Top 13 Occupational Therapy Programs In Florida in 2022

What stops you from becoming one of the best occupational therapists in Florida? Is the difficulty in looking for the schools one of them? Then, you are definitely in the right place as we have compiled a list of top occupational therapy programs in Florida.

From the American Occupational Therapy Association’s report, Florida currently has about 24 accredited OT programs. That is, 10 ACOTE accredited occupational therapy schools that offer entry-level masters degree and 3 accredited schools for doctoral programs. In addition, 11 ACOTE accredited occupational therapy assistant schools that offer associate degrees.

These OT schools in Florida will train you to become one of the best occupational therapists (OT) or occupational therapy assistants (OTA) ever.

Therefore, this article will explain in detail what occupational therapy is, who an occupational therapist or assistant is, their duties, salaries and job outlook. Also, vital information on the top occupational therapy programs in Florida, schools that offer them, ranking system, as well as, FAQs on the topic.

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Both the young and the old have all have a common job and that is the job of living. However, several challenges may hinder us from enjoying this and this is where occupational therapy practitioners come in.

Occupational therapy is a client-centered allied health profession that uses assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the significant activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities. In other words, its focus is on promoting health and well-being through occupation.

OT treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), it is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).

In occupational therapy, occupation refers to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families, and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. It includes things people need to, want to, and are expected to do.

For instance, everyone has an occupation of living. Some of the occupations of life include: are among the “occupations” of life. 

  • Learning
  • Growing
  • Playing
  • Working
  • Managing our homes
  • Caring for our families

Occupational Therapy Treatment

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to help people participate in the activities of their everyday lives. It teaches us how to adjust by providing treatment that can help if you have pain, injury, illness, or a disability that makes it hard for you to do your job or schoolwork, care for yourself, complete household chores, move around, or take part in activities.

From the explanation above, we can see that just like adults, children can also receive occupational therapy treatments. This is because a child’s main job is playing and learning. Therefore, occupational therapists can evaluate kids’ skills for playing, school performance, and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.

Occupational therapy treatments are carried out by both the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant.

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Who is an Occupational Therapist?

According to Wikipedia, an occupational therapist (OT) is a health care professional who uses evidence-based practice, research, scientific evidence, and a holistic perspective to promote independence, meaningful occupations, and the patient’s functional ability to achieve daily routines/roles of choice. 

They treat people with injury, illness, disability, or psychological dysfunction through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.

What do Occupational Therapists Earn?

From the report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, typically, occupational therapists earn $84,270 per year that is, $40.51 per hour.

However, from Glassdoor’s report, an occupational therapist earns $80,782/yr.

What is the Job Outlook of Occupational Therapists?

According to BLS, the employment of occupational therapists is expected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Furthermore, occupational therapy will continue to be an essential part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.

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Who is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

An occupational therapy assistant helps patients develop, recover, improve, and also, maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. They can work in occupational therapists’ offices, in hospitals, and in nursing care facilities.

What do Occupational Therapy Assistants earn?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of OTAs is $57,620 per year and
$27.70 per hour. Also, the report states the median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants as of 2018 as $60,220. 

Meanwhile, Glassdoor reports that occupational therapy assistants earn $30/hr.

What is the Job Outlook for OTAs?

Still from BLS, the overall employment of occupational therapy assistants and aides is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Occupational Therapy In Florida

Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities. From the statistics above, you can say that occupational therapy is a profession that will last the test of time.

Therefore, to pursue a career in occupational therapy, then, you need to enroll in occupational therapy (OT) or occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program. In Florida, most OT programs are offered at the master’s level while OTA programs are majorly offered at the associate level.

Notwithstanding, occupational therapy practitioners and students in Florida belong to an association; Florida Occupational Therapy Association (FOTA).

Incorporated on October 7, 1997, FOTA is a state-based professional organization and public voice for the occupational therapy profession in Florida. It is a non-profit volunteer organization that provides a professional community for its members.

The main role of the association is to promote the occupational therapy profession, create public awareness, support the therapist in continuing education, improve and maintain the quality of the occupational therapy profession in the state of Florida. The FOTA is an affiliated state body of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Other important bodies

Ranking Factors for Occupational Therapy Programs in Florida

Below are the factors used in ranking the top occupational therapy programs in Florida.

