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Preparing for
Occupational Therapy




Welcome to the HPPLC pre-OT guidelines!

While this page includes some information specifically about the IU OT program, the HPPLC site is intended for use by all IUB undergraduates and alumni regardless of whether they plan to apply to the IU program or not! The guidelines and strategies explained throughout are widely applicable, regardless of which programs you intend to pursue. IUB students and alumni successfully apply to programs all around the country.


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IMPORTANT: Start By Reading This!
(Hint: it will make your life easier!)

  1. Don't simply skip to the sample prerequisite chart! Classes are only one part of the admission requirements. The guidelines and resources on this page go well beyond prerequisites and program websites, and will help you understand, plan, and achieve each admission component.
  2. Don't let the abundance of information on this page overwhelm you. It is meant to be quite complete - your close companion throughout your preprofessional process. The right-hand Contents menu is a linked outline of the entire page and thus provides an easy way to navigate.
  3. Do read the Overview of the Admission Process. It'll take just 10 minutes, and will take some of the mystery out of being preprofessional.
  4. Do frequently consult the Timeline page throughout your entire preprofessional and application processes! It not only offers another indispensable way to navigate the site, but also provides ideas for organizing your entire preprofessional process with short term and long term To Do lists. The Timeline page also serves as a list of Action Items for your iGPS plan.
  5. Do consult this page often and consistently, as it is regularly revised and expanded, will save you a great deal of time and labor, help you become a stronger applicant, and help you avoid common mistakes.
  6. We do not suggest simply printing this page, as there are many sub-pages linked from it which contain significant information and guidance.
  7. Thoroughly read the section below pertaining to the upcoming national shift from the OT masters degree to the OT doctorate.



Choosing An Appropriate Pre-OT Degree / Major

A bachelors degree, along with prerequisite courses and other admission requirements, is required for admission to all Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) programs. While it is easier to work the OT prerequisites into some degrees/majors than others, most offer adequate flexibility. In addition, most MSOT programs, including Indiana University's, have no preference as to what degree/major applicants complete! Using the tips, guidelines, and resources at Choosing an Appropriate Degree / Major, you may be surprised how quickly you can narrow the field and move toward the options that are best for you!


What Is A competitive GPA?

What grade point average is competitive for admission depends on a number of factors. Visit our Competitive GPA page to gain a general sense of what GPA goals to set for yourself, and how GPA figures in relation to other admission requirements.


Pre-OT Timeline

Want to know what you should be doing now? How to keep on track? What your preprofessional timeline ought to be? Visit the preprofessional timeline page! Our detailed sample timeline can give you a sense of what you should be doing right now, and also help you with your long range planning.



Different Types Of OT Degrees
and the 2025 transition to the entry-level OT Doctorate (OTD)

Masters (entry-level)

For people currently on the pre-OT path, the minimum degree required to practice is the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, or MSOT. These are generally two-year programs. You may on occasion see slight variations on the masters degree title, but they all share the same purpose: to prepare OT students to successfully take the licensing exam and become a practicing occupational therapist.

You will sometimes see degrees, including the MSOT, referred to as "entry-level" or "post-baccalaureate" (i.e., a degree you pursue after your undergraduate degree). “Entry-level” indicates it is the standard minimum degree required, so that once you have completed the program and passed the licensure exam, you are prepared to work in the field.


Doctoral (postprofessional)

You will also encounter PhD programs associated with OT. Within the occupational therapy profession, the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is purely optional. Such PhDs are "postprofessional" doctoral degrees; in other words, degrees someone might choose to earn after they have already completed their professional degree and licensure (as of 2016, for those new to the field this would be the MSOT). These post-MSOT PhDs are often one-year programs, but can be longer.


Postprofessional OT degrees such as the PhD noted above are usually designed for those who want additional formal education in an area of speciality, e.g., gerontology; those who want to undertake additional research within the OT field; and/or those who want to teach at the university level, such as teaching classes in an occupational therapy professional program.


2025 transition to the entry-level OT Doctorate (OTD)

In 2015 the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recommended "that the profession should take action to transition toward a doctoral-level single point of entry for occupational therapists [OTD degree], with a target date of 2025." This proposed change will not negatively impact anyone who has already earned their MSOT, and would be required only of future graduates of OT programs, probably after 2025 or 2027.


