Occupational Science Associates Degree Programs
Occupational science is a multi-disciplinary field focusing on helping individuals with physical, mental and emotional disabilities to perform daily functions independently at home and work. Associate's degrees in occupational science or occupational therapy take two years to complete.
Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy
Students enrolled in occupational therapy associate's degree programs are typically trained to work as assistants to occupational therapists that hold a bachelor's or master's degree. Candidates learn to provide rehabilitation services that improve memory, motor skills and problem-solving abilities. Occupational science associate's degree programs require extensive fieldwork supervised by occupational therapists. Students work as part of rehabilitation teams to create, implement and evaluate treatment plans.
Applicants to occupational science associate's degree programs must hold a high school diploma or GED and take the ACT of SAT exam. Some schools require a separate admission application for occupational science associate's degree programs. A grade point average of at least 2.5 is typically required. It is recommended that applicants be in good physical shape because occupational therapy assistants are required to lift patients and stand for long periods of time.
Curricula for occupational science associate's degree programs combine courses in social and behavioral sciences, general education and occupational science. Common courses include the following:
- Human development
- Pediatric occupational therapy
- Adult occupational therapy
- Group occupational therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Due to the aging U.S. population, employer demand for occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43% from 2010-2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs will be available in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, residential care facilities, nursing homes, hospices and adult day care centers. Occupational therapy assistants earn a median annual salary of $53,240 in 2012.
Continuing Education Information
Students who earn an associate's degree in the field of occupational science may transfer credits to a bachelor's or master's degree program in occupational science or related field. Most states require aspiring occupational therapists to pass a certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Graduates of occupational science associate's degree programs receive significant on-the-job training.
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