5 Best occupational therapy programs in Virginia

You are right on your way to becoming a therapist. Therefore, it is important to consider the occupational therapy programs in Virginia.


However, remember for any good career choice, it is important to have a workable plan of action.

The first step you should take toward your goal of becoming a therapist is deciding which education program would be best for you to attend.


Firstly, you will have to decide what type of therapist you want to become. This will help you determine which qualification is right for you to attain and which university suits you best.

Some potential options include cognitive-behavioral therapists, mindfulness-based therapists, occupational therapists, marriage and family therapists, and child therapists.

In this article, we would be showing you some occupational therapy programs and courses required by therapists in Virginia. We would also include in the article other Programs in the US, and the UK and some online options.

5 Best Occupational Therapy Programs in Virginia

After graduating from high school, it takes about 7 to 15 years to become a therapist.


Although the basic degree to become a therapist is a Bachelor’s degree, some therapist certifications require further education.

For example, becoming a clinical or counseling psychologist typically takes at least three to four years of postgraduate training and real-world clinical experience to become certified.

Do you want to become a therapist without going through advanced doctoral training? Some therapy programs require a Master’s degree (It takes two to three years for this).

However, the programs vary based on location.

Here’s a list of some Universities in Virginia and their requirements.

  • James Madison University


The Occupational Therapy Program of James Madison University (JMU) is of the Department of Health Sciences College of Integrated Science and Technology.

Address: 801 Carrier Drive, MSC 4301 Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001

Current Program Director: Dr Jeffrey Loveland

Status: Accreditation

Available Certifications on Completion

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree (combined with the bachelor’s degree).


Range of Class Size: 20-25 students

Average Class Size: 23

Admission Requirements

A complete application for admission, minimum of 40 documented volunteer hours in an OT setting, 3 letters of recommendation, autobiography in 1,500 words or less, complete or be enrolled in prerequisite courses.

GPA Requirements: minimum 3.0 GPA, submit GRE scores

Phone: (540) 568-2399

Email: [email protected]

  • Radford University

This institution is among the top schools that offer occupational therapy programs in Virgia.

Department of Occupational Therapy

Address: P.O. Box 6985 Radford, VA 24142-6985

Current Program Director: Douglas M. Mitchell PhD, OTR/L

Status: Accreditation


Certification on Completion: Master’s degree

Range of Class Size: 15-30

Average Class Size: 22

Admission Requirements

Submit GRE scores, submit proof of volunteer or observation hours in OT setting, complete all prerequisite courses with minimum C grade average, complete application for admission

GPA Requirements: minimum of 3.5 GPA

Phone number: (540) 831-2693

Fax: (540) 831-6802 – OT department

Email Address: [email protected] or [email protected]

For more information, check their  Website:

  • Shenandoah University

Department/ College

Division of Occupational Therapy

Address: 333 West Cork Street, Suite 510 Winchester, VA 22601-5195

Current Program Director: Linda Burrow


Accorded Certification on Completion: Master’s degree and combined bachelor/master’s degree

Range of Class Size: 20 – 30

Average Class Size: 25

Admission Requirements: complete application for admission, submit all official transcripts, complete all prerequisite courses, and follow detailed instructions for the admission process through OTCAS

Phone number: (540) 665-555

Fax: (540) 665-4627 – admission’s office

Email Address: [email protected]

For more information, check out their Website:

  • Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Occupational Therapy Program

Address: 101 Elm Avenue, SE Roanoke, VA 24012-2222

Current Program Director: David Haynes, D.H.Sc.

Status: Accreditation


Certification on Completion: Master’s degree

Range of Class Size: 11 to 15

Average. Class Size: 13

Admission Requirements: complete application for admission, submit all official transcripts, submit ACT and SAT scores

Phone number: (540) 985-8594

Fax: (540) 224-4562 – registrar’s office

Email Address: [email protected]

For more information, check out their Website:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University

Address: Department of Occupational Therapy  730 E. Broad Street

P.O. Box 980008 Richmond, VA 23298-0008

Current Program Director: Dianne F. Simons, PhD, OTR/L

Status: Accreditation


Certification on Completion: Master’s degree

Range of Class Size: 30 to 35

Average. Class Size: 32

Admission Requirements: complete application for admission, complete all prerequisite courses, submit all official transcripts, submit standardized test scores, 3 letters of recommendation, statement of intent

GPA Requirement: minimum of 3.0 GPA.

Phone number: (804) 828-2219

Fax: (804) 828-0782 – OT department

Email address: [email protected]

For more information, check their Website:

Other Occupational Therapy Programs in the US

Here is a list of other occupational therapy programs to consider in the US.

  1. University of California – Los Angeles, CA, USA


According to a world report by the US News, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been ranked as the best in clinical psychology. If you want to become a clinical psychologist, this is the best option for you!

Throughout the teaching program at UCLA, students are involved in research, coursework, and clinical training.

Also, the program (for clinical psychology) has a stellar reputation, offers a PhD track, and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)

As a bonus, UCLA is located in Los Angeles with good weather conditions. If you are a student considering a comfortable, warm-weather climate to train in, you have the university of California.

  • Other Unique Characteristics at the University of California

A staff psychiatrist

Staff psychiatrists are available for consultation on medication at the on-site Psychology Clinic.

Students can make consultations with the available staff psychiatrist accorded to them either for personal reasons or for learning processes.

Training in Neuroscience and Human Behaviour

If students have an interest in neuroscience, training is conducted at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour.