Important: Those with their MSOT degree will still be able to practice their profession unhindered, will not be at a competitive disadvantage in the job market, and will not earn less than those with their OTD. There are in fact still many, many occupational therapists with their bachelor of science degree (BSOT) still practicing, because years ago, prior to the entry-level MSOT the BSOT was the standard entry-level degree for the field.


In relation to the above recommendation by the American Occupational Therapy Association, there is a growing number of entry-level doctoral programs (OTD) which lead to OT licensure. This can get confusing because there are two different kinds of OTDs - some are postprofessional and function like the PhD degrees noted above, and others are entry-level and thus serve the same purpose as the entry-level masters.


If this gets confusing, just remember that if you are seeking to earn your OT training and licensure, you are looking for entry-level programs, be they entry-level MSOTs or entry-level OTDs. The primary difference between an entry-level MSOT and an entry-level OTD is that since the latter are doctoral programs they are bound to include additional research, professional experiences, and practical training beyond that required in most masters programs. Most entry-level OTD degrees are likely to be three years in length although some schools may offer alternatives.


How to prepare for the transition to the OTD

Some programs are transitioning from the MSOT to the entry-level OTD prior to 2025. As 2025 approaches more and more programs will do so. To plan for the transition, it is simply a matter of researching and choosing which degree and which programs best suit you. From a training and career standpoint, either an entry-level MSOT or an entry-level OTD will be fine. Again, through at least 2025 the MSOT will be the minimum degree for those who wish to become licensed to practice in the field of occupational therapy.


Most entry-level OTD programs will likely require a few additional prereqs beyond what most MSOT programs require. Additional courses might include a semester of general chemistry (CHEM-C 117 and 127), a semester of general physics (PHYS-P 201 or 221), and/or some general biology (BIOL-L 112 and perhaps one or two others).


How to plan for the transition: Follow the guidelines on the Researching Accredited OT Programs page to build a working list of programs you could see yourself applying to. It will take less than 30 minutes to do so. Then, check each program's website to see if they have posted information about when they will transition from the MSOT to the OTD. If it looks like some of your first-choice programs will transition by the time you will apply, plan your prereqs accordingly. For programs that have not indicated when they will transition, periodically check back to see if they post new information. It is also okay to contact them to politely enquire if they know when they might transition.

Description of the Profession

Occupational therapists help people maximize their ability to participate in life more independently. Through occupational therapy (OT), children and adults facing physical, cognitive, or psychosocial challenges can gain skills, strengths, and coordination that help them perform daily activities ("occupations") at home, school, work, leisure, and many other settings. OTs work with their clients to "confront problems and help solve them by suggesting innovative intervention activities, devices, modifications, strategies, and technologies" (quoted from OATA pamphlet).

As an occupational therapist, you could choose to work as a generalist, working with a variety of people under a variety of circumstances; or you could specialize. Some examples of specialized practice include pediatrics, gerontology, physical rehabilitation, and mental health. The most common work settings include hospitals, public schools, and long-term care facilities. After gaining experience in the field, you could choose to teach in an occupational therapy or occupational therapy assistant program, move into a management position, or pursue research in the field.

The American Occupational Therapy Association site has an excellent collection of OT Fact Sheets, from which you can learn a great deal about how OTs function in different settings and with different client types. See also, How do I learn what occupational therapists do?.

Skills and characteristics important to the OT profession

An occupational therapist must posses critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, patience, empathy, strong communication skills, and the ability to work well both independently and with a team of care givers. A love of lifelong learning, a positive attitude, and an outgoing personality will serve a therapist well in this field. OT's are often described as "people persons."

Degree types

  • A master's degree is the current professional standard, and the minimum degree required for new OTs to practice in the field. You will also see lists of doctoral programs, or OTD programs. There are far fewer entry-level OTD programs than master's programs, and most people pursue the master's to begin with, though this is a matter of preference. See the American Occupational Therapy Association's FAQ 3 and 5 for more information about the master's compared to the doctoral degree.
  • In addition, you will also see lists of occupational therapy assistant programs, or OTA. OTA programs are two-year undergraduate associate's degrees. You can find additional information on the American Occupational Therapy Association site (AOTA) site, and in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.


Overview of OT Admissions

IMPORTANT: for tips and guidelines pertaining to the admission process, click HERE. The overview page includes important information about managing competitive admissions; rolling admissions; required criminal background checks; academic misconduct; professionalism; and the various components that comprise the application.



