(Please click on the question to find the answer to each question).
We do not require a minimum number of volunteer hours in an OT setting. The application to Puget Sound Occupational Therapy Program does require that you submit a letter of reference from a registered occupational therapist who has observed you in a health care setting long enough to make a fair appraisal about your promise as a future OT. This reference should be uploaded via your OTCAS application by 8.59 p.m. PST December 1.
The more pre-requisite courses you have completed at the time of application the better. Strong showing in these courses is a plus for you in our selection process. They do not all need to be finished at that time; however, they must be finished before the start of the fall semester when you begin OT courses.
No. Only in very exceptional circumstances would we accept demonstrated expertise in the pre-requisite topic in lieu of the course itself. This expertise would have to include both theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
This may sound simple but it is important: follow the directions on the essay portion of the application. It is an important piece. Be sure to answer all questions, proofread, and show us your best writing. Make sure your essay communicates who you are as a person by being creative, unique, or humorous. Your essay will likely be stronger if you get exposure to the breadth of the profession by observing or talking to occupational therapists in diverse treatment areas. Your essay should be emailed directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 8:59 p.m. PST December 1.
Follow the directions for the letters of reference carefully. You must submit one letter from a registered occupational therapist who has observed you long enough to be able to speak to your potential as a future therapist. One letter must be from a former professor who can address your characteristics and abilities as a student. The third letter must be from an employer. Select these people carefully. They should be people who know you well enough to complete an honest and persuasive reference for you. All letters of reference are to be submitted via OTCAS by 8.59 p.m. PST December 1.
In addition to the regular financial aid available to any graduate student there are a small number of fellowships given by the department to first year master students whose applications were exceptionally strong. These fellowships are renewable for the second year of study if you are making satisfactory progress in your courses. For second year students who are taking courses full time there are a few OT departmental scholarships available which are granted to students on the basis of their academic performance and contributions to the program, including to the learning of peers. There are also a few special work study positions within the department for teaching assistants in the functional anatomy, neuroscience, pediatric/adult neuro and performance adaptation courses. These are usually held by second year students. There is also a course assistant assigned to the technology lab who is either a first or second year OT student.
Beginning with the first semester you will do clinic visits, client interviews, and possibly some hands-on interactions, over about twelve hours. In the third semester you will perform a job analysis outside the OT department that requires observation, measurements, and communication with clients and supervisors. During this same semester you will also participate in a community-based clinical treatment course covering mental health issues. The theory/lab treatment courses of the second, third and fourth semesters include several laboratory assignments that include client contact (about 24 hours) and you will provide consultation to ongoing physical therapy clinics. In your final semester you will be enrolled in two applied clinical treatment courses covering both pediatric and adult conditions, where you will evaluate and treat clients in the on-campus clinic.
Part-time study is not recommended, although it is possible, with the approval of the OT faculty. You must fill out a petition, including the exact planned course of study over (usually) three academic years.
What would be best will vary considerably according to the student and the type of work. During the first semester we strongly recommend that students not commit themselves to working more than 15 hours per week.
Each OT class consists of 32 students, with two classes attending the program on campus at any one time. With the equivalent of 6.5 full-time faculty, the faculty/student ratio is currently about 1 to 7.
In OT courses the number of students in the classroom at a given time ranges from 10 to 32.
Occupational therapy is one of the most diverse of health care professions. Jobs are available in hospitals, public school systems, rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, hand therapy clinics, assisted living facilities, residential treatment facilities, injured worker clinics, community-based early intervention programs, and in corporations and communities performing preventative health care and wellness programs. Part-time, full-time, traveling, and on-call work is available.
The most satisfying aspect of an OT career is making a positive impact in the lives of clients served. Occupational therapists work closely with persons experiencing occupational limitations in the broadest possible sense- for medical, physical, cognitive, emotional, experiential, and spiritual reasons- to maximize their participation in daily life through the pursuit of meaningful, purposeful activities. Therapists must be excellent observers of human behavior, good problem-solvers, great listeners, and persistent advocates for their clients, in order to diagnose the causes of their clients' limitations and to find the most effective means of collaborating with their clients to achieve meaningful solutions. Effective occupational therapists display a combination of creative and pragmatic approaches, along with excellent interpersonal communication skills, in working with people.
There are still an abundance of opportunities for specialization in OT once you have graduated, passed the certification exam, and begun entry level practice in the field. Probably the most frequently pursued specializations are in techniques of adult rehabilitation, pediatric assessment and treatment, and hand therapy. In addition, there are hundreds of topics that therapists study through continuing education that span the gamut from biofeedback and myofascial release to advanced cognitive rehabilitation and driver training.
The possibilities for working in different settings with unusual populations also abound. There continue to be unmet occupational needs of people in assisted living communities, Native American health centers, prisons and detention centers, industrial and corporate settings, in rural communities, and in school systems. The education you will receive as an occupational therapy student will provide you with the physical skills, professional attitudes, and critical thinking tools to make a significant contribution in many settings for many people who have not traditionally been served by OT.