3 Best Occupational Therapy Programs in Minnesota

Occupational therapists work with children and adults who have difficulty performing daily activities or are at risk of having difficulty.

Occupational therapists are important members of an intervention team, working with individuals and their families, physicians, physical and speech therapists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, vocational counselors, teachers, and other specialists to encourage active participation in daily life.

An occupational therapist,  will assess the patient’s important activities and teach them how to become independent again after surgery, allowing them to resume the roles that define who they are.


Required Education

To become a licensed practitioner, occupational therapy, like many other healthcare professions, requires extensive education and training.

Most OTs enter the workforce with at least a master’s degree in occupational therapy, though some choose to further their education with a doctorate. Graduates must take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy national exam in addition to earning a master’s degree from an accredited program (NBCOT).

Related: 4 Best Occupational Therapy Programs in Kentucky

While requirements vary by state, all states require practitioners to pass the NBCOT exam in order to obtain the title “Occupational Therapist, Registered” (OTR) and state licensure.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) also offers various board and specialty certifications for occupational therapists who want to demonstrate their advanced skills in a specific area of practice.

  1. Gerontology
  2. Mental Health
  3. Pediatrics
  4. Physical Rehabilitation
  5. Driving and Community Mobility
  6. Environmental Modification
  7. Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing
  8. Low Vision
  9. School Systems

Skills required

While occupational therapists come from all walks of life, there are a few key characteristics that suit the nature of the job.

To work in the best interests of their patients, for example, these professionals must have a strong sense of compassion and empathy.

Indeed, many occupational therapists choose this profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of others. Aside from a people-oriented mindset, occupational therapists should have a variety of skills to be successful in the field. Here are a few examples:

Communication skills: In order to effectively understand their patients’ needs and explain the treatment process, occupational therapists must have strong written and verbal communication skills. In addition, they must be able to clearly document treatment plans and progress while collaborating with other healthcare professionals.

Problem Solving: Because no two cases are alike, good OTs must be excellent problem solvers in order to determine the best course of action for each individual situation.

Patience and flexibility: Restoring a patient’s independence can take a long time in occupational therapy. Good OTs must be patient and adaptable when dealing with the ups and downs of this process.

Occupational Therapy Programs in Minnesota

There are three occupational therapy schools offering occupational therapy Programs in Minnesota.

1. The College of St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica is an independent private college with campuses throughout Minnesota, including their original Duluth campus.

Enrollment in their undergraduate and graduate programs has increased from 2,200 to 4,000 in the last decade, thanks in part to their commitment to providing high-quality education online and through convenient evening and weekend formats.

The College of St. Scholastica is dedicated to providing an exceptional value for a comprehensive educational experience to all undergraduate, graduate, and adult students. As St. Scholastica continues to cultivate a dynamic intellectual environment based on academic excellence, rigor, and integrity, highly competitive tuition becomes a true investment.

Students gain more than knowledge as a result of engaged learning, deep reflection, and curricula that develop 21st-century skills; they develop the personal ambition and broad perspective that form the foundations for a fulfilling life and career. The OT school at College of St. Scholastica has cutting-edge labs and classrooms.

The OT school is affiliated with Maurices Community Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic where students gain supervised hands-on experience working with the uninsured or underinsured. The OT program emphasizes experiential learning and encourages students to participate in original research projects.

Address: 1200 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811, United States

Contact: +1 800-447-5444

2. St. Catherine University

With a baccalaureate college for women at the heart of the University, as well as graduate and adult colleges for women and men, they welcome a diverse range of students. St. Catherine University, which is dedicated to excellence and opportunity, develops leaders who act with integrity.

Their mission is supported by three endowed chairs and is founded on three core principles: women, Catholicism, and liberal arts. Their vision is to be known around the world for educating women who changed the world.

St. Catherine University, which has been recognized as a scholar and leader in occupational therapy education for over 75 years, continues this tradition by offering a path to a doctorate degree in just over three years.

The graduate OT science-based curriculum is intertwined with the liberal arts education at the University, and it provides you with a foundation in four major populations and practice areas: pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and rehabilitation.

Fieldwork opportunities in diverse communities allow you to deepen your understanding of the social determinants of health and their effects on various populations, practice cultural fluency skills, and share caring strategies to improve lives locally and globally.

Capstone courses provide opportunities for you to gain advanced knowledge and skills in leadership, advocacy, quality improvement, educational methods, and clinical practice. St. Catherine’s Occupational Therapy has a long history of excellence in occupational therapy education and professional leadership.

The department offers the most extensive selection of occupational therapy programs in the country, with options at the associate, master’s, and doctoral levels. St. Catherine University’s OT school offers two entry-level programs.

One is a master of occupational therapy program, and the other is a dual degree in occupational therapy. Instead of a Master of Science degree, the OT school offers a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy (MAOT).

Address: 2004 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105, United States

Contact: +1 651-829-8801

3. University of Minnesota

They seek new knowledge that can change how they all work and live at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. They prepare students to face the great challenges that their state, nation, and world face. And they use their knowledge and experience as students, faculty, and staff to engage with communities throughout Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota Occupational Therapy Program’s (OT) mission is to educate leaders in occupational therapy through innovative experience-based education and research to advance the science of OT and promote the health and quality of life of individuals, communities, and societies. Empathy, expertise, teamwork, results, and leadership are all important to them.

Their program provides a 37-month, 116-credit graduate-level professional program that is completed in nine semesters. Graduates of the program will be eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy’s National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist (NBCOT).

After passing this examination, the graduate will be a registered occupational therapist (OTR). The OT school focuses on research excellence, teaching excellence, learning location options, and easy access to Learning Materials.

The curriculum employs a hybrid educational approach that combines online and in-person instruction (75% online and 25% in-person). Students visit campus for varying amounts of time each semester to interact with other students and faculty. The OT school also offers a Ph.D. program in Rehabilitation Science, which is a good option for therapists who want to become OT educators or researchers.

Address: Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States

Contact: +1 612-625-5000

A final thought about the Occupational Therapy Programs in Minnesota

Occupational therapists assess a person’s physical capacities, cognitive skills, emotional responses, and social adjustment; environmental factors in their lives such as their physical, social, and virtual environments; and performance factors related to the activities that fill their day or how their communities support people with disabilities.

These assessments enable occupational therapists to intervene and help people in their communities achieve the highest level of function and participation possible.

This includes the use of therapeutic activities, adaptive equipment, and the training of individuals in specialized techniques. Occupational therapists also work as managers, rehabilitation team leaders, and researchers who study the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. In Minnesota, how much does a COTA make?

In Minnesota, the average hourly wage for a certified occupational therapy assistant is $32.93 per hour. There were 87 reported salaries as of July 25, 2022.

  1. How long does it take to get an occupational therapy license in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, receiving your occupational therapy license usually takes between one and two weeks. This is quick in comparison to other occupational therapy licenses in the United States.

  1. Is there an Occupational Therapy program at the University of Minnesota?

The University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy (OT) program is the state’s only public doctoral-level OT program and one of the oldest in the country.

  1. Can I get into OT school despite having a low GPA?

With a lower GPA, you can absolutely get into OT school. I concentrated on performing well on the GRE, writing an outstanding personal statement, completing a large number of observation hours, and obtaining positive letters of recommendation.

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