Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT).
Best Medical Degrees listed Occupational Therapy as one of the 50 Top Paying Healthcare Careers. The MSOT and MOT programs below reviews school provided tuition costs, curriculum. Also considered in this ranking are ACOTE accreditation and U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Program rankings. Additional rankings are by The Princeton Review or Forbes Magazine are also examined. For the most part, MSOT and MOT entry level programs require a previous baccalaureate degrees and prerequisite courses. Applicants may be asked to submit to background checks prior to conducting fieldwork experiences; and, some schools require GRE scores for admission.
The majority of programs are traditional, classroom and clinical experiences and include Levels I and II fieldwork experiences; although, there are a few hybrid programs available. Some schools are beginning to transition to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree on the recommendation of the Accreditation Counsel for Occupational Therapy. Best Medical Degrees is currently working on ranking of the most affordable programs providing the OTD degree.
Graduates of MOT/MSOT programs are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Licensure is required to practice; and, students should verify the program chosen will meet with state requirements.
Fellowships, Scholarship and Assistantships
Schools may offer programs may offer departmental assistance for students in the form of fellowships or assistantships. Check with the academic department to see if you may qualify.
Federal Financial Aid
Federal Financial Aid for graduate and professional degrees may be obtainable. Graduate students typically only qualify for student loans; and, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Schools, and other funding opportunities, may request the a FASA for any scholarship consideration.
MOT/MSOT students be considering a MOT/MSOT program and currently employed, may want to investigate if your employer participates in an employment tuition program. However, it should be noted that the majority of occupational therapy programs require fulltime attendance, as well as fieldwork requirements.
Veterans, Active Military, Spouses and Dependents
Active, or retired, service members should determine if your school of choice offers a tuition discount for your service.
1. San Jose State University
San Jose State University offers another exceptionally affordable Master of Occupational Therapy program which holds accreditation from the Accreditation Counsel for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The program consists of six “clusters” in Occupation: The Core of the Profession, Foundations for Occupational Therapy Practice, Professional Development, Practice in the Community, Research and Knowledge Development and the Practice of Occupational Therapy. Uniquely, the program also requires an international experience, designed to provides students a variety of social, political and economic factors impacting the occupational therapy profession.
Ranked #37 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs and was one of the first occupational therapy programs in the West with its founding in 1943. San Jose State University is located in California traces its roots to 1857 and provides educational undergraduate and graduate degrees in 134 areas of study.
Program Length: 24 Months
Estimated Tuition Cost: $13,476
2. Salem State University
Accredited by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), Salem State University provides a tuition price point that is attractive. This is a entry-level professional Master of Occupational Therapy program for students who have a previously obtained baccalaureate degree in another field. Prerequisites are required before students begin core courses in graduate occupational therapy studies. Courses will be occupational therapy profession practice, introductions to human occupation and the theoretical constructs of practice, occupational treatment planning, OT analysis and intervention, etc. A capstone project and Level II fieldwork complete the program.
Located 15 minutes north of Boston in Salem, Massachusetts, Salem State University was established in 1854, and presently has nearly 10,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Ranked #126 in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs, Salem State University holds national accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Program Length: 94 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,620 (Resident); $49,256 (Non Resident)
3. Louisiana State University New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), this Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program is an entry level professional program for post baccalaureate students. Prerequisites are required for admission. Coursework includes, among others, studies in physiology, medical conditions, neuroanatomy, general practice concepts, management in occupational therapy and Levels I and II fieldwork experience.
Ranked in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy programs, the School of Allied Health Professions was established in 1931 as part of the state university of Louisiana and has a current enrollment of over 2000 students. The school is one of six at LSU New Orleans and began offering the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program over 40 years ago.
Program Length: 91 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $23,366 (Resident); $51,058 (Non Resident)
4. University of Florida Health
An ACOTE accredited MOT degree, this entry level professional degree program requires general prerequisites and pre-OT courses for admission and is offered through the College of Public Health and Health Professions. These prerequisites and may be taken at any accredited university, including community colleges. Coursework covers foundation of occupational therapy, theory, research, practicum and Level II field experience.
The college has over 2,100 enrolled students in its eight departments; and the occupational therapy program has been ranked #17 in its Best Occupational Therapy Programs by U.S. News and World Report. The University of Florida was founded in 1857 and is located in Gainesville, Florida.
Program Length: 24 Months
Estimated Tuition Cost: $25,480
5. Towson University
This Maryland university provides a Master of Occupational Therapy degree accredited the AOTCE. Didactic studies in kinesiology of occupation, foundations in OT, academic and clinical education, adult and older adult neurological occupational therapy, geriatric rehabilitation, occupational therapy practice in children and youth, psychosocial aspects, a thesis and Levels I and II fieldwork. Students must have a previously earned baccalaureate degree and complete prerequisites before starting graduate coursework.
Founded in 1865, in Towson (now a suburb of Baltimore), the MOT program received a #25 ranking in the Best Occupational Therapy Programs of U.S. News and World Report. The university has received high marks from Forbes, the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for its academic efforts and low tuition costs.
