Occupational Therapy in Arizona: Schools, Certification Procedure, and Salary

The law in Arizona clearly states that if any citizen is not a member of the labor organization, it does not mean s/he will not get the opportunity to retain or obtain the employment. Due to this law, Arizona is considered as the right-to-work state. Thus, this state is a great place for those who want to make a career in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy schools in Arizona prepare the students to assist the patients who are suffering from a mental, physical, or emotional disability. Not only theoretical coursework but also extraordinary practical knowledge is required to become an expert in this profession. The colleges, schools, and universities offer many courses for occupational therapist and the related job titles including bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate’s, associates’, and dual degree. The dual degree course is highly beneficial for those who want to do both graduation as well as post graduation together in just 5 years. An individual can become licensed only if he/she has gained the degree from Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved school. Individuals must confirm that the school they are opting for the course should have a good past reputation with the course and the number of students enrolled in it. Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy is responsible for the licensure of occupational therapists, aides, and assistants in this state. According to payscale.com median wage of an occupational therapist in Arizona was $35.00 as of 12 Jan 2016.

Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in Arizona

  • A. T. Still University
    Address– 5850 East, Still Circle, Mesa, Arizona 85206
    Contact No.- 480-219-6000
    Official Website- https://www.atsu.edu/
  • Midwestern University
    Address– 19555 North 59th Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85308
    Contact No.- 623-572-3215
    Official Website- https://www.midwestern.edu/

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in Arizona

Being home to the largest population of any landlocked state in America, Arizona offers numerous job opportunities for occupational therapists, assistants, and other professions with related job titles. As per the data of May 2015, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that there were 1,350 employed occupational therapists in Arizona. Also, there is an expectation of a great rise in jobs opportunities for therapists and other professional between 2012 to 2022. Candidates need to follow different procedures to practice licensure in different states of United States. In Arizona, Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy undertakes this responsibility and issues the license to the occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. In order to get certified as a licensed occupational therapist in Arizona, you need to follow the following steps –

Step 1– Graduation from an Accredited Occupational Therapy School or College

Graduation is the first and foremost step for a person who wants to seek the licensure as an occupational therapist in Arizona. But, it is essential for your school of graduation to be NBCOT approved. There are two such schools in this state. For some basic information about them, you can refer to the list given in this article.

Step 2– Complete Field Experience, Internship or Practicum

It is a must that before the licensure, applicants have practical knowledge about the profession, under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. This should be done for 928 hours in an internship or paid setting.

Step 3– Clear the National Certification Exam

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy offers an exam for the certification of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in both the papers as well as online form. Fee for online exam is $500 while for the paper one, it is $540. If one fails to pass the exam, he/she can retake the exam after 45 days, and can repeat the same until succeeds. To become licensed in this state, every individual needs to clear this exam named as Occupational Therapy Registered (OTR).

Step 4– Application for the Licensure

The fourth step for who want to become a licensed occupational therapist in Arizona is to submit a completely filled and properly signed application to the board, with the fee for the application form and fingerprint fee, either in the form of a money order or check. With this, other important things that are required to be attached are, two signed professional recommendations, NBCOT notice of verification, fingerprint card, statement of citizenship and alien status, and fee for the license. The board may take some time in issuing the license after the complete verification of the information provided by you.

Step 5– Maintain the Licensure

If you get the licensure for a state once, it doesn’t mean you will be a licensed occupational therapist forever. You to need to renew it before it expires. For this, one has to complete 20 continuing education units within the licensure period of 2 years.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in Arizona

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals was $81,690 and $39.27, respectively in May 2015.

As per indeed.com, the average salary for an occupational therapist in Arizona was $71,000 per annum (as of Jul 22, 2016).

Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Rotation $42,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy $71,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient $71,000
Occupational Therapist Hand $76,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist $78,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab $71,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric $71,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled $71,000
Occupational Therapist Psych $71,000
Occupational Therapist School $71,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health $78,000
Occupational Therapist Acute $71,000
OT Occupational Therapy $84,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy $83,000
Occupational Therapist Outpatient $71,000

Information Source: indeed.com

On analysis of the table given above, we find that highest salary among all the job professionals of occupational therapy was of OT Occupational Therapy i.e. $84,000 and lowest is of Occupational Therapist Rotation.

Annual Median Salaries of OTs in Different Cities of Arizona

Name of the City Annual median Salary
Avondale $79,447
Chandler $78,919
Flagstaff $69,171
Gilbert $78,919
Glendale $79,447
Good Year $79,447
Lake Havasu City $80,990
Mesa $78,919
Peoria $79,447
Phoenix $79,447
Prescott $69,171
Scottsdale $78,919
Sierra Vista $69,171
Sun City $79,447
Surprise $79,447
Tempe $78,919
Tucson $69,171
Yuma $79,447

Information Source: salary.com

On analysis of the table given above, we find that the highest wage for an occupational therapist is $80,990 in Lake Havasu City and lowest is in four states, Tuscon, Sierra Vista, Prescott and Flagstaff i.e. $69,171.