Pre-Professional Programs and Specialized Advising

Occupational Therapy

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), “help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.” OTs work to help people lead satisfying and independent lives. OT careers often involve working with individuals in their homes and examples include the following: helping people restore essential skills that may have been lost following an accident; aid disabled children in participating in social situations; assist individuals that are experiencing physical and possibly cognitive changes due to age.  Benefits of becoming an OT include the ability to practice in various settings, excellent job opportunities, flexibility and high job satisfaction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an OT in 2017 was $83,200.

Look to the Future

Because admission requirements for occupational therapy programs vary from one program to another, students should contact the program(s) of their choice early in their Hendrix career. Also remember that this is not a major at Hendrix. It is your responsibility to contact each school you are applying to and get approval for any course you might wish to substitute for a program’s pre-requisite.

Get involved! 
Community service, health care experiences, and leadership activities are essential. You need lots of experience working with people for people. Be involved and serve on 1-2 Hendrix clubs or committees.

Observe occupational therapists!
Many schools require time spent observing, shadowing or interning with an occupational therapist, and most admitted students will exceed the minimum requirements. Hendrix internships require a minimum of 120 hours. You should try to do more than 120 hours and with different OTs if possible.

Keep your academic record strong
Few individuals get admitted with only the minimal requirements, and most admitted students have GPAs of 3.2 or above. Programs are looking for the most highly qualified students and will therefore have higher expectations and standards. When choosing your schools to apply to, check to make sure you will meet or exceed the requirements.

Develop relationships
Get to know some health care providers, faculty and work/volunteer supervisors. All of these individuals can be a resource for you to obtain new and valuable opportunities. Always maintain a good rapport with these contacts as well. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation, and you want to make sure they can provide you with a great letter, not a mediocre one. 

Stay up on current healthcare issues
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is a great resource for staying up-to-date on current issues impacting OTs. Another organization is the OTCAS that provides good information.  A list of OT programs can be found here.


For information, contact Andrea Duina or Courtney Hatch in the Biology Department.

Examples for Course Selection

Common requirements are listed below. Requirements vary at different institutions.

BIOL 150 Cell Biology
BIOL 205 & 215 Human Anatomy and Physiology w/labs
BIOL 340 Microbiology w/lab (or BIOL 320 Animal Physiology w/lab)
BIOL 362 Exercise Physiology w/lab

CHEM 110 & 120 General Chemistry I and II w/lab

PSYC 110 Introduction to Psychology
PSYC 240 Childhood and Adolescence Psychology
PSYC 245 Adult Development and Aging
PSYC 385 Abnormal Psychology (Note: there are PSYC pre-reqs for this course)

College Algebra and Trigonometry (not taught at Hendrix, some may accept MATH 120 Functions & Models)
MATH 215 Introductory Statistics or PSYC 290 Statistics

1 Sociology or Anthropology Course

Other frequently required/recommended courses:

Choose from
PHYS 210/220 General Physics I & II (w/Lab)
PHYS 230/240 General Physics I&2 (w/Lab) (Calculus-based)
PHYS 235/245 General Physics I&2 (Workshop)  

Public Speaking*

Medical Terminology*

*This course is not offered at Hendrix. You would be expected to complete it at another institution either online or in the classroom.