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Can a Bachelor Degree in Psychology Lead to Occupational Therapy Jobs?

College students who have an idea of what they would like to do someday often know exactly what major to choose. However, some struggle because they do not know what career path they want when they enter school. Guidance counselors will often direct them to a “neutral” major that can lead to any different careers. One of these is psychology.
 
If you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, could you purse a career in occupational therapy? The answer is yes, but you will need further training and certification.
 
What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a line of work wherein a therapist helps patients with their everyday tasks. These patients suffer from a disabling condition, such as a developmental delay, physical disability, mental handicap, or emotional problem. This can be something the patient is born with, such as mental retardation, or it could be a result of an accident or the natural aging process.
 
Occupational therapists help patients develop or improve motor skills and reasoning abilities. If some of these functions are lost, the therapist will work with the patient to compensate for this. The end goal is for the patient to be able to live a productive and satisfying life as independently as the disability allows.
 
Because occupational therapists are working with emotionally or developmentally disabled individuals, a degree in psychology can help. The therapist needs to be able to help the patient deal with his or her emotions, learn cognitive skills, and create helps that will make functioning in the day-to-day world more possible. Psychological training helps with all of these tasks.
 
Educational Requirements for Occupational Therapists
 
Occupational therapy is a highly specialized field, and as such therapists must have at least a master’s degree in the field. The degree must come from an accredited school, and the program must include at least six months of fieldwork under a supervisor.
 
Students who are interested in this line of work often wonder what undergraduate program to pursue. In high school they should take as many advanced courses as possible, although math is not especially important. Undergraduate degrees can be in fields like biology, sociology, anthropology, general liberal arts, and, of course, psychology. Psychology as a bachelor’s degree program provides an excellent base for further study in occupational therapy.
 
Part of the reason that a degree in psychology works so well is the fact that occupational therapists must understand how to work with people. Psychology training provides a good foundation for this. They also must be able to read their patients, even when their patients are not clearly vocalizing their needs or wants. They need to be able to see how different tasks are affecting their patients emotionally and psychologically, and a degree in psychology makes this much easier to do.
 
Licensure Requirements
 
All states require occupational therapists to receive a license. The requirements for licensure are completion of a master’s program from an accredited school and the successful completion of the national certification exam. Again, a degree in psychology works well into these requirements. All in all, of the undergraduate degrees that work for this career path, a degree in psychology seems to be one of the best fits.

Obtain your certification and become a member of a healthcare staffing agency. Occupational therapy jobs are waiting for you.

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