Occupational Therapy child development class. Students evaluating babies for typical function milestones.

As an occupational therapist, you’ll use the “occupations” of work and productive activities, play, leisure, social participation and self-care to reduce impairment and teach skills to clients who have physical, developmental, emotional or mental health disabilities.

In the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) occupational therapy master’s program, you’ll design therapies as basic as bathing, dressing or eating, or as complex as operating a computer with modified control switches. As diverse as these therapies are, they share a common goal: promoting health, wellness and full engagement in everyday routines so that your clients can lead satisfying lives.

Program Type

Master’s

Program Format

On Campus
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Occupational Therapy…

As an Occupational Therapist you will assist clients perform activities of all types so they can live as independently as possible. Services often includ cusomized treatment programs to improve a person’s ability to preform activities for a full engagement in life.

Graduate students working with Professor on project.
  • Our occupational therapy master’s program is one of the largest in Wisconsin, and as the only public OT Program in the Greater Milwaukee area, we offer a top-notch academic experience at a fraction of the cost of private schools.
  • Our urban location and deep community ties ensure ample options for your required fieldwork experience. We partner with more than 300 clinic sites in Milwaukee and across the United States.
  • We’re known for our unique specialization in assistive technology and offer a certificate in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design. Our Assistive Technology Laboratory features state-of-the-art equipment that is unmatched in the state.
  • We’re home of the Rehabilitation Design and Disability (R2D2) Center, a multidisciplinary research center where occupational therapy, assistive technology, communication sciences and disorders, engineering, and universal design experts support discovery and application of new knowledge.
  • You can add specialized skills by choosing electives such as acute care, modalities, hand therapy, low vision, and trauma counseling.

Employment Outlook

Earnings

The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $84,950 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,800, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $121,490.

In May 2019 the median annual wages for occupational therapists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)$90,830
Home healthcare services$89,220
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists$87,190
Hospitals; state, local, and private$85,510
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private$74,670

Expected Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.

The need for occupational therapists is expected to increase as the large baby-boom generation ages and people remain active later in life. Occupational therapists can help senior citizens maintain their independence by recommending home modifications and strategies that make daily activities easier. Therapists also play a large role in the treatment of many conditions and ailments commonly associated with aging, such as arthritis and stroke.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School. In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the departmental requirements found under the Admission section in the UWM Academic Catalog.

Students can apply to the occupational therapy master’s program through the OT Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). OTCAS provides a full-service, web-based application and admissions process for prospective occupational therapy program applicants.

Once recommended for acceptance to the program, you will need to apply to and be accepted by the UWM Graduate School.

UW-Milwaukee Undergraduate students should contact Aggie Northrup, MS about obtaining a Pre-Occupational Therapy designation for more admission opportunities. Questions about applying to the MS in Occupational Therapy Degree Program can be sent to ot-program@uwm.edu. Additionally, applicants can look through our Frequently Asked Questions document.

Our occupational therapy master’s degree curriculum prepares the generalist occupational therapist for entry-level practice in a variety of environments and practice settings, including health care delivery systems, educational institutions, public health, and social service organizations.

Since no single theoretical model adequately prepares the generalist occupational therapy practitioner, theories and conceptual practice models from social, natural, and physical sciences, combined with theories of occupation and sensitivity to culture and diversity, provide the building blocks of our curriculum.

It is organized by foundational concepts of occupation and occupational therapy, and will build on your culture, life experiences, and prior knowledge. You will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in assistive technology, accessible design, professionalism, and leadership through coursework, fieldwork, and service-learning experiences.

Graduates are prepared to assess the quality of information upon which evaluation and intervention decisions are based, evaluate intervention outcomes, and improve practice as scholarly practitioners focused on client-centered care.

For information regarding the curriculum and for course descriptions, see the UWM Academic Catalog.

Year 1: Fall

1st Level I Fieldwork (January-April)

COURSECREDITS
PRPP 725: Gross Anatomical Kinesiology3
OCCTHPY 705: Occupational Therapy in Physical Rehabilitation I3
OCCTHPY 707: Seminar I1
OCCTHPY 720: Application of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Theory3
OCCTHPY 721: Foundations of Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy2
OCCTHPY 880: Master’s Project1
TOTAL CREDITS:13

Year 1: Spring

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 620: Introduction to Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation Technologies3
OCCTHPY 703: Applied Neuroscience3
OCCTHPY 704: Musculoskeletal Analysis and Occupational Function3
OCCTHPY 706: Occupational Therapy in Physical Rehabilitation II (Part 1)2
OCCTHPY 708: Seminar II1
OCCTHPY 880: Master’s Project1
TOTAL CREDITS:13

Year 1: Summer

2nd Level I Fieldwork (after summer courses – August, or third semester – Fall)

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 540: Evidence for Practice3
OCCTHPY 706: Occupational Therapy in Physical Rehabilitation II (Part 2)3
OCCTHPY 719: Occupational Therapy in Psychosocial Practice3
Optional Electives/Thesis
TOTAL CREDITS:9

Year 2: Fall

2nd Level I Fieldwork (Sept-Nov, unless completed in Summer)

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 519: Therapeutic Communication3
OCCTHPY 542: Evidence for Practice II3
OCCTHPY 709: Seminar III1
OCCTHPY 740: Occupational Therapy with Children and Families4
OCCTHPY 880: Master’s Project1
Optional Electives/Thesis
TOTAL CREDITS:12+

Year 2: Spring

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 725: Occupational Therapy Field Service I
(off campus Jan-Mar)
6
OCCTHPY 744: Advanced Occupational Therapy for Aging Adults3
Optional Electives for Early Spring:
OCCTHPY 718: OT in Acute Care
OCCTHPY 743: Advances in Child Centered Occupational Therapy
TOTAL CREDITS:9+

Year 2: Summer

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 710: Comm. Models of Occupational Therapy Practice2
OCCTHPY 711: Professional Leadership of Occupational Therapists3
Optional Elective/Thesis
TOTAL CREDITS:5

Year 3: Fall

COURSECREDITS
OCCTHPY 735: Occupational Therapy Field Service II
(off campus Oct-Dec)
6
OCCTHPY 810: Critical Evaluation of Theory, Research, and Practice (3 wks.)2
Optional Elective
TOTAL CREDITS:8
Portrait of Justin Almquist
  • University Services Program Associate, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Kris Barnekow
  • Associate Professor, Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Implementation Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Tamicah Gelting
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Carol Haertlein Sells
  • Professor Emerita, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Mark Johnston
  • Professor Emeritus, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Katie Jopp Portrait
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Jay Kapellusch
  • Professor, Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Phyllis King
  • Professor, UWM Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Occupational Ergonomics Laboratory Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Heidi Plach
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Alyssa Schnorenberg
  • Researcher, Mobility Lab Manager, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Michelle Silverman
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, ATAD Certificate Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Bhagwant Sindhu
  • Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program Director, Graduate Program Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Brooke Slavens
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Roger Smith
  • Professor, Rehabilitiation Research Design & Disability Center Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Virginia Stoffel
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Julie Thomas
  • Administrative Specialist, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Patricia Thomas
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Science and Technology Program Director, Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Inga Wang
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Dana Washburn
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Accreditation

UW-Milwaukee’s College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) through 2020. ACOTE can be contacted at:

6116 Executive Boulevard
Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
acoteonline.org
301-652-6611 x2914

Contact

For information regarding application and admission to the OT program, please contact 414-229-4713 or OT-program@uwm.edu.