A career in occupational therapy (OT) provides the opportunity to work with people of all ages and improve their quality of life. Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan to participate in the pursuits of their daily lives through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.
An occupational therapy doctorate offers an opportunity for growth and leadership in the field. Still, students may hesitate to pursue it due to financial concerns. Fortunately, prospective occupational therapy students can explore scholarships and grants. For ways to mitigate education costs, see the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) scholarships below.
What is the Average Tuition for an Occupational Therapy Doctorate?
Fortunately, you may not have to shoulder high tuition costs on your own. Keep reading for a rundown of some grants available to Doctorate of Occupational Therapy students.
Grants for Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Students
Various providers offer grants to aspiring occupational therapists. These financial awards typically aid OT students who are involved in research projects. In some cases, grants can be used for tuition as well.
Here are some places that offer grants to occupational therapy students:
American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF)
The mission of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation is “to advance the science of occupational therapy to support people’s full participation in meaningful life activities.” The foundation accomplishes this in many ways, from releasing publications to assisting those in the field. One of the ways they assist OTs is through research grants. The grants often have a very specific area of study laid out for researchers. New grants are released regularly.
Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
The Grants.gov database is filled with legitimate sources of funding. With specific filters, you can comb through grants and find ones that you meet your criteria. Consider using this website to expand your grant options.
Guide to Occupational Therapy Scholarships for Doctoral Students
If you find the high price of OTD programs daunting, there is good news. Many universities offer financial aid. Additionally, OT students have access to occupational therapy scholarships from multiple foundations and organizations.
American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Scholarships
Any OTD student can apply for this $2,000 scholarship. However, those with diverse ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be selected. Applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation.
Lela Llorens Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship is open to OTD students who have practiced excellent leadership in the Student Occupational Therapy Association on their campus and as a member of the Black Occupational Therapy Association and/or Caucus are eligible.
The Florence Wood Scholarship
This $500 American Occupational Therapy Foundation scholarship is open to OT students in Arkansas.
Robert and Sharon Ryan Endowed Scholarship
Full-time OTD students are welcome to apply for this scholarship, with preference for “underrepresented minority students.” The award amount is not specified. As with all AOTF scholarships, applicants must have finished at least one year of OT coursework.
More Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Scholarships
Scholarship Program for Therapists — AMBUCS
AMBUCS is a nonprofit that aims to inspire “people to conquer challenges related to mobility and independence.” The foundation offers multiple scholarships for students in doctorate degree programs related to therapy. Scholarships range from $500 to $3,000. Applicants do not need to be affiliated with AMBUCS.
Scholarship for Physical and Occupational Therapy Students — HIE Help Center
Students planning a career in occupational therapy can apply for this $1,000 scholarship. This award is open to OT students who are not yet enrolled in a degree program. Applicants must submit an essay.
ASDAR, an Arizona organization with chapters across the state, offers this $1,000 scholarship to occupational therapy students at accredited Arizona universities. Along with an essay discussing plans, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation.
Becky Burrows Memorial Scholarship — Pilot International
Pilot International’s mission is to support those who care for others. The $1,000 Becky Burrows scholarship is open to graduate students who are re-entering the job market, beginning second careers or “seeking to improve their professional skills for their current occupation by continuing their education in that field.”
Ruby Newhall Memorial Scholarship — Pilot International
For international students seeking financial assistance, this award offers up to $1,500. The applicant’s “field of study must be of a nature that it improves the quality of life for the community in their home country.” This is open to master’s and doctoral students.
Marie Newton Sepia Memorial Scholarship — Pilot International
If you are interested in working with children post-doctorate, consider applying for this award. Applicants must be pursuing “careers related to youth development and leadership, brain safety and fitness or caring for families in times of need.” This scholarship offers up to $1,000 in tuition assistance.
Physical/Occupational Therapist Scholarship — Lamber-Goodnow Law
If you are enrolled in an occupational therapy program, consider applying for this $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must submit a short essay about why they are pursuing a career as an occupational therapist, and no letters of recommendation are required.
Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students — Health Resources and Services Administration
Universities across the country partner with the HRSA to offer funds to disadvantaged students. To see if you meet the disadvantaged student criteria, visit the HRSA website (PDF, 144 KB). The award amount varies depending on student needs and funds available.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Outlook page reports that occupational therapists earn an average of $84,270 per year and that employment in the field is expected to grow by 18% from 2018-2028. An increase in job prospects means more opportunities for qualified occupational therapists. However, there are a number of educational requirements on the path to becoming a licensed occupational therapist.
No matter what brings you to the field of occupational therapy, obtaining scholarships after getting into OT school can help relieve some of the financial strain. Take advantage of these resources on your path to an occupational therapy doctoral degree. Once you are in a doctoral program, continue applying for grants and scholarships to increase your chances of receiving funds throughout the program.