Mississippi College

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. They also help them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. Occupational therapists not only help clients improve basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also compensate for permanent loss of function. Their goal is to help clients have independent, productive,and satisfying lives. Occupational therapists assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing,cooking, and eating. Occupational therapy involves the evaluation, diagnosis and/or treatment of persons whose abilities to perform daily tasks are impaired by physical injury, illness, emotional or mental disorder or aging. Individuals are helped to attain the highest possible functional independence in self care, work and leisure. Employment opportunities include hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, schools, camps and home care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to take at Mississippi College to become an occupational therapist?

Occupational Therapy at UMC is a Master's Degree program (MOT). The first two years may be taken at Mississippi College. Three additional years are taken at the University Medical Center in Jackson. In this process you will get a BS degree in Health Science from UMC and then, upon completion of the course work, you receive a MOT.

To be eligible for admission to UMC, candidates must:

  1. provide evidence of 16 hours observation in at least two occupational therapy clinical departments;
  2. have a minimum of 64 semester hours of academic credit (exclusive of physical education, military science, dogmatic religion and vocational courses) from an accredited institution of higher learning; and
  3. complete the following prerequisite requirements:
Required Courses Number of Courses
English Composition 2
Humanities 2
General Psychology 1
Child, or Adolescent Psychology 1
Human Growth or Developmental Psychology  1
Introduction to Sociology 1
Social Sciences 1
Quantitative Reasoning or Higher Mathematics 1
Chemistry with Laboratory 1
Physics with Laboratory 1
General Biology with Laboratory or Zoology with Laboratory 2
Anatomy and Physiology with Laboratory* 1
Fine Arts 1
Speech 1


  • Electives should be sufficient to bring the total semester hours of transfer credit to 64.
  • Science survey courses designed for nonscience majors are not acceptable for transfer credit.
  • *A combined course in anatomy and physiology may be substituted only if it is taken for one full academic year.
  • All applicants must have a grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants accepted usually have a higher than minimum grade point average.

A minimum grade of C is required on each course accepted for transfer. If a course is repeated, both grades are used in calculating the grade point average. An interview with the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee is required. Class size is limited and acceptance into the program is on a competitive basis. Preference is given to residents of Mississippi. Completed observation forms and the application fee should be submitted with the completed application. Application packets contain all the necessary forms and instructions for the application process.

The courses to be taken at Mississippi College are listed below:

  • English 101 and 102 or 103 (6 sem. hrs.)
  • Humanities (Literature and/or Philosophy) (6 sem. hrs.)
  • Psychology 201 (3 sem. hrs.)
  • Psychology 302 or 305 or 423 (3 sem. hrs.)
  • Sociology 205 (3 sem. hrs.)
  • History/ Political Science/ Economics/ Social Work / Sociology (3 sem. hrs.)
  • Mathematics 101 (3 sem. hrs.)
  • Chemistry 101 (4 sem. hrs.)
  • Physics 101 (requires MAT 102 or equivalent) (4 sem. hrs.)
  • Biology 111-112 (8 sem. hrs.)
  • Biology 203-204 8 sem. hrs or Biology 311 (4 sem. hrs.)
  • Fine Arts (Art 125 or Music 125 or Theater 125) (3 sem. hrs.)
  • Communications 202 or 203 (3 sem. hrs.)

Electives to bring the total hours of credit to 64 academic hours. Courses in physical education are not accepted as electives. Recommended electives include first aid and statistics. A minimum grade of C is required for each course.

What are the requirements to get into an occupational therapy program?

All applicants to the Medical Center must observe for a minimum of 16 hours in at least two occupational therapy clinical departments. However, most of those who are accepted will have a GPA of above 3.00. One class is admitted each summer. Applications must be submitted by the preceding January 15. Further information from the University Medical Center may be obtained by phoning (601) 984-6350.

Will I have to take a national Exam to be a licensed occupational therapists?

Yes. At the end of an occupational therapy program you will need to pass a national exam in order to be a licensed occupational therapist.

What kind of courses will I be taking in an occupational therapy program?

The following link outlines the occupational therapy program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center: http://shrp.umc.edu/programs/ot.html.

What is the salary for an occupational therapist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of occupational therapists was $75,400 in 2012.

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