Pre-occupational therapy

  • Are you interested in interacting directly with patients and providing compassionate care?
  • Are you an active listener and good communicator?
  • Are you interested in how the human body works and moves?
  • Are you interested in how people cope with and recover from illness and/or injury
  • Can you motivate people?

Occupational Therapy may be right for you!

Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.  Common interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

More information can be found on the UWL OT Program website and via the AOTA.

Make your intention to pursue an Occupational Therapy career official by adding it as an "intended pre-professional track".

For information on UWL's OT Program Requirements, click here.


Biology  

  • General Biology (BIO 105) 
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II (BIO 312 & BIO 313)

Chemistry 

  • None required
    • CHM 103 needed for BIO 312 at UWL

Math  

  • None required (see major and general education requirements)
    • MTH 150 needed for CHM 103 at UWL 

Physics  

  • Fundamental Physics I (PHY 103) orPhysics for the Life Sciences (PHY 125) 

Social Sciences 

  • General Psychology (PSY 100) 
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 204) 
  • Lifespan Development (PSY 212)  
  • Plus any sociology or anthropology course; suggested: Introduction to Sociology (SOC 110) or Human Nature/Human Culture (ANT 101) 

Statistics  

  • Elementary Statistics (STAT 145) or Mathematical Models in Biology (MTH 265) 

Additional requirements 

  • Medical Terminology (CHE 460 or HP 250) 

Pre-OT is NOT a major at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. It is a statement of your intention to apply to OT programs. You will still need to select a major to complete a degree at UWL. 

Declaring a Pre-OT track will help you determine common requirements for OT programs in our region. However, each program's requirements vary. When selecting coursework, it is important to consult the websites of the programs to which you plan to apply.

There isn't one single experience that is favored by OT program admissions, but consider gaining work or volunteer experience where you are:

The UWL OT Program's website shows some of the characteristics you should look to develop as you gain experience. 

Additionally, you should do what you can to become more aware of the profession - read articles about OT, go to related presentations, join the Pre-OT Club, etc. 

Join the Pre-OT club! Some advantages:

  1. Advisory information and updates about OT
  2. Periodic visits from the OT faculty, Health Professions Staff, and OT/PT professionals
  3. Community service opportunities related to OT
  4. A peer group to help support you

See Gaining experience for additional resources.

  • Selecting programs: To learn about the various programs where you might apply, the OT Program Directory via the AOTA is a good place to start. Always then consult the individual programs' websites for the most accurate and up to date info. 
  • Testing: Most programs will require the GRE exam. For more info about standardized testing, go here
  • How to apply: Most OT programs participate in the centralized application system "OTCAS". This is a single online site where you can submit most or all of your applications. Visit the OTCAS Help Center to learn more. 
  • Timeline: The UWL OT Program's timeline page gives a good sense of the process of applying. The admission "cycle" usually starts in July, and you'll need to consult each programs' website for application deadlines.

See Apply with confidence for more information on personal statements, letters of recommendation, interviewing, and more.