Scholarships for Occupational Therapists
Scholarships for OTs usually apply to graduate degrees since the entry-level of education for the field is customarily a master’s degree. It takes about two years to complete an OT master’s degree program, and longer to get a PhD.
After you’ve got the degree under your belt, you can sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, pass, and become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR).
The road to becoming an OTR can be expensive, but it is totally worth it! As an OT you will help patients, whether injured or ill, feel more capable, confident, and independent in their day-to-day lives.
The occupational therapy profession also tends to be a well paying one! Bls.gov reports that the average pay for OTs is $80,150, with a median hourly pay of $38.54. And according to U.S. News, the best paid OTs made $116,030. It's all blue sky in OT!
So if you know OT is where your heart lies, don’t let the fear of funding stop you. Here’s a Q&A to guide you towards the scholarships that’ll help you get the career of your dreams!
Where do I Start My Search for an OT Scholarship?
- Scholarships for occupational therapists can come from many sources including the Federal Government, state governments, universities, private companies, professional OT associations, foundations, and much more.
- Eligibility for funding can be based on merit, academic excellence, need, talent, specialty, research interest, ethnicity, work with a specific population, contributions to the field, and other factors.
- Students can usually apply for and receive more than one scholarship. Yes, this may mean more paperwork and essay writing, but the more funding, the sweeter the journey to your first OT job!
Here are some great places to look for those scholarships:
- The American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Scholarship Page offers resources and links to scholarships by category. Here you can find awards and funding for OT students, the general student population, and minority students.
- CollegeScholarships.com presents OT students with a list of over 10 scholarships that can be applied to the pursuit of a higher degree in occupational therapy.
- CollegeGrants.org focuses on how OTs can receive grant money. Much like scholarships, grants give funding that does not need to be paid back and can be a great source of financial aid for students. CollegeGrants features a thorough list of grants as well as an exhaustive list of State OT organizations that can be sources of support.
What Are Good Examples of OT Scholarships?
AMBUCS awards annual scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500, and one two-year award for $6,000 to students pursuing occupational therapy degrees.
What do you need to have? Students must be in an accredited OT program and demonstrate financial need, U.S. citizenship, commitment to local community, compassion, integrity, and drive.
This is a scholarship sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) and is awarded in the amount of $5,000 to full-time OT students pursuing master’s degrees.
What do you need to have? You must be a graduate student and U.S. citizen currently enrolled full-time in a university.
What About Scholarships for COTAs?
As the field of occupational therapy advances, the integral role that Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) play increases in importance. Here’s an example of a scholarship specific for COTAs:
This scholarship is sponsored by OTA Guide and is awarded up to a $500 amount. There are no additional eligibility requirements for this scholarship. It simply hopes to encourage more students to become COTAs and support the increase in demand for occupational therapy across the nation.
How Can Travel Therapy Help with Education Costs?
You can receive $2500 in tax-free bonus money after completing 4 assignments in one year. Assignments are typically 13 weeks. The same arrangement will happen in year two, earning you a total of $5,000 in tax free money after 8 assignments to help you defray your education costs.
This is an awesome way to make some extra cash. Advanced Travel Therapy’s Sugar Rewards program that will allow you to earn up to $13,000 in extra cash. You can even refer while you are still a student!
Free and Unlimited CEUs
We hate to break it to you but once you are an OTR- education requirements won’t stop. You’ll need to take CEUs to stay current and maintain licenses. At Advanced, you can get those continuing education credits for free!