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Iowa Occupational Therapist School

By Joanna Pelletier, allied health world contributing writer

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Steps to Become an Occupational Therapist in Iowa

  1. Acquire a Bachelor's degree in sociology, anthropology, human biology, psychology, or related field. The best way for students to prepare themselves for a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy is to specialize in one or more of its many facets as an undergraduate. Students who major in sociology, psychology, kinesiology, physical therapy, anthropology, and other majors related to the social, behavioral, and biological sciences usually have the greatest success in this field. Students from non-related majors have to complete a set of prerequisite courses before they can enter into a program offered by Iowa occupational therapy schools.
  1. Go through a Master's degree program. Iowa's MSOT programs are more geared toward the behavioral and physical aspects of occupational therapy, which is ideal for anyone who wants to go into a form of counseling or a therapeutic exercise. These programs also focus on building professional skills through multiple fieldwork environments.
  1. Obtain six months of fieldwork experience. The State of Iowa requires its MSOT graduates to gain six months of fieldwork experience before they take the NBCOT exam. Students must gain experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist who works in an accredited and recognized facility. They can gain this experience on their own with the approval of their MSOT program, or they gain it through their MSOT program, which may assign them to a certain post.
  1. Pass the NBCOT certification exam. The National Board on Certification for Occupational Therapy is the authority for occupational therapy certifications throughout the Nation. After a student completes her Master's degree program and fieldwork experience, NBCOT sends her an authorization to take test letter (ATT), which she uses to schedule her testing date with Prometric Testing Center. If she passes the test, she can register for licensure through the Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy Examiners. If she fails the test, she can take it again.
  1. Apply for licensure through the Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy Examiners. Recent graduates normally apply for licensure in the State of Iowa after they pass the NBCOT certification exam. If a student fails the exam, she can apply for temporary licensure through the Board. A temporary license is issued only once, and is pending on the applicant's future examination date.
Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including the Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Saint Luke's Hospital, and Genesis Medical Center East.

Occupational Therapy Schools in Iowa


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