Physical and Occupational Therapy Degrees

Due to illnesses, disorders and amputations, people can lose some of the functions and skills that require movement and motor coordination. In such cases physical and occupational therapists help patients re-acquire these functions. Physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy refers to the restoration and maintenance of functions affected by disease, through physical activities and methods such as exercise and massage. Injuries and disorders can be treated through physical therapy resulting in the reduction of pain, improvement in movement and restoration of gross motor functions. Occupational therapy refers to treatment based on the daily activities in an individual’s life despite any physical or mental disabilities that may exist. This kind of treatment helps those who have physical impairments to carry out self-care activities such as eating, bathing and dressing.

Physical and Occupational Therapy Degrees and Programs
Physical and occupational therapy are two fields which though different do overlap in areas as well. Occupational therapy focuses on improving the independence and life skills of an individual who may have lost certain abilities due to a physical impairment. Physical therapy focuses primarily on treating and preventing injuries. There are various programs being offered in the field of both physical and occupational therapy. These are available at all levels of education including Associate, Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees.

An Associate degree in physical or occupational therapy can lead to a career as an assistant to a therapist. In order to practice physical or occupational therapy, every state requires the therapist to have a Master’s degree in the field and be licensed. While some Bachelor programs may be available which focus solely on these subjects, most programs offered in the area are a combination of a Bachelor and a Master degree in physical or occupational therapy. Such a program is 5 to 6 years in duration.

Some degrees offered in the fields of physical and occupational therapy are:

  • Occupational Therapy Aide certificate
  • Master of Physical Therapy
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Master of Science in Advanced Occupational Therapy

All occupational therapy programs educate students at the basic and advanced levels of science. Courses offered include anatomy, physiology, biology and sociology. Students are also taught medical terminology, program development and intervention techniques. Physical therapy programs also cover these subjects as well as others such as biomechanics, physical therapy diagnostics and human growth and development.

Careers in Physical and Occupational Therapy
Physical and occupational therapists can work in a variety of settings including clinics, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities and more. With a degree in physical or occupational therapy, you can find a number of careers available to you depending on your level of educational qualifications. Some roles open to graduates include:
  • Occupational therapist aide
  • Occupational therapist assistant
  • Occupational therapist
  • Medical and healthcare manager
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Physical therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Recreational therapist

Physical and occupational therapists can earn between 50,000 to 80,000 US dollars depending on the level of education and experience.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Physical and Occupational Therapy Degree?

Physical and occupational therapy are separate fields that overlap in certain areas. The amount of time it takes to get a degree in either or both of these fields depends on the level of education you choose. For instance, an associate’s degree in this field would take two years, whereas a bachelor’s degree can be completed in four years. Graduate degrees, which are usually a requirement for this field, may take addition two to five years.

What Are the Requirements to Get a Physical and Occupational Therapy Degree?

Depending on the college you go for, you may be required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in occupational or physical therapy. Most colleges, however, accept bachelor’s degrees in biology, sociology, kinesiology and health sciences. You will also be required to meet a minimum GPA level for entry into most programs. Once enrolled, you can expect to study courses on mental health and learning challenges, client interventions, acute and chronic physical conditions etc.

How Much Can I Make with a Physical and Occupational Therapy Degree?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists as two occupational groups. Physical Therapists made an annual median income of $87,930 in 2018, while Occupational Therapists made an annual median income of $84,270 in 2018.

Other Useful Resources

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 1660 0.11 1.26 18.13 37720
Florida 1130 0.14 1.68 17.97 37370
Illinois 960 0.16 1.92 17.9 37240
Texas 760 0.07 0.78 16.62 34570
New York 650 0.07 0.85 20.12 41840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the ideal means of attaining Physical Therapy Training in the US?

A:In order to pursue a lucrative career as a physical therapist, students can enroll in a Physical Therapy Training program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association. Students have the option of pursuing a bachelor's of master's degree in this field through regular or campus based programs.

Q:Which professional body is responsible accrediting the Respiratory Therapy Colleges in the US?

A:Most well reputed Respiratory Therapy Colleges are recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Upon completion of associate's, bachelor's or master's level degree program accredited by this body, students can capitalized on wide employment opportunities in private or public hospitals, clinics or nursing homes.

Q:Name a few learning areas of Online Physical and Occupational Therapy Degrees?