Occupational Therapy at Indiana University

Description of the IU Occupational Therapy Program

IU Bloomington does not offer an occupational therapy program, but pre-OT students may complete the prerequisites at IUB and then apply for admission to the School of OT student swimming with child clientHealth and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at IUPUI (IU's Indianapolis campus) to complete the OT Master of Science (MSOT). Admission to the OT graduate program requires successful completion of a baccalaureate degree, prerequisite courses (which can be worked into most undergraduate degrees), and other admission criteria.

Indiana University does not offer an undergraduate OT major (most schools do not). You may choose any undergraduate major as long as you also complete the OT prerequisite courses. In any given year, the IU OT program accepts applicants from fifteen or twenty different degrees and majors.

The master's program itself, and the professional coursework, takes two full years to complete, including Summer sessions (starting second Summer session during the first year of your professional coursework), and incorporates fieldwork assignments at affiliated centers located in Indiana and other states.

IU OT admission information

NOTE that other OT programs will have different requirements and enforce different policies. You must thoroughly research other programs in order to plan your prerequsites and other admission requirements, and the timing of your courses and the application itself.

Admission to the IU Occupational Therapy Program at IUPUI is very competitive. Job shadowing of OTs, successful completion of prerequisite coursework, and your GPA are all part of the admission process.

  • For a list of IUB equivalents to admission prerequisites, see the grid below.
  • For a complete list of IU OT admission requirements, visit the IU School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences OT page.
  • For information pertaining to the IU OT program's minimum grade requirement, minimum GPA, and other admission standards, click HERE.
  • Be sure to fully utilize the HPPLC OT page throughout your pre-OT and application processes. Schedule appointments with a HPPLC advisor as needed.


Some important points to bear in mind as you plan your OT prerequisites
Course numbers pertain to IUB, and prerequisite information refers to the IU Occupational Therapy Program on the Indianapolis campus.

  • Each OT program has its own set of prerequisites! We urge you to research and apply to multiple programs. Also refer to the additional course possibilities,below, for a list of courses some programs require above and beyond what is required by the IU OT program.
  • IU program information: for important information about IU OT policies pertaining to AP credit, online prerequisites, the prerequisite deadline, and the prerequisite expiration time period, click HERE.
    • All programs have a prerequisite deadline, but these deadlines vary, depending largely upon whether a given program's professional coursework begins in the summer, fall, or spring. Careful research will help you plan your prerequisites accordingly. Generally speaking, you should plan to have your prerequisites completed in accordance with your earliest and most restrictive prerequisite deadline.
  • Avoid overlapping anatomy and physiology. Students struggle when they take these classes at the same time.
  • Avoid online lab courses, as most programs will not accept them!
  • Carefully read the IMPORTANT NOTES associated with the courses listed below!

Most OT programs require a minimum grade of at least "C" in all prerequisites ("C-" not acceptable).

Social and Behavioral Science Credits

Introductory Psychology: PSY-P 101, PSY-P 1551, or comparable course


Introductory Sociology or Introductory Anthropology: Most 100-level SOC or ANTH

Abnormal Psychology: PSY-P 324 1 3
Lifespan Development: SPH-F 150, EDUC-P 314 2, PSY-P 315 1. (Which of these courses is required or acceptable varies by program! Course must cover development from birth to death) 3
Statistics and Medical Science Cr

Statistics: STAT-S 303 Applied Statistical Methods for the Life Sciences, STAT-S 300, PSY-K 300, or equivalent statistics course. 3 Some programs specify a requirement for "inferential statistics" (statistical inference, regression, correlation, analysis of variance). Most 300-level stats courses cover these topics and are sufficient for most professional programs. As always, confirm your prereqs with each of your prospective programs. 4

3 - 4
Human Anatomy with lab: ANAT-A 215 4 (be sure to closely follow the A215 study tips)   5
Human Physiology with lab: PHSL-P 215 or BIOL-P 451 (P451, P: senior standing or permission of Instructor) 4  4 - 5
Medical Terminology: CLAS-C 209 1 or more

IMPORTANT: Other Prerequisites For Other OT Programs

Total preprofessional credit hours Varies

Important prerequisite course notes (pertaining to the table above)

