What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy provides a unique health and rehabilitation service to aid individuals with disabling conditions to become as independent as possible in carrying out their daily tasks. Occupational therapists may work with premature babies to develop the sucking and swallowing reflexes, children with cerebral palsy to reach and grasp an object, or adults who have suffered spinal cord damage in an automobile accident to re-learn the skills necessary to eat, bathe and dress themselves. Occupational therapists work in skilled nursing, clinical nursing, hospitals and school settings and may also work in industrial settings to promote injury prevention.
Although Wittenberg does not have its own school of occupational therapy, we offer a cooperative agreement with Washington University’s School of Occupational Therapy, as well as excellent preparation for admission to other occupational therapy programs.
Washington University School of Occupational Therapy:
Wittenberg has a 3-2 program in occupational therapy with Washington University in St. Louis (currently ranked first in the country). Students interested in this program spend their first three years at Wittenberg completing the general education program and a significant number of courses in biology, including the prerequisite courses for admission to Washington University. Students then apply for admission to the occupational therapy program at Washington University.
Upon acceptance, students begin work on a master’s degree and acquire knowledge in the basic and applied sciences, theory of occupational therapy and assessment practices. Students also complete an assistantship and work with Washington University faculty on research, teaching or the practice of occupational therapy. After completing the first year at Washington University, students receive a bachelor of arts (B.A.) from Wittenberg.
During the second year at Washington University, the program focuses on occupational therapy practice and the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Clientcentered approaches include direct intervention strategies, skill training, assistive technology, environmental modification, and client education and consultation. After the second year, students receive a master of science (M.S.) in occupational therapy and can pursue board certification. Students also have the option of continuing in the doctoral degree program.
Although Wittenberg students are not guaranteed admission to Washington University, the acceptance rate for our students has been 100 percent.
Wittenberg offers all courses required for admission to Washington University and other occupational therapy programs. The following courses are required for admission to Washington University (you must earn at least a B- in each course):
- One year of general biology
- One upper-level biology course from neurobiology, vertebrate zoology, genetics/molecular genetics or electron microscopy
- One semester of human anatomy and physiology
- Three two-credit psychology proseminars: abnormal psychology, developmental psychology and physiological psychology
- One semester of social science from sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, urban studies or psychology
- One semester of statistics: either math statistics or psychology statistics
You also must demonstrate proficiencies in medical terminology and computers, become certified in CPR and take the General GRE.
Facilities and equipment
Regardless of major, you will have access to modern equipment in the sciences as you take prerequisite courses for any of the health profession schools. The hands-on experience you receive in laboratory classes helps you apply theory to practice and develop critical thinking and research skills.
The biology department has both scanning and transmission electron microscopes in addition to a flow cytometer, DNA sequencer, PCR thermocycler and Biopac physiological data collection systems.
The chemistry department has Fourier Transform infrared and UVVis spectrometers, gas chromatographs (including a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer), liquid chromatographs and a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR), as well as molecular modeling and laser spectroscopy labs.
The psychology department has an extensive library of psychometric tests, state-of-the-art animal training facilities, modern psychophysiological recording equipment, computer facilities for data collection and analysis, and a suite of experimental rooms equipped with one-way mirrors for student research.
As a student interested in pursuing a career in the health fields, you will work one-on-one with the pre-health
advisers, who will ensure that you fulfill course requirements, provide access to internship and shadowing programs, and facilitate the health school application process.
Wittenberg offers a free MCAT/DAT/OAT/PCAT review program run by our students with the help of science faculty. The KAPLAN MCAT review course is also offered on campus for a fee.
While the numbers vary greatly, most occupational therapy programs require that you spend a specific number of paid or volunteer hours with an occupational therapist. The schools usually prefer that you spend time with an occupational therapist in at least two different settings (rehabilitation center, hospital, small occupational therapy
clinic, etc.) to better understand the breadth of the profession. Volunteering several hours each week during the semester demonstrates your loyalty and commitment to the profession.
Community Mercy Health Partners in Springfield provides formal internship opportunities in our local hospital system, and additional healthcare practitioners have formally agreed to mentor our junior and senior students in their private practice.
Pre-Health Professions Club:
Members are focused on attaining advanced degrees in a health field. They take field trips to academic conferences, bring in a variety of health care specialists to speak about their professions, organize first-aid and CPR certification classes, and educate others about health-related issues. Students administer full-length practice MCATs and enlist faculty to conduct review sessions for the MCAT, OAT, DAT and PCAT.
After graduating from Wittenberg, most students interested in occupational therapy enter master’s programs, which are typically two or three years and intended for college graduates who do not have a degree in occupational therapy. During the program, you will take the licensing examination to become a registered occupational therapist and gain graduate training.
Although admission to occupational therapy schools is competitive, Wittenberg students have enjoyed virtually a 100 percent placement rate.
Our graduates have been accepted to the following occupational therapy
schools in recent years:
- Chatham College
- Medical College of Ohio
- University of Indianapolis
- University of Southern California
- Washington University