Hawaii Occupational Therapist School

How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Hawaii

In today’s economy, finding a career with job security is more critical than ever.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is expected to be a 27 percent increase in the need for occupational therapists between 2004 and 2014.  Hospitals and schools are seeing shortages in occupational therapists.   As the number of senior citizens increases, the need for occupational therapists in nursing homes, assisted living centers and in home health care is expected to continue to grow.

The state of Hawaii has no (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education or ACOTE) accredited Masters program of Occupational Therapy, but there are many Pre-Occupational Therapy courses students can take to qualify them for acceptance in out-of-state and online programs.  Though in Hawaii occupational therapy schools aren’t available to provide master’s level training in a campus-based setting, online schools provide the perfect accredited alternative.  
Students focus on natural or behavioral science course, taking basic courses in anatomy, physiology and psychology.  In addition to the coursework, they must complete a required internship.
For those interested in becoming occupational therapy assistants, there are two-year programs in Hawaii that are ACOTE-accredited, and allow graduates to take the Occupational Therapy Assistant exam.  In Hawaii, Occupational Therapy Assistants are not required to hold a license in Hawaii, but must work under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist.
To qualify for a civil service job with a governmental organization, applicants must meet the minimum standards for that position.  For Occupational Therapists, job applicants must have at least a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from a program approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education and completed the required fieldwork.
Chapter 457G of the Hawaii Revised Statutes states that all applicants must have passed the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy exam and be registered by the state as an occupational therapist.  In addition, Occupational Therapists must have two years of working experience under medical supervision.
Since 2007, Occupational Therapists wishing to qualify for designation of an OTR or occupational therapy registration must have at least a master’s degree to take the exam.  Applicants who have a PhD in occupational therapy from an ACOTE-approved program can waive the two years of working experience. 

Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Honolulu, Kialua and Hilo, Hawaii may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including Kuakini Medical Center, The Queen's Medical Center, and Hilo Medical Center.

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