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Educational Requirements

Educational Requirements

Prerequisite Coursework
High School students interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy may benefit from basic and advanced coursework in biology, human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, health, art and the social sciences.
Paid or volunteer (connect link to Volunteer page) experience in the health care or human services field is often considered favorably by college admissions offices and can help a student considering multiple career options be more definitive in choosing his or her career path.

Educational Requirements
Currently two educational paths are available to potential occupational therapists:

  • Joint Bachelor's/Master’s Degree 5 year program:
    Designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy at the undergraduate level. Coursework consists of three years of core undergraduate curriculum and two years of specialized occupational therapy coursework focused on the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences, as well as the application of occupational theory and skills.
  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy-2 year program:
    Designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field but have determined that they want to become an occupational therapist. Individuals interested in this option may enter most programs with any number of undergraduate degrees, however prerequisites of college level coursework in human anatomy and physiology, statistics and psychology are often required before entry to the program is granted. Interested candidates should check with the schools they are applying to determine prerequisites for that particular program.

In addition to completing the appropriate educational coursework, occupational therapy students are required to complete 6 months of clinical internship or fieldworks before graduating from their program and applying for licensure.


Education Opportunities
St. Mary Medical Center’s Occupational Therapy Department offers many opportunities for observation, volunteer and clinical internship.

Academic Fieldwork:
Completion of academic fieldworks is required for licensure within the area of occupational therapy and is usually arranged between the academic program and clinical site fieldwork coordinators. A current contract between the school and the participating fieldwork site is required for participation. St. Mary Medical Center currently has contracts with several schools (link to list of schools) and is accepting students from these locations.  If you are interested in participating in fieldwork at St. Mary Medical Center and your school does not have a current contract with our hospital, please contact Carisa Gillis, MS, OTR/L, Fieldwork Coordinator at 215-710-5178, to initiate development of a contract.

  • Level I Fieldwork: Opportunities are available to observe under direct supervision for 1-2 solid weeks at a time or one day a week over several weeks. Experiences are available in outpatient, acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, hand therapy and lymphedema therapy.
  • Level II Fieldwork: Occupational Therapy and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants are accepted in either their first or second placement for a 12-week internship in adult physical disabilities. Opportunities are available on inpatient rehab, outpatient, acute care or in a combination setting to further enhance the student’s learning. Specialized fieldwork may be available in hand therapy upon request.

Please contact Carisa Gillis, MS, OTR/L, Fieldwork Coordinator at 215-710-5178 if you are interested in St. Mary Medical Center for your Fieldwork opportunity.

Schools with Current Contracts with St. Mary Medical Center

Boston University, Boston, MA

Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA

Misericordia University, Dallas, PA

Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA

The Sage Colleges, Troy, New York

Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA