Occupational Therapy Schools California

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Starting your career can be very exciting and lead to many excellent opportunities in the future. Before starting your career, you need to get the right education so that you have the skills and knowledge to offer your help to the world. If you are looking into the occupational therapy, then getting the right education is more important than many other fields.

In California, your options are plentiful for obtaining an education and degree that will help you succeed in your future career pursuits. In this article, we will first look at the basics of what OT is and why it is important to pick the right school for your goals. After that, we will take a deeper dive into some other aspects of OT schools that you need to take into consideration before picking the best school for your needs. We hope that the value and information you get from this article allows you to make the best decision for your future and gets you on track to the occupational therapy school of your dreams.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Before we look into the best schools and options for occupational therapists in California, we first need to understand what exactly and occupational therapist is. Additionally, we will also look into some of the ways that they can use their skills to help people live better lives. At the root of the job, an occupational therapist is focused on improving the quality of life of others who may be facing some difficulties or struggles in everyday life.

Where a traditional doctor looks at a person from a medical perspective to try and determine what is wrong with them, an occupational therapy specialist will try to ask the person what it is they want to improve. Whether it is helping children with special needs https://youtu.be/1ZyH2iu_ol8

prepare for school or helping injured athletes get back to normal living, the wide variety of occupation therapy roles allows the practitioners to help a wide variety of people get back to their ideal living standards.

Think of an OT specialist like a personal trainer for those with extra struggles in life. Where a personal trainer develops a fitness plan and diet for clients, an occupational therapist will try to help and create a plan for helping those with certain disabilities adapt to every day living. The work of an OT specialist revolves around patient care and is set up to help understand the living situations and desires of the patient so that the specialist can do everything in their power to understand and help make life better.

Importance of Picking the Right School

Just like any other career path, the school you pick can have a serious impact on your future success and business outcomes. With occupational therapy, picking the right school is especially important. The reason that you school is so important is because it is the foundation for your OT career and can have a serious impact on job placement and future learning potential.

If you are heading to college for the first time, picking the right school and program is likely the most important decision you have had to make so far. When looking at colleges and OT schools, look for programs that fit your needs and goals so that you can get your certification as easily as possible. Luckily for new students, California has a vast array of great colleges that also offer OT tracks for undergraduate students to take part in and complete their full education in less time.

If you already have your undergraduate college degree, there are still plenty of options for you to get your OT education. When you are looking for a masters or graduate program for OT, you have many great options that will help get you the education and experience you need to start your career with a serious advantage.

How these Schools Help you

Just like a doctor who goes to medical school to get their license, an occupational therapist will need the same essential help from their school of choice. In California, you are required to have an occupational therapy license if you are looking to practice. When you enroll in a certified program offered by most college OT programs, you will be provided with a structured outline for how you should go about obtaining your license.

While there are some certified online programs that can help you get your certification for practicing, going to a school and having real instruction will be much more valuable. The schools that are setup to get you your certificate will have you attend lectures, listen to experts, and get hands one experience that will all add up to make you a competent and capable OT specialist.

What to look for in your Occupational Therapy School

To help you pick the best school for your specific needs we will look at some general categories to research about each school you are applying to. Some schools are much different than others, so understanding what some of your options and learn experiences may look like will help you pick the school that is right for you.


The first stage of getting into any college or master’s program is the application. Applications for educational institutions can vary greatly in length and requirements that may make some programs more or less appealing. In the modern age, you have many more options to apply with than previously existed, so you can apply to more schools than ever before with relative ease.

In California, you have the option to apply to individual universities through their own website, and some have the option to apply through OTCAS. OTCAS is the Occupational Therapy Association of California, and they are responsible for ensuring that people are able to get enrolled and succeed through occupational therapy instruction.

When you apply for a seat in any of the programs available, they will generally have things like a minimum GPA, score requirements, and some prefer to see a certain number of service hours. The admission process with look much different for someone applying to an undergraduate program than it would if you are going right to the master’s admission process.

Class Size

Learning how to become an OT can be a very demanding and engaging experience that requires you to really understand the materials that are being covered. Because of this, most class sizes for these types of programs are rather small compared to less involved college programs. For example, the average class size for an OT program can range anywhere from just 15 students all the way up to around 65.

Class size not only refers to the amount of people you will be having in each class you take, but it also refers to how many people are likely to be accepted. With such a competitive number like 15, these universities will generally look for high-quality students to admit into their program with such a small class capacity.

Depending on the classes you take, the actual number of students you are taking them with may vary to a substantial degree. Your general education classes like English and biology could have a few hundred students, but your core OT classes will be much smaller. Finding a class size that you feel suits your learning style and goals will help you learn at your preferred pace and comfort level.


Depending on where you are currently from, the location you choose to learn at may be a very important or very minor decision you have to make. California is a rather large state and has colleges and OT schools all over it in different areas. The location of a school can have several major impacts on the overall experience that not all students remember to consider.

Schools that are located near bigger cities may have a larger student body and more living options if you are looking to live on campus. Additionally, a city campus make be very inconvenient to your learning if you plan to commute to school and would have to sit in lots of traffic every day. Finding a campus that fits your needs and lifestyle will keep you motivated to go back and put in your maximum effort to learn and grow on campus.

When it comes to an OT perspective, you also need to keep in mind what options for work and growth your location offers. Finding a campus that has nearby locations and facilities that allow you to improve your skills and learn will be a huge benefit. A location with dedicated OT facilities nearby will allow you to volunteer and gain priceless experience throughout your academic journey.


While numbers aren’t everything, many people feel that an institutions rankings can offer a very representative look into how a school prepares students for work. The rankings a school gets come from a combination of student performance, faculty rankings, and many other aspects that all create the learning experience.

Going to a school with higher rankings offers you a potentially improved learning experience that has been backed up with evidence and proof of esteem. Not only could this have a positive impact on your learning outcome, but it could also really help you in the job market if your employer sees you have been trained and studied at a prestigious school.

The medical field especially holds a high level of value on where people study and learn their trade. Going to the right school with a well-respected OT program could be just what you need to get you the job of your dreams.


As we briefly mentioned earlier, every OT school will require you to fill out some form of application. What that application has can vary greatly as different schools look for different requirements. Some schools want you to have already taken certain courses and others would rather see you have letters of recommendation.

No matter what requirements a school has, make sure you list out what they are well before making your application decision. Considering that some requirements take substantial time and effort to get sorted out, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to improve your chances of acceptance.

Types of Occupational Therapy School Programs

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Now that we know just what it takes to understand what program you should look for, lets look at the two primary programs offered for occupational therapy. These programs are pre-occupational therapy tracks and fully devoted master’s programs. Let’s see what makes each one unique.

Pre-OT Track

Just like you can go to college with a pre-med track to become a doctor, many universities offer a similar program for OT students. What these types of courses do is get you on track to graduate with an undergraduate degree and a master’s in occupational therapy in one go. This means that you will save time and money by not having to go to a separate master’s program at another university by completing all of your education and masters needs at once.

Masters Programs

If you have already completed your undergraduate studies, then you are likely looking for a master’s in occupational therapy program. Unlike the other option where you are put on an OT path from the start of your college journey, this path allows you to go to a variety of different schools. Looking for a master’s program means that you can look at more options than a pre-planned track that all remains at one university.


No matter where you are in your occupational therapy journey, there is always something to be learned. In California, you have more options than nearly anywhere else for pursuing your OT dreams and education. Understanding what it takes to make it as an occupational therapist will help you to help others get their lives on track and where they want to be. We hope our article and advice has given you some insight into the OT education process so you can start applying today!