Over 22,000 students pursue a degree in one of the 100 programs offered at Towson University, the second largest university in the University System of Maryland.
Program Length: 82 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,078 (Resident); $64,370 (Non Resident)
6. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers a MOT ACOTE accredited program through its School of Health Professions. Coursework will involve studies in human anatomy, applied kinesiology, fundamental skills, psychosocial intervention in OT, assistive and adaptive OT, clinical reasoning for fieldwork, hand and upper extremity rehabilitation and Level I and II fieldwork experiences. There are five prerequisite courses required for graduation in anatomy and physiology, physics and/or kinesiology or biomechanics, abnormal and developmental psychology and statistics.
Ranking #37 in the Top Occupational Therapy Programs by U.S. News and World Report, Texas Tech University Health Center is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The center was established in 1969; and, the School of Health Professions was founded in 1983 and has three campuses in Amarillo, Lubbock, and the Permian Basin and enrolls over 1,100 students.
Program Length: 88 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $33,747 (Resident); $77,037 (Non Resident)
7. Colorado State University
Offering an ACOTE accredited MOT degree, Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences’ prepares entry professional level students to practice in occupational therapy settings. Students must have obtained a baccalaureate degree and successfully complete OT program prerequisites. Core courses in the MOT degree include occupational rehabilitation sciences, Level I field work, occupational performance in adults to old age, occupational performance from infancy to young adult, evidence based practice and Level IIB fieldwork.
Ranked in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs and has offered occupational therapy education since 1945. The university was established in 1870 and now hosts over 33,000 students at its Fort Collins, Colorado campus. It has been recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the Best Western Colleges, Consumer Digest and Business Week.
Program Length: 82 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $43,870 (Resident); $107,502 (Non Resident)
8. Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University provides a Master of Occupational Therapy two year program. Coursework includes medical conditions and occupational function, occupational therapy theory and practice, practicum and Levels I and II fieldwork. One fieldwork experience is conducted outside of Cleveland (100 miles or more) to provide students with a wider perspective of the occupational therapy field and opportunities. Fieldwork must be conducted within 24 months of completing academic coursework before sitting for the national board exams.
This state university was founded in 1964 and its MOT degree holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and has been ranked in the top 100 Best Occupational Therapy Programs in the nation. Approximately 12,000 students are enrolled at the university.
Program Length: 81 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $44,367 (Resident); $78,821 (Non Resident)
9. Governors State University
This Chicago university provides a sequential course of study for Master of Occupational Therapy. Required courses include Levels I and II fieldwork, gross anatomy, neuroscience, kinesiology, psychosocial studies, OT assessment and intervention, theories and conditions in OT and human development and performance. Students are required to have a baccalaureate degree, is highly competitive and accepts a limited number of applicants each academic year.
Governors State University was established in 1969 and has an estimated student body of over 6,000 students. The MOT program is offered through the College of Health and Human Services and has received recognition from U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs in the #106 ranking.
Program Length: 102 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $49,980 (Resident); $99,960 (Non Resident)
10. Grand Valley State University
This entry level professional Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, OT program at Grand Valley State University holds ACOTE accreditation and provides both an on campus and a hybrid program . Both options will follow the same curriculum for the MSOT degree and will follow four curriculum themes of Occupational Perspective of Human Nature and Health, Critical Reasoning and Independent Learning, Competent Service Delivery and Socially Responsive Practice. Prerequisite courses are required for admission.
With over 22,000 enrolled students, Grand Valley State University is located in Allendale, Michigan and is the main campus and was established in 1960. U.S. News and World Report rated this occupational therapy program #88 in its Best Occupational Therapy Programs ranking; and, the school boasts a 100% pass rate for students sitting for the national occupational therapy exam.
Program Length: 82 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $54,202
11. Medical University of South Carolina
This is the only Master of Science Occupational Therapy program in South Carolina. The program has admission prereqisites for students holding a baccalaureate degree. A seven term program, students will study human anatomy, introduction to occupational therapy and science, neuroscience, occupational performance in musculoskeletal conditions, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc. Students also participate in clinical correlates during the course of study and complete the program with two clinical practicum.
The Medical University of South Carolina has been rated #17 for its occupational therapy program by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1824, MUSC the university established the School of Allied Health Professions in 1966 and holds accreditation from ACOTE for its occupational therapy degrees.
Program Length: 91 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $56,427 (Resident); $80,213 (Non Resident)
12. University of Alabama Birmingham School of Health Professions
Celebrating 100 years of providing occupational therapy education, the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Health Professions offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy which accredited by the Accreditation Counsel of Occupational Therapy Education. Requiring seven semesters, this degree coursework covers occupation based practice models, therapeutic skills, research methods, neuroscience, introduction to infants, pediatrics and adolescents, occupations in adults and older adults, non thesis research and Levels I and II fieldwork experiences.
The University of Alabama Birmingham traces its beginnings to 1936 as an academic extension program and became autonomous in 1969 as one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System. This OT program is ranked #25 by U.S. News and World Report. UAB has an enrollment exceeding 18,000 students.