  1. Prerequisites for PSY-P 324 Abnormal Psychology and PSY-P 315 Developmental Psychology: PSY-P 101 and 102; or PSY-P 155 (155 is generally recommended only for psychology majors); or P106 (Hutton Honors College students only).
  2. EDUC-P 314 recommended prerequisite or corequisite: PSY-P 101 or P155.
  3. Statistics courses generally assume minimum proficiency at the MATH-M 014 (algebra) level, but some assume more previous math experience. For instance, finite math is a suggested prerequisite for SPEA-K300; either finite math or calculus is recommended prior to PSY-K 300; MATH-M 119 or equivalent calculus is a prerequisite for MATH- K 310. Double-check bulletins and course descriptions for detailed prerequisite information, as prerequisites vary, and can change unexpectedly.
  4. For some programs, statistics, anatomy, and physiology credit may not be more than 7 years old at time of application and start of professional coursework.

Other possible prerequisites

Some programs require one or more of the prerequisites below, and sometimes others not listed. Use the HPPLC OT program research resources to double-check prerequisites and identify at least 6 or 8 programs to which you will apply. Be sure to apply to programs that have admitted those within your cumulative and prerequisite GPA range.

Course Credits
Pharmacology: You may encounter programs requiring pharmacology. IUB has not in the past offered entry-level pharma classes accessible by most students, only 500-level and other restricted access classes. You might check the School of Public Health Bulletin course listings to see if something has since been added.
Ivy Tech has offered HLHS 115: Pharm for Health Care Support - general pharmacology for health related professions (prereqs of anatomy and medical terminology). Contact Ivy Tech directly with questions. Other colleges and universities may also offer options.

General Biology: Some programs require biology and some do not. Of those requiring bio some require a lab and some do not; some will accept elementary bio (e.g., L104 or L100) while others require major-level general bio (e.g., L112, perhaps with the L113 lab). Biology may become a more common prereq as programs transition from the MSOT to the OTD. Confirm with each program to which you plan to apply.

Physics: Some programs require a semester of physics, and physics may become a more common prereq as programs transition from the MSOT to the OTD. Of those that currently do require it, some want to see both the lecture and the lab, while others are okay with only the lecture. Confirm with each program to which you plan to apply.

Chemistry: Some programs require a semester or two of chemistry and some do not. Of those requiring chem some require a lab and some do not; some will accept elementary chem (e.g., C101, perhaps with the C121 lab) while others require major-level general chemistry (e.g., C117, perhaps with the C127 lab). Confirm with each program to which you plan to apply. Major-level general chemistry may become a more common prereq as programs transition from the MSOT to the OTD.
Ethics: Examples include PHIL-P 140 Introduction to Ethics, and REL-R 170 Religion, Ethics, and Public Life. Almost any course with the word "ethics" in the title would likely be acceptable, but confirm with your programs.
Communication: Some programs require or recommend a communication course (e.g., ANTH-A 122 Interpersonal Communication or COLL-P 155 Public Oral Communication).


Researching Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs

IMPORTANT: Thoroughly utilize the HPPLC PT Researching Accredited Programs page throughout your preprofessional process! It includes important guidelines and tips for identifying accredited programs, deciding where to apply, organizing your research process, finding programs for which your GPA is competitive, and much more. Use only the lists of programs linked from that page. Other lists are incomplete, outdated, and driven by marketing. Be sure to research and consider both OTCAS and non-OTCAS programs.


Additional Admission Requirements

Professional conduct

Before you proceed any further, please read about professional conduct during your research and application process, on our Researching Accredited Programs page. We have seen applicants denied admission for not following the kind of advice given therein - something which is completely avoidable.

Clinical observation (job shadowing)

IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, read the HPPLC Clinical Observation page for important details about how to arrange clinical observation, how to log your hours, and how to document your experiences for the benefit of your personal statement and possible admission interviews.

Letters of recommendation

IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, visit Gathering and Submitting Letters of Recommendation, where you will find important information and tips about how, from whom, and when to collect and submit recommendations, information about central application services, and much more.

While the IU OT admission process does not currently (2016) require letters of recommendation, many programs do require that you submit two or three letters. Click the link above for important guidelines, tips, and information.Also check the IU OT program's website for possible requirement updates.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE - revised General Test)

IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Graduate Record Exam (GRE) page, which includes important information and tips about when to take the GRE, preparing for and arranging to take the exam, how scores are reported, and how to decide whether or not to retake the exam.

While the IU occupational therapy program does not require the GRE as part of the application process, many OT programs do require that you take the GRE revised General Test. Click the link above for important tips and information.