A:Students enrolled in Online Physical and Occupational Therapy Degrees gain knowledge on the following key areas: research and evaluation, occupational therapy theory and practice, human occupation and performance, social and cultural perspectives of occupation, biological and behavioral sciences, communications and professional responsibilities. The above mentioned courses provide students with a comprehensive understanding of human function.

Q:Are there online degrees for physical and occupational therapists?

A:Indeed. There are a number of Online Degrees For Physical And Occupational Therapists. Interested candidates can browse through our website and find a list of institutes offering degrees to students who wish to become physical and occupational therapists. Students can easily get enrolled in the program via our website and begin their education in no time.

Q:As I read on the degrees that lead to a career in Physical Therapy, there is mention of the course on The Digestive System. What are the contents of this course?

A:The course on The Digestive System is commonly discussed in the articles discussing the degrees that lead to a career in Physical Therapy. This course is worth 3 credits in total. It is designed to provide students with ample understanding of the basic and the most major functions and structures of the digestive system. Students are also highlighted on the terminology relating to diagnosis, treatment and pathology of the digestive illnesses.

Q:As I read about the difference between physical and occupational therapy, there was mention of the course on College Algebra. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on College Algebra while reading on the Difference Between Physical and Occupational Therapy. This course usually is worth 2 credits in total. It is designed to provide students with strong understanding of the college level concepts of algebra. Hands on experience is also added in this course.

Q:As I read about the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs, there was mention of the course on Microeconomics. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on Microeconomics while going through the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs. This course usually is worth 2 credits in total. It is structured to offer students with ample understanding of the microeconomics concepts such as functioning of individual markets. Hands on experience is also added.

Q:What kinds of subjects will I be required to study in an occupational therapy degree online?

A:If you enroll in an occupational therapy degree online, you will come across a number of subjects and courses. These will be related to basic sciences, evidence base and research, occupation science, technology, clinical competence, leadership and globalization, and medical terminology. To complete the program, you must thoroughly study each course and acquire the designated credit hours.

Q:Can you give me some information about an occupational therapy online degree?

A:Occupational therapy is basically helping patients deal with day to day activities and recovering from mental or physical medical conditions. To become an occupational therapist, students can enroll in occupational degrees available at all levels of education. These programs can be earned online as well. Usually students will be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours to be eligible for the profession.

Q:Can I find online occupational therapy degree?

A:You can find number of physical and occupational therapy programs online but it is important to go for a credible institute. It covers two areas basically the physical aspect is concerned with making the individual who suffers more disability or illness become more mobile while the occupational therapy focuses on making him more functional.

Q:Is it possible to become occupational therapist online?

A:It is possible to earn an occupational therapist degree online nowadays. Students can study from their homes with convenience. However, since the field requires practical experience and skill, students may have to visit the campus for training. The theoretical portion of the degree can be studied via online lectures, video conferences, and e-notes.

Q:What is Physical and Occupational Therapy?

A:Occupational and physical therapy can be described as a field that involves treatments used for helping people with physical, mental, and developmental conditions. The main focus of the field is upon improving the daily living and work skills of people. Occupational and physical therapist are certified to diagnose and treat such disorders and help improve performance.

Q:How do I decide which Bachelor of Science occupational therapy online course is right for me?

A:If you are looking for an online bachelor's degree in occupational therapy, it is best to look for accredited programs. Accreditation safeguards the interests of students, as it increases the chances of quality education and also leads to better career opportunities. Other important factors include curriculum, cost, qualifications of faculty, and overall repute of the institute.

Q:How long are undergraduate Occupational Therapy Degree Programs?

A:There are two kinds of occupational therapy degree programs at the undergraduate level. The associate's degree in occupational therapy is a two year foundation program if taken on campus and the bachelor's in occupational therapy is a four year program if taken on-campus. However the lengths of the programs may vary if taken online.

Q:Occupational Therapy Degrees are offered to students at what levels of post-secondary learning?

A:Students interested in becoming occupational therapists or assistants must have specialized education in this field. Many schools are offering associate, bachelor, and masters degrees in occupational therapy. Students can also opt for non-degree programs such as diplomas and certifications in occupational therapy. Browse through our page for more information about these degrees.

Q:What are the career prospects for graduates of Physical Therapy Degrees?

A:Therapists may choose to specialize in a certain form of physical therapy, such as athletic physical therapy or pediatric therapists. Generically, the annual median wage for Physical Therapists in 2012 was $79,860 while the highest 10% had an annual median wage of higher than $112,020. The expected growth in employment opportunities from 2012 to 2022 is 26%, must faster than that of other occupations.

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