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Louisiana Occupational Therapist School
By allied health world contributing writer
Published: April, 7 2010
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Steps to Become an Occupational Therapist in Louisiana
Prior to program acceptance:
- Graduate from an accredited 4-year college or University leading to a Bachelors degree. Schools will take any major; however expect to take coursework in anatomy & physiology, psychology, statistics, etc.
- Research occupational therapy programs. The American Occupational Therapy Association has links to accredited programs on their website.
- Visit Louisiana occupational therapy schools offering post graduate programs either online or through campus based institutions and/or talk to school counselors about admission requirements.
- Take the time to catch up on any required courses, for example if you have not taken abnormal psychology, but the school you are applying to requires it, now is a good time to enroll in that class. Additionally, if you have no related work or volunteer experience in the field, make arrangements to volunteer a few hours a week in a health field that offers occupational therapy to its clients. Keep track of your hours.
- Gather admission requirements. This can include GRE scores, faculty or employer letters of recommendation, volunteering or employment experience, school transcripts, an application processing fee and a personal essay. Verify admission requirements before sending in the application. Make sure to give faculty or supervisors plenty of time to write a letter of recommendation (ask at least 2-3 months in advance so they can prepare)
- Be sure to send thank-you cards to individuals who wrote letters of recommendation.
- Send admission requirements from step 5, to the school(s) of your choice.
After program acceptance:
- Attend program orientation. This is usually mandatory for any graduate program and can help orient new students to the campus, explain the required curriculum and help with class enrollment.
- Pass required coursework. The national accreditation body sets the minimum standards for every individual who graduates from an occupational therapy program in the United States. Schools may have additional requirements. Expect to take courses in Occupational Therapy theory, therapeutic activities, research, conducting occupational therapy evaluations and interventions and completing clinical hours in the field under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Expect the program to take 2-3 years to complete, depending on the academic schedule of the University.
- The next step is to apply for the certification exam, through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Contac t the Board for specific requirements, but expect to fill out an application, complete a national background check, provide transcripts and verify clinical hours, etc.
- Successfully pass the Board certified Occupational Therapy exam
- Apply for certification through the State of Louisiana’s Medical Examiners Board
- Pass the state’s licensure exam.
- Apply for Occupational Therapy jobs in Louisiana.