Personal statement / essay

IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Drafting Your Personal Essay page, which includes important personal essay guidelines, including an timeline, ideas for how to begin your first draft, building credibility with admission committees, creating an introduction and conclusion, and much more.


Many OT programs require a personal essay, however the IU program does not.

Admission interviews

IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Preparing for Admission Interviews page, which includes sample interview questions, interview tips, information about interview formats, and more.

As part of the admission process, many OT programs, including IU's, will invite a select portion of their applicants for an interview.

The IU MSOT program normally interviews the top 75 applicants (based on CGPA and prerequisite GPA). Refer to the IU OT program's Admissions site for additional details.

Certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers

Prior to beginning professional coursework, many programs require that you become certified for adult, child, and infant CPR, commonly referred to as BLS certification, Health Care Provider CPR, or CPR for the Professional Rescuer.

Training courses are offered for a fee through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. The IU Bloomington course, SPH-H 160 First Aid And Emergency Care (3 cr), also includes all necessary instruction, including use of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Upon completing H160, students are eligible to complete CPR/AED certification for the Professional Rescuer and Health Care Provider, and can also become first aid certified.

Volunteer And Job Opportunities For Pre-OT

Spend time around a variety of people

As you go through occupational therapy training, and as an inherent dimension to the profession itself, you will work with people from diverse backgrounds, ranging in age, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and so on. It is important that as you proceed along the pre-OT path, and into the profession, that you make a conscious effort to gain experience working with and being around diverse populations. There are many ways to achieve this goal, for example: through community service, clinical observation of OTs in different settings, and participating in events or student groups at IU that tend to attract a variety of people from diverse backgrounds.

Note: OT programs don't tend to place particular emphasis on "internships," per se. Internships are fine, but the value is placed on extensive clinical observation and hands on experience of the kind posted to the link below, regardless of whether or not the experience is labeled an "internship."


Volunteer and job opportunities for pre-OT students

Refer to HPPLC's list of volunteer and job opportunities for pre-OT students to view examples of pertinent experiences. These opportunities offer occasions for you to be around a variety of people from diverse backgrounds, which is of central important to those working in the health professions. In addition, they can help you further develop rudimentary clinical skills and other interpersonal skills which can in turn help you become an even stronger applicant, graduate student, and ultimately a more effective healthcare professional.


IU Occupational Therapy Program Admission Statistics

  • Minimum cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 3.20 required to apply.
  • Minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.20 required to apply.
  • At the time of application, and, if admitted, upon entry into the OT professional program, you must have both a minimum CGPA and minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.20.
  • A minimum grade of "C" (not "C-") is required in all prerequisites.
  • If you are accepted into the OT program, you must earn a minimum grade of "C" in remaining prerequisite courses.

For Fall 2013, there were 201 qualified applicants vying for 36 spots in the program. Applicants from many different majors have been admitted to the program, including English, Mythology, Kinesiology, Dance, History, Biology, Philosophy, General Studies, Psychology, Social Work, and many others.

Fall 2013 Admission GPA Statistics GPA
Cumulative GPA range admitted 3.5577 - 3.9655
Mean (average) CGPA 3.7678
Prerequisite GPA range admitted 3.700 - 4.000
Mean (average) prerequisite GPA admitted 3.9042

Develop A Contingency Or Back-Up Plan

It is not uncommon for people to change their goals and ambitions, or for circumstances to arise which impede plans or necessitate their deferral. Consider developing a contingency plan, or back-up plan, just in case. At the very least, we urge you to use available resources (e.g., our Other Health Professions page; the Career Development Center) to explore a number of career options. You might discover something you had never considered before, or, at the very least, you might confirm that the path you are on is indeed the one which best suits you.

If you are still interested in the OT field, but think you need to look beyond graduate programs, you might consider Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). For additional OTA information, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook.


Application Information and Instructions

IU OT deadlines and requirements


Apply early, and check with each program ahead of time to make sure your application is complete and correct.

In addition, be aware of any restrictions on the timing of prerequisites (see below for an example of such a restriction, related to IU OT admission).