  1. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA, USA

The University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia. It is listed among the top eight (8) schools in the US. It offers one of the occupational therapy programs in Virginia.

Therapy programs are highly effective in the university.

Unique Characteristics of the University of Pennsylvania

Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)

Penn’s therapy programs are APA accredited. However, a key difference is that students can gain even greater levels of expertise across subjects.

For example, students interested in studying psychology and law can go for a joint JD (Juris Doctorate) and Ph.D. program.

  1. Columbia University – New York, NY, USA


The University of Columbia is also among the top eight 8 schools in the United States (an Ivy League school)

There is a Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research that offers a two-year adult psychodynamic psychotherapy program. This program is complemented with weekly individual supervisory sessions.

  • Unique Characteristics of the University of Columbia

It has a child and adolescent program.

It has a parent-infant program specializing in treatment between mothers and infants.

It is also open to clinical social workers, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

It offers a year-long transference-focused psychotherapy program to train therapists to work with those with personality disorders.

Other Universities outside the US

Asides from the US, you may choose to consider other top Universities around the world that offer therapy programs.

  • Let us consider Therapy Programs in the United Kingdom.

Occupational Therapy Programs in the UK

  1. University of Warwick – Coventry, UK

If you want to live and work in London, this program should interest you.

The University of Warwick is located in Coventry, United Kingdom which is about 80 miles outside of London. It offers students a holistic approach to studying therapy through their Master of Science in Psychotherapy and Counseling.

The school was accredited by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). At the end of their program, they expect that students will work in a variety of settings, including the public and private sectors.

As an advantage, the master’s program covers a range of therapeutic approaches. Also, it focuses on the core element of teaching students the values of therapeutic relationships right from the first year of study.

  • Unique Characteristics of the University of Warwick

Warwick’s Master of Science in Psychotherapy and Counseling program is only offered on a part-time basis. It takes about three years to complete.

With the advantage of a part-time setting, the programs allow students to work and seek employment while they study.

Also, because of the range of therapeutic approaches, students are equipped with a variety of psychological skills.

Additionally, for an employment opportunity; with 100 hours of supervised clinical hours achieved during the course, students have the option to register as qualified Psychotherapeutic Counselors.

This means that students can earn an income while still working to earn their master’s degree. This is a potentially good reason to attend Warwick’s master’s program.

If you are interested in pursuing this program, it will be important to find ways to manage your time and make sure work schedules can fit around classes. Also keep in mind that as the program progresses, more time must be allocated to research.

  1. London South Bank University – London, UK


London South Bank University (LSBU) offers its students a Master of Science degree in Addiction Psychology and Counselling. That degree covers a working experience in the Addiction Field.

This program is also offered on a part-time basis only. Hence, you have the opportunity to work while studying. With that, it is a considerable option if you want to live, study and work in London.

London South Bank University was accredited by the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.

Early in the program, students are placed on training in addiction-specific sites both inside and outside of London.

In general, the program emphasizes theories associated with working with clients who have become addicted to substances.

  • Unique Characteristics of the University

Students must have an interest in working with addiction. Interestingly, the program also encourages students to learn from each other, and share experiences in experiential groups while practicing what is being learned.

Therefore, students can gain professional skills through practice in the addiction counseling module.

Also, students are encouraged to learn how to run therapy in groups as required with addiction work.

As a bonus, the university is placed in the heart of London.  This factor would enable students to have easier access to being placed in the heart of London, this program offers close access to – and potential training placements in – various addiction and treatment centres, which puts students studying at this university at an advantage.

Online Occupational Therapy Programs

While considering physical therapy programs, it is interesting to know that there are online Therapy Programs that you can take up to become certified therapists.

Here are some available options you can consider.

  • Piedmont’s Master of Arts (MA) in Professional Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Concentration

This program is a fully online graduate degree program consisting of 60 semester credit hours, including 9 hours of supervised field experience (practicum and internship).

For the field experience, faculty and staff assist students in working with an approved clinical site for their practicum and internship.

Piedmont offers a flexible program while preparing students through practitioner-oriented education and extensive clinical instruction. Piedmont’s MA in Professional Counseling makes it possible to take courses online while balancing work, childcare, family, and life. Graduates can complete the program in 2.5 years (7 semesters/9 semester credit hours per semester).

  1. Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University offers an affordable online Masters’s in Occupational Therapy. However, the program is not strictly online.

It will be delivered in three parts: weekend classes, online classes, and community placement. Students can expect 5 semesters of full-time coursework, and then two 12-week fieldwork placements.

Courses include Occupational Development Across the Lifespan, Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology, Pediatric Interventions, and Psychological/Behavioral Foundations and Intervention. The MOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Conclusion on the Occupational Therapy Programs in Virginia

As we have seen, therapy programs can be general or specific, online and offline.

However, the most important factor you must consider before enrolling is the idea of what kind of therapist you want to be.

Consider the following:

  1. Can you afford full-time study?
  2. Do you want to work while studying?
  3. Do you prefer a big city or a reserved environment?
  4. Do you prefer the online or offline option?
  5. Do you have any specific areas of interest, such as addicts, groups, families, or art?
  6. Or do you prefer a general study?

Once you understand these points, you can make a decision on which therapy program is best for you.

Note that not all therapy programs are the same. Different Universities offer different therapy options. Hence, ensure your choice aligns with the kind of therapist you want to become. This will go a long way to determine your success.

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