How Much Does Becoming an Occupational Therapist Cost?

Costs main cover image
$ Master's Degree: $15,000-$70,000 $ $ Doctorate: $43,000-$108,000

The role of the occupational therapists is to help people accomplish everyday activities, including service to people recovering from injury, children or adults with disabilities, and older adults who are experiencing physical and mental changes.

Typical Costs

Getting a master’s degree in occupational therapy usually costs $15,000-$70,000.

Milligan College, a private college in Tennessee, for example, provides 79-credit master’s degree in occupational therapy for the sum of $49,000.

The University of New Mexico, a public school, provides a master’s in occupational therapy from $15,000 for state residents taking the maximum number of courses per semester, to $70,000 for non-residents taking courses at a slower pace.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, getting a master’s degree in occupational therapy is the typical minimum requirement for entry into the field.

There are numerous accredited doctorate programs in occupational therapy, for the sum of $43,000-$108,000 and usually taking 3-5 years to complete.

For example, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, ends up in tuition costs of $108,000 over five years for their Occupational Therapy Doctorate program.

At the same time, the University of Toledo in Ohio estimates tuition of $42,800 for Ohio residents or $81,200 for non-residents over the eight-semester doctorate program.

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, at the same time costs $99,800 over seven semesters.

The board certification costs $500 and can be earned by taking the exam with the National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy, which meets the requirements to practice as an occupational therapist in most states.

After passing the test, the practitioners can use the title Occupational Therapist Registered.

The state licensing fees are typical $90-$300.

For example, the Washington’s occupational therapist licensing fee is $175, while New York’s fee is $294.

The states require registration or licensure to practice occupational therapy.

Links to state licensing boards are available at the California Board of Occupational Therapy.

What Is Included

The occupational therapy students need to attend a school which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education to take the national certification exam.

The occupational therapist programs need to cover coursework of physical, biological, and behavioural sciences plus an application of occupational therapy theory and skills.

For the accredited programs, students need to have supervised work experience in the field for 24 weeks of their studies.

Additional Costs

The additional costs can top the sum with $10,000-$20,000 for a student’s expenses in occupational therapy school.

The students can expect to pay $13,000 annually for room and board at Ithaca College in New York, or $11,000-$16,000 at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

The additional fees at Boston University include $12,000 for room and board, $1,000 for transportation, and $4,500 for books, fees and personal expenses.

Schools may require students to pay an equipment fee of $100-$700 each year to rent or use the equipment.

The program of Creighton University in Anchorage, AK, for example, charges students $600-$700 each year for equipment fees over the four-year program, while Orlando’s University of Central Florida charges a $50 per semester equipment fee.

The University of Oklahoma charges approx. $600 over an occupational therapy student’s coursework for lab fees.


Some national organizations, including the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, secure scholarships of $150-$5,000 per year to occupational therapy students.

The state organization Missouri Occupational Therapy Association further offers limited entry-level scholarships, and schools like the University of Kansas award scholarships to occupational therapy students regularly.

Shopping For Becoming An Occupational Therapist

  • The American Occupational Therapy Association offers a guide on how to become an occupational therapist.
  • They also offer a list of accredited schools and programs for prospective students.
  • The National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy offers free study tools for the certification exam.

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