  • Employability ratio
  • Number of programs
  • Acceptance rate
  • Exam Success rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Accreditation

Occupational Therapy Schools in Florida

Using the ranking factors above below is the list of the top 13 schools for occupational therapy programs in Florida:

  • AdventHealth University
  • Barry University
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale Campus
  • Florida International University
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • University of Florida
  • The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences-Florida Campus
  • The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences-Miami Campus

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University of Florida

P.O. Box 100164 Gainesville, FL 32611-0154

Graduation Rate

Students to Faculty Ratio

Since 1961, the University of Florida OT program has received continued accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®).

Currently, the UF Department of Occupational Therapy offers an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) beginning from the Fall semester of 2018. The program has recently got the Candidacy Status by the ACOTE.

The Masters of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program has ACOTE accreditation status. However, the MOT program has stopped accepting new intake for proper transitioning to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD). Notwithstanding, current students and UF Pre-OT Health Science students are allowed to complete their degree programs.

Biology with lab; Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab; Abnormal Psychology; Introduction to Statistics; Sociology or Anthropology; Oral Communications ( public speaking, therapeutic or personal communication); Medical Terminology.

PROGRAM LINK

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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Nova Southeastern University

3200 S. University Drive Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33328-2018

Masters Graduation Rate

Masters; 97%

Doctorate Graduation Rate

85%

Nova Southeastern University offers 2 entry-level occupational therapy programs: Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) & Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD).

In addition, NSU also offers 2 post-professional occupational therapy programs: a Clinical Doctorate (Dr.OT) & Research Doctorate (Ph.D.). The OT post-professional programs are online programs

  • Human anatomy and physiology (including lab)
  • Physics with lab (general, college) OR Kinesiology
  • Biology with lab (introduction, general, or principles of)
  • English composition Other humanities (e.g. art, communications, literature, foreign language, history, philosophy.
  • Psychology.
  • Human growth and development or developmental psychology.
  • Other social sciences (e.g. ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, ethics).
  • Statistics.
  • Medical terminology (college).

PROGRAM LINK

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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Click here to apply for the Florida Gulf Coast University Scholarship.

Click here to read more about Barry University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

334 Palmer Avenue, Room 318 Tallahassee, FL 32307-3500

Tuition

$3,651.00 (for 9 credits per term)

Students to Faculty Ratio

The Division of Occupational Therapy, one of the five Divisions within the School of Allied Health Sciences, was established in 1989.  Before now, the university offered bachelor’s degree programs in occupational therapy with over 200 students graduating from the program before the program’s transition to an entry-level master’s program. However, as of 2006, the last set of students graduated from the program with the first set of masters in the OT program graduating in 2007.

Basically, a master’s in occupational degree program consists of 81 credit hours, including 2 years of academic coursework and 6 months of fieldwork.

General biology and labHuman growth and development or lifespan class fundamentals of chemistry college physics and lab or kinesiology anatomy and Physiology I and IIIntroduction to psychology abnormal psychology research

AdventHealth University

671 Winyah Drive Orlando, FL 32803

Tuition
  • Masters – $72,000 (for 7 trimesters)
  • Associate Degree – $42,325 (for 3 semesters)
Students to Faculty Ratio

8:1

The Occupational Therapy Department provides an environment where students can pursue expertise in occupational therapy same time, developing themselves spiritually, intellectually, and socially.  The university offers both accredited masters and associate degree programs in occupational therapy.

In addition, this OT school provides standard facilities to the students. For instance, there are so many important labs in the department such as the occupation lab, occupational therapy performance lab, and skills therapy.

  • A bachelor’s degree;
  • GPA of 3.0 or better in all college coursework;
  • GRE score (combined score – 300, writing 4.0)
  • 3 letters of reference;
  • A personal statement;
  • An essay;
  • A resume
  • English proficiency
Masters Program

Typically, a master’s of science degree in OT consists of 27 months of course work broken into 5 trimesters of on-campus work and 2 trimesters of a full-time internship

Prerequisite Course work
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II (with labs);
  • General Psychology;
  • Developmental Psychology;
  • Abnormal Psychology;
  • Sociology/Anthropology;
  • Statistics;
  • Medical Terminology;
  • Four credits of biology, physics, or chemistry with lab.
Associate Degree

With a graduation rate of 97%, the occupational therapy assistant program provides core and program-specific classes that prepare students for handling real-world situations with a human touch while upholding the highest professional standards.

Furthermore, the program consists of 4 core areas of practice:

  • psychosocial
  • geriatrics
  • adults with physical disabilities
  • pediatrics.

Each core class has a corresponding practicum, which gives students the room to learn in the classroom while applying their knowledge in a clinical setting. 

Basically, an associate degree for occupational therapy assistants consists of three semesters.

The first two semesters have one OTA class each with several general education courses.

