The Pre-Occupational Therapy program at BSC provides the first two years of core classes for students planning a career as an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist is a member of the healthcare team responsible for helping individuals across the lifespan perform tasks of daily living, work and leisure, all of which are referred to as meaningful occupations.
A master’s degree or higher is standard for working as an occupational therapist. Appropriate undergraduate college majors for those seeking an advanced degree are biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberal arts and anatomy.
Students who wish to pursue this field should take high school classes in psychology, sociology, biology, physics and other sciences. An occupational therapist needs good communication and listening skills to interact with and relay instructions to patients. Strong interpersonal skills help establish relationships with patients who feel vulnerable or compromised.
Students completing the suggested degree plan requirements receive an Associate in Science degree.
All states require a license to practice occupational therapy. Applicants must graduate from an accredited educational program and pass a national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
Bismarck State College has many cooperative, articulation, or transfer agreements with postsecondary institutions both inside and outside of the North Dakota University System. Some of these agreements are established to allow students to remain on campus as they complete their bachelor’s degree. In all cases, students seeking to transfer after completing a degree at BSC should consult the academic catalog of their destination college and work with their academic advisor to plan for this transition.
Most occupational therapists work in hospitals or offices of other health professionals. Many are employed in nursing care facilities and schools. Those without a master’s degree may find work as an occupational therapist assistant or occupational therapist aide.