Occupational Therapy Courses in India: Occupational therapy can be defined as a branch in healthcare meant to assist people with physical, emotional, social or cognitive disabilities and disorders. It deals with the protection, care, adaptation and education needed to cater to the independence of individuals across their everyday barriers in life.
A professional who works primarily with occupational therapy is called an Occupational Therapist. Occupational therapy courses have been growing since the 20th century around the world and many students in India are considering this as a career prospect in the domain of healthcare. In India, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recognizes the occupational therapy courses available at present.
Although a limited number of institutes offer these courses, we will now go through the course options, requisites for eligibility, course structure, fees and average pay in this career.
The programs offered by various institutes include
- Diploma courses
- UG degree courses
- PG degree courses
- PG diploma courses
Occupational Therapy Diploma Courses
These are specific duration courses and essentially provide additional qualifications for students to enhance their chances of securing jobs in occupational therapy. The option available includes:
Diploma in Occupational Therapy (DOT)
- Eligibility: To be eligible for a diploma program, a student must have completed class 12th in the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) as the main subjects. Other course-specific criteria may be necessary.
- Course Structure: This course is for generally three years and students are mainly introduced to the basics of occupational therapy in addition to physiology, anatomy, psychology and other related subjects necessary for them to earn a degree.
- Scope: A student with a diploma in occupational therapy may be employed in residential and nursing homes, voluntary services, health care facilities, client facilities, educational establishments as a therapy assistant and so on.
Occupational Therapy UG Degree Courses
Occupational therapy courses providing a UG degree are usually 3 to 4.5-year programs that can be completed from a recognized university. These are courses in the Medical stream which involve different treatment methods to provide better living conditions. The undergraduate degree choices available are:
- B.Sc in Occupational Therapy
- BOT (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy)
Eligibility: These degree programs require completion of class 12th with minimum aggregate marks in the Science stream including Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) as the main subjects. Admission to courses may also depend on entrance scores followed by interview rounds.
Course Structure: This is usually a program for 3- 4.5 years dealing with theoretical understanding as well as training and sessions in a therapy clinic. A combination of theory, understanding and the development of practical abilities is ensured on completion of a UG degree.
Scope: A wide range of opportunities are available for students with a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. Job positions include speech and language therapist, private practitioner, critical care in-charge, teacher and consultant in various facilities, institutes and establishments.
Occupational Therapy PG Degree Courses
Post Graduate courses include Master’s degree programs which account for advanced insights to the enrolled students. These courses are suitable for individuals with a developed sense of empathy and patience willing to dedicate their time and skills to the well being of their patients. The option under this includes:
M.Sc in Occupational Therapy
- Eligibility: This course option is available to students who have completed their Bachelor’s degree with an aggregate of 55% marks from a recognized University. The admission in some institutes depends on the scores of their common entrance tests followed by interviews as required. The M.Sc degree admissions may also be merit-based.
- Course Structure: This is a 2-year degree program with 4 semesters and is designed to shape individuals with professional training. This, in turn, helps other individuals live a stable, sustained and growing life. The program not only inculcates advanced ideas of physical health through courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry and others but also deals with several aspects of mental health.
- Scope: A Master’s degree always provides advantages from a personal and professional point of view and the employment areas may include hospitals, health centers, OT in- charge, occupational therapists, critical care in- charge and many more depending on the specialization required.
Occupational Therapy PG Diploma Courses
These are short duration courses that can be availed in addition to the completion of degree programs and the national certification examination which provides the practice license to professionals. The main course option under this is:
Post Graduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice
- Eligibility: The minimum requirement for this is a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in any or a specific field depending upon the course opted. For some institutes, individuals with a diploma may also be eligible.
- Course Structure: The duration of a post-graduate diploma course is 1 year with 2 semesters for a full-time course and deals with advanced therapy techniques, training and complex skill development projects. It includes core as well as elective courses dedicated to research.
- Scope: Professionals with a PG diploma can take up several roles in the healthcare domain either in industrial rehabilitation, community consultation, hospitals, development conditions, technicians, etc among others.
- Fees: Courses in occupational therapy have diverse fee ranges depending upon the program and nature of course selected by students. In India, the average fees for an undergraduate degree course range from INR 2, 00,000- INR 10, 00,000. Master’s degree courses have fees ranging between INR 6,000 – INR 2, 40,000 whereas for the different degree courses the costs may be INR 10,000 – INR 1, 00,000.
Occupational Therapy Courses – Industry Domains/Career Opportunities/ Salary
A career in occupational theory requires students as well as professionals to help with the development of computer and writing skills, imbibe a positive outlook, work on neurological and physical coordination as well as help individuals in need with the basic chores of personal care.
Research, as well as recruitment options in this branch, vary from rehabilitation, therapy and vision adjustment, psychiatric, skeletal and neurological aspects in different care centers, prisons, hospitals, industries, social services or even personal residents. The approximate entry-level salary ranges from INR 10,000 – INR 12,000 and may increase depending upon qualifications and experience.
FAQ’s on Occupational Therapy Courses
What are the requirements for personal practice in occupational therapy?
Completion of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree along with the license required for practice is essential. The national certification exam provides this license.
How to choose the right institute?
Students are advised to check the affiliation and recognition of the University, thoroughly go through their brochure and visit premises if possible. Any institutes also complete parts of their course through modes that may be beneficial.
How to know occupational therapy is the right career for me?
In case of confusion, career counseling can help students select the right career. On a personal level, this profession needs patience, understanding, commitment and empathy towards individuals.