Program Length: 107 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $58,220
13. Chatham University
A Master of Occupational Therapy AOTCE accredited program. The curriculum is based on didactic courses, critical thinking/reasoning, evidence based practices, professional growth and development. Some of the courses involved study human anatomy, fundamentals of neuroscience, OT assessment and intervention and OT performance in children, adolescent and aging patients. Students also complete Level IIA and Level IIB fieldwork experiences.
Rated #126 in U.S. News and World Report for Best Occupational Therapy Programs, Chatham University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was established in 1869. The university has received recognition by the Princeton Review, Association of American Colleges and Universities and as a Military Friendly School. Currently, the university has an enrollment of over 2,100 students.
Program Length: 88 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $63,348
14. University of New England
A Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree, this program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Utilizing an interprofessional approach the program begins with a foundation in science, followed by concentrations in working with the aging population, pediatrics. Students will complete a clinical experience in the first three semesters. Levels I and II fieldwork are required after the first year.
UNE’s occupational therapy program has been recognized #52 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs. Located in Biddeford, Maine, the University of New England has received honors from the Brookings Institute, the Princeton Review and Chronical of Higher Education for its quality in education. The University of New England grew from its modest beginnings in 1939 into the Biddeford and Portland campuses, as well as a campus in Tangier, Morocco (students may spend a semester or year staying on track with their majors by taking courses offered in English).
Program Length: 24 Months
Estimated Tuition Cost: $69,260
15. St. Catherine University
This is a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy (MAOT) degree which holds ACOTE accreditation. Students will cover evidence based practices, neurology, skills level courses in OT, biomedical concepts, rehabilitation, OT for older adults and pediatrics. Levels I and II fieldwork experiences are also required.
Nicknamed, “St. Kate’s”, St. Catherine University was started in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. St. Kate is a private, women’s liberal arts university located in Saint Paul, Minnesota and has over 4,700 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The OT program is ranked #22 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs and the university rates a #15 ranking in the Best Midwest Regional Universities.
Program Length: 71 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $70,645
16. Saint Louis University Doisy College of Health Sciences
Saint Louis University offers a MSOT degree accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Requiring two years to complete, studies include courses in kinesiology, neuroscience for occupational therapy, occupational therapy for aging adults, professional development; as well as, Level II Fieldwork. Students are matched with faculty mentors who guide the students in the development of a comprehensive project.
Founded in 1818 by the Jesuit Catholic order, Saint Louis, the university has over 12,000 enrolled students; and, ranks 25th in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs. Additionally, the university has received recognition from the Princeton Review, Forbes and the Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Program Length: 72 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $74,340
17. Xavier University
The MOT degree at Xavier University is an entry level professional program which will require prerequisites for those with a non OT baccalaureate degree. Prerequisite courses include anatomy & physiology, rhetoric, statistics, physics, developmental psychology, bioethics, kinesiology, neuroscience and all human occupation study courses. Core coursework for the MOT degree will involve adaptations and technology, research projects and Levels I & II fieldwork.
ACOTE accredited, this program ranks #58 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs. Xavier University, located in Cincinnati, Ohio was founded in 1831 by the Jesuits of the Catholic Church. This private institution provides undergraduate and graduate degree for over 9,700 students and has received recognition from Forbes magazine as one of its #341 Top Colleges.
Program Length: 103 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $76,200
18. Spalding University
A Master of Science in Occupational Therapy offered through the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, and is available through two tracks. The school provides a Bachelor of Health Science/MSOT track for students without a previous baccalaureate degree and the MSOT degree for those with degrees in a field other than occupational therapy. The OT program is accredited by the Accreditation Counsel for Occupational Therapy Education.
Holding the #58 position in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs, Spalding University was established in Louisville, Kentucky by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1814; and, has an enrollment of over 2,500 students. University accreditation is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission. The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy began its program in 1995.
Program Length: 90 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $77,400
19. Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
In 1999, Creighton University launched the first, entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree in the nation. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Students will study such areas as occupation and health, neuroanatomy, occupational therapy in mental health, disability and healthcare policy, clinical education; and, Level IIA and Level IIB fieldwork.
Creighton University’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions traces its beginnings to 1905 with the establishment of its School of Pharmacy. The DTO program has been recognized in the top 25 of U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of Best Occupational Therapy Programs. In addition to the campus OTD, the school also offers a distance, hybrid program that partners with the University of Alaska Anchorage, Regis University in Denver and one in the greater Omaha, Nebraska area. Check with the school for details.
Program Length: 124.5
Estimated Tuition Cost: $84,235
20. Boston University Sargent College
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), Boston University provides a Master of Science Occupational Therapy degree. The Sargent College is transitioning the MSOT to a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree in compliance with the 2014 recommendation by American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). MSOT students will study evidence-based practices, functional movement, orientation to practice, assistive technology, context and occupational performance, etc. Students will also complete Level II Fieldwork. There is also a thesis option from which to choose.
Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Occupational Therapy Programs, this program dates to 1881 with the establishment of the Sargent School of Physical Training. The school became part of Boston University in 1929 and has a 99% first pass rate for the national certification board exam.
Program Length: 64 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $98,352