Pre-Occupational Therapy

Patient undergoing occupational therapy.

Occupational Therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession.  OTs work with people of all ages from infants to elderly to help them lead independent and productive lives due to physical, emotional or social problems.  They help people use their work, self-care, and leisure activities to increase independence, enhance development, and prevent disability.  They are very different from physical therapists that focus on restoring physical function to the body.  Students interested in OT as career typically major in psychology, anthropology, biology or other majors as long as the prerequisites for entry into an OT program are met.  Licensed practicing OT’s must have a master’s degree.  For more information on Occupational Therapy visit the website of The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at

Occupational Therapy School Prerequisite Courses

Typical Occupational Therapy School Prerequisite Courses:

  • One year of Biology with labs
  • One year of General Chemistry with labs
  • One year of Anatomy and Physiology with labs
  • Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Medical Terminology

Applying to Occupational Therapy School

Graduate Record Exam (GRE): Many, but not all, Occupational Therapy programs require an applicant to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test. This exam is usually taken during the spring semester of the junior year.

Letters of Recommendation:  Identify at least one science professor and at least one non-science professor that might be willing to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf.  Schedule a meeting with the professors to directly ask them to write the letters. Don’t just drop in as the request might get shuffled off and forgotten. Be intentional about asking.  Bring a list or short narrative of the work you completed in the classes taken under the professor. Professors see many students over the years and don’t always remember specific course assignments or course experiences like you will. Remind them of these experiences.  Provide an estimated date for submission of their letters. Give your professors enough time to write a thoughtful letter.

Shadowing and experiences:  In order to demonstrate a genuine desire to become an occupational therapist admissions, students should be accumulating experience shadowing, volunteering, or clinical work specifically in the field of occupational therapy rather than physical therapy or the general medical field.

Personal statement: A personal statement is a well thought out explanation of why occupational therapy is right for you based on the experiences that have led you to this conclusion.  Experiences from your life, work, research, or shadowing that are pertinent to explaining your call to occupational therapy need to be included as part of this statement.  Journaling is a convenient way of keeping track of formative experiences and their impact on you as they occur.

Application timeline:  Applications are submitted approximately one year prior to entrance into occupational therapy schoolApplications are built within and submitted to schools through the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service (OTCAS).   The first day applications are received by OT schools is generally the first business day in July.

Occupational Therapy Schools Attended by Butler Graduates

Recent Butler graduates have attended the following Occupational Therapy Schools:

  • A.T. Still University
  • Cleveland State University
  • Creighton University
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana Wesleyan University