  • Make note of the IU OT admission GPA information.
  • The IU OT application is linked from the bottom of the SHRS Occupational Therapy Admissions page.
  • IU OT application cycle runs July 1 through deadline October 1, prior to the summer in which you anticipate beginning the OT program. Check the SHRS OT site for application cycle details. As with all programs, submit all application materials two or three weeks early to allow time for processing and notification of any missing materials.
  • The IU OT program requires application through the Central Application Service for Occupational Therapists (OTCAS). The IU program also requires the separate IUPUI Graduate/Professional application for admission consideration.
  • Don't be caught off-guard! - As you plan your coursework, and well before you plan to apply, carefully read the prerequisite course deadline information.
  • Applicants who are not IU students need only complete the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences application; there is no need to complete a separate IU application.
  • As part of the application, you must submit a plan for how you will complete the remaining prerequisites prior to beginning the professional program. You may then be offered admission on condition that you complete all prerequisites prior to the start of the professional program, and maintain minimum grade and GPA requirements.
  • Refer to the helpful and detailed SHRS Department of Occupational Therapy FAQs.

For programs that require the GRE, try to complete the exam at least four weeks before you plan to submit your OT applications, in case there are any delays in score reporting.

Central Application Service for Occupational Therapists (OTCAS)

Some OT programs require that you apply for admission through the Central Application Service for Occupational Therapists. OTCAS went live in December 2010. A good number of programs still have their own applications and do not use OTCAS, which means that many applicants will apply to both OTCAS and non-OTCAS programs.

IMPORTANT: Each program has its own individual application cycle. Program application cycles and deadlines are different from the OTCAS application cycle! The OTCAS cycle usually opens in July and closes in June of the next year.

  • If you apply to at least one OT program, then certain portions of your application will be retained even if you are not admitted, in case you decide to reapply. (We strongly urge you to apply to at least 6 or 8 programs!)
  • If you complete all or part of the OTCAS application, but then decide not to apply in that cycle, OTCAS will delete your unsubmitted application the following June, when that application cycle closes.
    • Therefore, you may not want to invest the time in completing the OTCAS application until your are sure you will be applying in the upcoming cycle.
    • For example, if you planned to apply to certain OTCAS programs, during the summer / fall 2016 application cycle, you would probably want to wait until after the new OTCAS application has opened that July. If you were to open your application instead in April or May, all your work would be deleted in June when the old cycle closes, unless you have actually submitted your completed OTCAS application.
  • For the most current, detailed information pertaining to the OTCAS application cycle, and reapplying, read the OTCAS Instructions Overview, as well as the OTCAS FAQs related to Re-Applying to OTCAS.

The IU OT program may in the future require application through OTCAS. Double-check their website as you approach your application cycle to confirm.

Additional application information

Note: Be aware of financial aid deadlines, which can arrive during or shortly after your application period!

It is good policy to keep in touch with the people who have a say in whether or not you are admitted to a given program, so we recommend that you communicate directly with each program to which you plan to apply. You can double-check to make sure your IUB coursework will fulfill their admission requirements, ask more detailed questions about their program in particular, and so on. Always keep a log or file of all your communications with programs, and always conduct yourself with cordial professionalism in all phone calls, emails, and letters.

Admission waitlists

If you learn that all spots have been filled, but that you have been put on an admissions waitlist, immediately contact the program to express your continued and enthusiastic interest. Not everyone who is offered admission, accepts. Therefore, programs often go fairly deep into their waitlist, so don't give up! Sometimes applicants who take the time to express continued interest are among the first to be contacted if spaces do open up. If after doing so you don't hear back for a week or two, feel free to contact them to again express your interest.

Retaking and dropping classes

The possible pros and cons of dropping or retaking classes

It is not uncommon for an applicant to include a dropped or retaken class on the application. Read about related pros, cons, and options on the HPPLC Retaking and Dropping Classes information page. If you have multiple drops and/or retakes, also refer to the application addendum information, below.

IU program course retake policies

The IU OT program currently (as of Fall 2012) allows for Indiana University's "Extended X Policy," by which you can petition to have the grade replaced if you repeat a course. SHRS will allow you to replace up to 15 credit hours of prerequisite coursework (though the IUB policy is currently only 9 credits). See your IUB academic advisor to discuss the limitations of the policy, and directions on how / where to file the X Petition.

The IU OT program currently (as of Fall 2012) allows for "Academic Bankruptcy" under certain conditions. Refer to the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Bulletin for information about IUPUI's Academic Forgiveness Policy (i.e., Academic Bankruptcy) and related information (click "PDF Version" on the right of that page). Under certain circumstances, utilizing this policy may increase competitiveness for admission to the IU program.

Always double-check policies with the SHRS Director of Student Enrollment Services in case things have recently changed.

