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Best 10 Occupational Therapy Schools in California in 2021

April 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

Occupational Therapy Schools in California
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1. San Jose State University

San Jose State University boasts one of the top occupational therapy programs in California. It offers a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. This program consists of 2 years of academic study followed by 6 months of full-time fieldwork internship. They require 60 hours of observation with an occupational therapist and 20 hours volunteering with a community agency. The program accepts approximately 80 students a year.

  • Tuition per year: $7,852 in-state; $19,732 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 94% 

2. California State University – Dominguez Hills

California State University – Dominguez Hills takes the top spot on our list due to its educational quality and affordable tuition. CSUDH offers a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. This program takes seven semesters of full-time study to complete.

  • Tuition per year: $6,946 in-state; $18,826 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 76% 

3. Stanbridge University

Stanbridge University is a small private institution with a leading occupational therapy program. It offers a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. This program takes 26-28 months to complete. It only admits students in the fall semester. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree and at least 30 hours of experience observing a licensed occupational therapist. They also offer an Associate of Occupational Science – OTA program.

  • Tuition per year: $31,504
  • Graduation rate: 91%
  • NBCOT Pass Rate: 97.8%, 5-year average from 2016 – 2020

Students looking for the top occupational therapy schools in California can find the perfect program through our website.

4. West Coast University

West Coast University is a small private institution with a top occupational therapy program. It offers a Master’s in Occupational Therapy on its campus in Los Angeles. This program takes two years for students to complete at a full-time pace. It accepts applicants in both the spring and the fall. Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree and have observed a licensed occupational therapist for at least 80 hours.

  • Tuition per year: $26,645
  • Graduation rate: 75% 

5. Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University is a private university that is well-known for its health sciences and allied health programs. It offers both a Master’s in Occupational Therapy and an Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. The doctoral program is for licensed occupational therapists who want to further their careers with an advanced degree. It is offered online to accommodate working professionals in the field.

  • Tuition per year: $35,180
  • Graduation rate: 90%

6. Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt University is a private institution with a top occupational therapy program. It previously offered a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, but now it offers a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. This program is offered on SMU’s campus in Oakland. It takes three years to complete. Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree and have observed a licensed occupational therapist for a minimum of 40 hours.

  • Tuition per year: $50,138
  • Graduation rate: 98%

7. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences – California

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is a small Catholic institution with many leading health science programs. It offers both a Master of Occupational Therapy and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is completed through a blend of online and in-person classes. The school also offers a post-professional doctorate for licensed occupational therapists. This program can be completed entirely over the Internet.

  • Tuition per year: $38,844
  • Graduation rate: 90% 

8. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is perhaps the most well-known and prestigious school on this list, though its pricey tuition does negatively impact its ranking. USC offers an unmatched selection of occupational therapy degree programs. It offers a Bachelor’s to Master’s in Occupational Therapy for undergraduate students. It also offers an entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy. There are two doctoral programs available. There’s the standard Doctor of Occupational Therapy and a research-based Doctor of Occupational Science. USC also offers Sensory Integration certificates.

  • Tuition per year: $58,195
  • Graduation rate: 92%

9. Dominican University of California

The Dominican University of California has a top occupational therapy program. It offers a two-year Master of Occupational Therapy. The school also offers a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences with a Pre-Occupational Therapy track. This program is intended to prepare students for a graduate occupational therapy program. Students can even enroll in an accelerated BS/MS program at the school. Dominican’s occupational therapy programs are small, with only 16 or so students at one time. Applications are only accepted in the fall semester. Applicants must have at least 30 hours of observation experience and have successfully completed prerequisite courses.

  • Tuition per year: $46,940
  • Graduation rate: 71%

10. University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific is a small private institution with an excellent occupational therapy program. It offers a brand-new Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program. This program will take students 32 months to complete. Students will have to complete 120 units of coursework and extensive field experience to graduate. This program will be small, so students can benefit from plenty of personalized attention. The program stresses community involvement, and students will be able to get practical experience through volunteering. The curriculum will follow a biopsychosocial model to ensure that students are educated in all aspects of occupational therapy.

  • Tuition per year: $49,588
  • Graduation rate: 71%

Our Ranking Methodology

Our rankings were determined by each school’s yearly tuition rate (in-state) and graduation rate. Both values made up 50% of the school’s score in comparison to the other schools being ranked in the article. In the case of a tie, the schools with the lowest tuition rate were ranked first. The school with the highest score was ranked first with the other schools following in descending order.

If you’re looking for the best occupational therapy schools in California, you can find the perfect program using our services.

Representatives of the schools on this list can contact us with any questions or corrections they may have.

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