Scholarships for Occupational Therapy StudentsSeptember 18, 2023
Becoming an occupational therapist can be very expensive. The average total cost of earning this degree can vary from $65,000 to $200,000, with those who earn doctoral degrees facing especially high costs.
The good news is there are scholarships for occupational therapy students that can help you reduce the total amount you’ll have to pay out of your pocket for school. Occupational therapy scholarships do not need to be repaid, unlike student loans. They may be available from schools, private organizations, or nonprofits.
Check out this guide to scholarships for occupational therapy to find some programs that could help you pay for your degree.
Occupational Therapy Scholarships
Here are several OT scholarships that you may be interested in applying for.
The AOTF Scholarship Program is operated through the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Applicants must:
- Be currently enrolled as a full-time student in an AOTA-accredited or developing professional-level OTA program
- Submit a resume, 500-word essay, and reference or recommendation forms
- Comply by the October deadline for application submissions
A total of 27 states award scholarships through this program, with amounts varying by location as well as residency and membership requirements.
OccupationalTherapy.com provides two $5,000 scholarships annually. Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Must be pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy.
You can find out details about the OccuptionalTherapy.com scholarship on the organization’s website.
Med Travelers awards a $5,000 scholarship twice a year to students who are pursuing a degree in occupational therapy, physical therapy, school psychology, or speech-language pathology. Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be pursuing an advanced degree in a relevant field
- Submit a written essay showcasing your life and your career story
Applications for this scholarship must be submitted by November 30, 2023, and those selected for a scholarship will receive the funds distributed in the form of a $5,000 check.
National AMBUCS Inc. has provided scholarships since 1955 to students pursuing degrees in occupational therapy or in other related fields, including speech-language pathology, physical therapy, or hearing audiology.
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a U.S. citizen accepted in an accredited graduate program
- You must demonstrate financial need, commitment to your local community, compassion, and integrity.
Scholarships range from $600 to $1,500, with one OT scholarship of $6,000 available as a two-year award. The funds will be distributed to your school’s financial aid office if you are selected for an AMBUCS scholarship.
Applications for this program are accepted between February 1 and May 1, and you can find out more about it on the AMBUCs website.
The HIE Help Scholarship is available to physical, occupational, and speech therapy students who meet the following requirements:
- Be enrolled in a higher education institution studying physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy
- Have a 3.25 GPA or higher
- Not be a past client of ABC Law Centers
- Submit a completed application, an academic transcript, and a response to a question about why you are pursuing a degree and your unique approach to the profession. The response must come in the form of a creative project or a 750 to 1000-word essay.
One $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually, and both undergraduate and grad students are eligible. The funds will be issued in the form of a check made payable to the school you are attending.
How to Find Scholarships for Occupational Therapy
These are just a few of many potential scholarships for occupational therapy students that may be available to you. You can find more OT scholarships using the following resources:
- Your school’s financial aid office. The financial aid office should provide details about all different types of scholarships and grants you may be eligible for based on your grades, academic and personal background, or desired area of study. The financial aid office can also help you to explore loans and work study programs as well.
- Scholarship databases. Websites such as BigFuture provide you with searchable databases of scholarships you could apply for. You can filter the available scholarships based on many factors, including location and area of study.
- Professional organizations: Groups like the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) can provide you with resources to help you find OT scholarships. You can look for both local and national groups that operate within the occupational therapy space.
Starting your scholarship search early is always best, as many programs have strict deadlines and limited funding. You may also have to complete specific requirements, such as submitting essays or creative projects, and it can take time to fulfill these requirements by the application deadline.
Will Occupational Therapy Scholarships Cover the Entire Cost of Your Degree?
While scholarships for occupational therapy students can help you pay for school, they often will not provide enough money to cover all the costs you will incur when you earn your degree. Additional sources of funding could come from the following sources:
- Family support
- Working while attending school
- Student loans
Borrowing for school is possible and is often necessary. The good news is that both the Department of Education and private student loan lenders offer affordable loan options for OT students. You should explore different loan programs, compare interest rates and loan terms, and always choose to refinance private student loans after graduation to help keep your total borrowing costs as low as possible.