Application addendum (optional)

An addendum is a brief supplemental document sometimes included with an application, in which the applicant explains extenuating circumstances he or she feel could adversely impact the application. Visit the HPPLC Application Addendum page to read more about what an addendum is, and whether/how to include one with your application.

Residency / non-residency

Being an Indiana resident or a graduate of Indiana University, or submitting materials early, does not provide any advantage during the admission process.

For other OT programs the process for establishing residency to perhaps eventually garner in-state tuition varies from state to state. Contact programs directly to learn about related policies and procedure.

Financing Your Degree

Click HERE for resources related to researching scholarships and grants, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and FAFSA application timing and deadline information. (When to file will depend on when your program begins. The January prior to the start of your program might be a useful benchmark, but it is your responsibility to confirm the timing.)


Occupational Therapy Career Information

OT credentialing

Unless grandfathered in under previous professional certification requirements, to become a registered occupational therapist (OTR) you must earn either a master's degree (MSOT, MOT) or an OT doctorate (OTD). The master's is the more common route.

  • After successfully completing the academic and clinical experiences, you would take the certification exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, and thus become an OTR. The central purpose of any OT program is to train you to prepare for and pass the certification exam.
  • OT graduates may also need to meet other requirements in order to earn state license / registration / certification in a given state. Graduation from the IU OT program is in May, and the NBCOT exam is offered on demand by computer.

Salary and job market information

(US Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The US Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that "employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase 23 percent between 2006 and 2016."

  • "Median annual wages of occupational therapists were $66,780 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $55,090 and $81,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,310.
  • Median annual salary in industries employing the largest numbers of OTs in May 2008: Home health care services, $74,510; nursing care facilities, $72,790; general medical and surgical hospitals, $68,100; Offices of other health care practitioners, 69,360; elementary and secondary schools, $60,020.
  • As of 2008, the typical entry-level salary range for Occupational Therapy positions in Indiana was $45,000-$55,000. As a rule, wages increase with experience.
  • You can do additional career and job research at

Pre-OT students often ask if the OT program they attend will make a difference in their job prospects. Refer to How to decide where to apply for some thoughts to take into consideration.

For those admitted to the IU OT program, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences holds an annual job fair to help students do job networking. Most IU OT students have two or three job offers before they graduate from the OT master's program.


Additional Occupational Therapy Resources

HPPLC pre-OT email list

If you are an IUB Pre-OT student and have not yet joined the Health Professions and Prelaw Center (HPPLC) pre-OT email list, we urge you to log in and do so now. It takes just seconds, and will help keep you in the loop on important announcements related to admission requirements, OT program visits to IU, the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service, the GRE, the IUB OT Club, and more.

GPA calculators

Having clear, realistic projected GPA information is especially important for preprofessional students, who are usually pursuing admission to programs with moderately or highly competitive admissions. This is one of the reasons we recommend applying to multiple programs. For examples of some useful GPA calculators, click here.

Help with anatomy

We strongly encourage you to follow the advice on the Health Professions and Prelaw Center's Human Anatomy (ANAT-A 215) Study Tips page.

Scholarships and Educational Grants

For suggestions and resources related to researching scholarships and grants, consult the Health Professions and Prelaw Center page, Researching Scholarships and Educational Grants.

IUB Occupational Therapy Club

If you are an IUB Pre-OT student, consider joining the IU OT Club, which meets two to four times each fall and spring semester. The OT Club is sponsored by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Among other activities, a variety of professional speakers share their OT expertise with club members, and many members also perform OT-related community service together. To join, simply attend a meeting and talk to one of the club officers, or visit the OT Club page and email one of the officers.

OT professional resources


IU Occupational Therapy Program contact information

(Indianapolis campus)

Deanna L. Hart
Director, Student Enrollment Services
IU School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Coleman Hall CF120
1140 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5119
Phone: 317.274.7238



This information was prepared for Indiana University Bloomington students by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Please note that specific requirements and policies can change at any time without notice. Students are responsible for obtaining the most current information directly from application and testing services, and the schools and programs in which they have an interest. Refer to each program's web pages, bulletins, and other publications for the most current information. Students are responsible for understanding degree course requirements, as well as other requirements, policies, and procedures related to the degree(s) they are pursuing; for enrolling in appropriate courses; for understanding IU policies/procedures; and for following through properly with regard to all of the preceding.