On the other hand, the last semester of the OTA program consists of two (2), eight (8) week level II internships.

For more information on the AdventHealth University, visit the link below:

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale Campus

1500 NW 49th Street Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309

Students to Faculty Ratio

keiser University is one of the top occupational therapy schools. It offers the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) Bridge Program for the Certified Occupational therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, the OT program includes an on-campus and online way of learning. Furthermore, the occupational therapy program integrates didactic, face-to-face, and clinical experiences to prepare students to achieve success on the NBCOT® exam.

  • Abnormal Psychology;
  • Life Span Development.
  • Human Anatomy
  • Physiology I & II with lab;
  • Statistics;
  • College Algebra;
  • English Composition I & II;
  • Introduction to Psychology;

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Florida Campus – 1 University Boulevard St. Augustine, FL 32086-5783
Miami Campus – 11410 NW 20th Street Miami, FL 33172

Masters Tuition
  • $14,022 per trimester for Full-Time MOT students
  • $8,824 per trimester for Flex MOT students  
Doctorate Tuition

Full time – $12,948 per trimester for OTD students 

The University of St. Augustine offers a master of occupational therapy program at 3 different campuses, 2 in Florida and one in Texas. Also, all the MOT programs are accredited by the ACOTE.

USAHS offers two tracks towards the MOT: residential and flex (weekends and online). The residential/full-time programs last for 2 years that is, 6 trimesters. On the other hand, the flex (online/weekend) MOT programs last for 3 years; 9 trimesters.

In addition, USAHS offers a doctorate program in occupational therapy at the Florida main campus. Furthermore, they offer their students two different paths to earn their Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree. While the full-time program lasts for 2.7 years with 117 credit hours over 8 trimesters, the flex program lasts for 4 years with 117 credit hours over 12 trimesters

  • Biology with lab;
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab;
  • Abnormal Psychology;
  • Introduction to Statistics;
  • Sociology or Anthropology;
  • Oral Communications ( public speaking, therapeutic or personal communication);
  • Medical Terminology.

Gannon University – Florida Campus

105 Commercial Center Drive Ruskin, FL 33570

Tuition

$17,110 per semester    

Students to Faculty Ratio

Ganon University is one of the top schools to enroll in for an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. This program is a Bachelor’s to Doctorate program that offers opportunities for in-depth study of, and clinical experiences with, clients of all ages who have limited capacity to perform to their expectations in their everyday lives or are at risk of developing a limiting condition. 

  • Intro to Psychology
  • Psychopathology or Abnormal Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology  throughout the lifespan or equivalent
  • Intro to Sociology or a course in diversity
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab (total of 8 credits)
  • Physics I
  • Statistics

Accredited Schools For An Associate Degree Program in Occupational Therapy

Below is a list of ACOTE accredited schools that offer associate degree programs in occupational therapy in Florida. Do well to click on any of these OT schools for more information on the program.

Frequently Asked Questions on Top Occupational Therapy Programs in Florida (FAQs)

Who does an occupational therapist treat?

An occupational therapist works with people of all ages, from premature babies to young children, adults in midlife, and seniors.

What type of bachelor’s degree is required for a master’s degree in occupationa therapy?

Students with a bachelor’s degree in any field may apply to the program. However, having a bachelor degree in a related course and meeting up with the requisite course works will be an added advantage.

Who is a typical Occupational Therapy Assistant student?

OTA program accepts students from numerous age levels and backgrounds. A typical class might include recent high school graduates, single parents, individuals seeking a career change, and adults re-entering the workforce.

Notwithstanding, a mature and committed student makes for a successful OTA.

How long does it take to earn a masters of occupational therapy degree?

A master’s degree is the entry level for becoming a practicing occupational therapist, and admission to occupational therapy degree programs is competitive.

An average master’s degree program takes a student two to three years to complete.

How do I become an occupational therapist in Florida?

To become an occupational therapiust in Florida, you must follow these steps:

1. Earn a masters degree in occupational therapy from an accredited school.
2. Complete the Internship.
3. Get a National Certification in OT.
4. Apply for Licensure.
5. Maintain Professional Credentials.

Are there any online occupational therapy programs?

Yes, there are online OT programs. However, according to Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, there are currently no accredited entry-level occupational therapy programs offered entirely online.

Notwithstanding, many OT programs offer some courses or parts of courses online.

Conclusion

From the report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapy is projected to be among the fastest-growing careers in the United States. Therefore, pursuing a career in occupational therapy will certainly not be a bad idea.

I hope this article guide you as you make your choice.

Good Luck and Success!!!

References

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