Occupational Therapy Expert Answers - Student Doctor Network Wiki

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Below are some frequently asked questions that have been answered by SDN Occupational Therapy experts.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please visit the SDN Confidential Consult forum to ask your question of our expert panel.

How important are observation hours when applying to OT?

How important are observation hours when applying to OT school? I’ve read of many people who are aides and have lots of hours racked up and I’m still a student so haven’t had the opportunity to do so.


Observation is very important for your own insight about the profession. You may need to talk with each program for suggestions on getting such experience and how much is needed to be considered seriously for their admission process.


Observation hours are important. Schools do want to see that you have seen how OT looks in the real world, but you don’t have to worry about competing with those who are aides and are able to rack up many, many hours. They understand that not every person has that opportunity. You may want to look into the schools you’re considering as many of them do have minimum observation hour requirements.

Which university will prepare me for OT school?

I am currently at a community college getting my AA and just recently decided that I want to be an occupational therapist. I am going to be transferring to a university to finish my bachelors, my two options are FAMU or FSU. FAMU offers a pre- occupational therapy degree and FSU offers an exercise physiology degree. Obviously at first glance FAMU sounds like the way to go but after talking to people that attend the school and doing my research FAMU seems to have a terrible reputation. Apparently their administration is awful and I know that a while back their OT program was put on probation. The good thing is that if I decide to go to FAMU, I would only have 3 semesters left at the community college and then I'll be able to transfer, plus it's way less money than FSU. If i decide to go to FSU, I'd still have another year left at the cc in order to get all my prerequisites. Also, I would have to take some classes that are not even required by the OT schools like organic bio. I do think that if I was to go to FAMU I'd probably be able to keep a higher GPA since their classes are probably easier and I won't have to take organic bio. So which school do you think would be better? Do you think OT schools/ employers care about where I got my bachelors?? At the end of the day, I want to go to the school that will bring me better opportunities and that will prepare me for OT school.


You would do well to ask the OT's that you have had a chance to observe regarding the reputation of the schools you are choosing from, but I'm going to guess that it does matter where you would get your bachelor's degree in their eyes. If what you are saying is true regarding the OT program at one school being on probation, you should ask a lot of questions on what they did to get off probation. You should also discover what is the difference in terms of practical experience, rigorous preclinical education, and job placement information.

Becoming an OTA with severe anxiety?

Im currently in school, working on the prerequisites for Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I have experience working in the mental health field at a cila home and private homes as a caregiver. I have dealt with severe anxiety/panic for most of my adult life and currently. My rosacea skin condition, lack of average social skills, and memory have been major counterparts. Which has fueled my moderate depression and severe social anxiety. I have seen a social worker and have taken a neurological evaluation. Some of the results were "borderline" on memory, critical thinking, and math. I was average in attention and spelling. I feel as though I will not be competent enough to pass through school and be successful as a OTA. I recently became certified as a CNA yet feel incompetent to progress. Ive struggled academically since grade school, terrified of speeches. and usually dreading social interaction. I want this career so much but feel its a waste of time. My logic is if I can barely manage social interaction currently how can I deal with it as a OTA in real critical confrontational situations? My alternative was trucking, which being a woman at 30 and has a child is not the best option. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


Hi there and thank you for posting a question to SDN Experts.

Based on your previous jobs, it sounds like you have a passion for helping others! I will respond to your question to the best of my abilities, given that I don't want to generalize information you've given me or make assumptions regarding the severity or nature of your condition. Certainly, working in any field can be hard for someone suffering from anxiety and/or depression. It sounds like you may have gotten an idea of what an OTA does in the field from being in your current position of CNA. Whether you have or haven't, I would still recommend shadowing an OTA in a few settings to better understand what the workload/demands are like within each setting and be able to appropriately gauge your comfort level. More importantly, however, I recommend seeking out psychotherapy if you haven't already. Depending on your options, finding someone who is a professional at working with those with anxiety/depression would be monumental in helping you traverse down this new career path and prepare you for OTA school.

I wish you the best of luck!