Occupational Therapy In Montana: Schools, Certification Procedure, and Salary

Montana is the 4th largest state, but at the same time, it is also the 44th in population and 48th in population density among all the 50 states of the United States of America. Due to less population, there are fewer career opportunities for occupational therapy professionals, but high salary in the state makes it one of the favorite places for the aspirants of occupational therapy to pursue their career. According to the BLS, the average annual and hourly wages of occupational therapy professionals in Montana was $69,580 and $33.45 (in May 2015) respectively. The Montana Board of Occupational Therapy Practice regulates the process of issuance of licensure for different levels of occupational therapy in the state of Montana. The licensing body may take several weeks to provide the license to the applicants.

Occupational Therapy Schools in Montana allow the students to earn a degree for any of the job titles of the field, and also educate the students about all important subjects and topics related to the occupational therapy. The coursework not only includes theoretical knowledge but also comprises of field work that enhances the ability of the students to serve their patients practically. Courses like bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate’s, associate’s, and dual degree are available in such universities, schools, or colleges. Graduate students in occupational therapy who are already practicing can gain the master’s degree in 1 or 2 years while a bachelor degree holder in some other stream will be able to obtain the same degree in 2 or 3 years. The dual degree course is great for the students who want to become both graduate and post graduate in just 5 years duration. Students should earn their degrees from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved school, college, or university. In addition to this, they must also be aware of the past reputation of the school and number of students enrolled in the program you have opted for in the last 5 years.

To know more about the accredited schools, procedure to become an OT, and the salary figures in different cities of the state of Montana, read below:

Occupational Therapy Schools in Montana

  • Montana State University in Billings
    Address- 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT 59101
    Contact No.- 406-657-2011
    Official Website- http://www.msubillings.edu/
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
    Address- 1300 W. Park Street, Butte, MT 59701
    Contact No.- 800-445-8324
    Official Website- http://www.mtech.edu/
  • University of Montana
    Address- 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812
    Contact No.- 406-243-0211
    Official Website- http://www.umt.edu/

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in Montana

There are not enough vacancies for occupational therapists in the state of Montana. According to the data of Statistics, there were 360 employed and licensed occupational therapists in May 2015, in Montana. For every state, there is a different license body in America that issues license to the applicants of occupational therapy at different levels. In Montana, the Montana Board of Occupational Therapy Practice is responsible for the complete process required for licensure and issuance of the license in the state. Likewise most of the states, the board in Montana too offers the license to the applicants for occupational therapy at two levels, one is for occupational therapy assistants, and the other is for the occupational therapists. While waiting to sit for the exam for permanent license, candidates can apply for a temporary license. For it, you have to work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist with at least one year of licensure in the state. If you want to practice as a registered occupational therapist in Montana, follow the stepwise procedure given below-

Step 1– Graduation from an Accredited School of Occupational Therapy

First of all, in order to gain the licensure as a registered occupational therapist in the state of Montana, you need to be a graduate in the field with a bachelor’s, master’s, or dual degree from an ACOTE or AOTA approved school, college, or university. Unfortunately, there is not any accredited school for occupational therapy in Montana. Thus, you can search for such schools in nearby areas. There are some non-accredited schools in the state. For basic information about them, you can refer to the list given in the article.

Step 2– Complete the Internship or Practicum

Field program is quite an important thing in any profession as it prepares the students to amplify their knowledge and abilities to serve the patients, and analyze the practical situations they have to deal with while working. Thus, internship or practicum is a crucial part of the coursework of occupational therapy. To get the license as a registered nurse in Montana, Individuals have to complete a minimum 6 months of field program under the guidance of a licensed occupational therapist in a clinical setting or hospital.

Step 3– Pass the National Certification Exam

One has to pass the national certification exam in order to get the license as an occupational therapist in the state. After passing the Occupational Therapist Exam (OTR), you can apply for licensure in any state and can practice as an occupational therapist. This exam is organized by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). One has to score at least 450 to pass this exam.

Step 4 – Application for the State License

After passing the OTR exam, you need to apply for the licensure to the licensing body of the state. To accomplish this, they have to submit a completely filled and properly signed application with the license fee of $190 in the form of money order or cheque. In addition to this, you also have to provide a copy of certification from NBCOT, copy of an approved form of identification, and verification of licensure from all the past jurisdictions where you have worked till date. Board of licensing may take some weeks or months in the issuance of the license after complete verification of documents and other transcripts.

Step 5 – Maintenance of the Licensure

License maintenance is equally important as to gain it from the licensing board of the state. For renewal in Montana, you have to complete 20 continuing education contact hours within 2 years of licensure period. After this, you can continue working as a licensed occupational therapist without any kind of intrusion.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in Montana

As per indeed.com, salary of an occupational therapist in Montana was $72,000 as of July 25, 2016.

Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Rotation $43,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy $72,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient $72,000
Occupational Therapist Hand $77,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist $80,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab $72,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric $72,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled $72,000
Occupational Therapist Psych $72,000
Occupational Therapist School $72,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health $79,000
Occupational Therapist Acute $72,000
OT Occupational Therapy $86,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy $85,000
Occupational Therapist Outpatient $72,000

Information Source: indeed.com

On the analysis of the table above, we can find out that the wage of OT Occupational Therapy is highest among all the related jobs titles of occupational therapy in Montana at $86,000, while the lowest is of Occupational Therapy Rotation at $43,000.

Annual Median Salaries of OTs in Different Cities of Montana

Name of the City Annual Median Salary
Billings $71,323
Bozeman $65,044
Butte $65,044
Great Falls $70,430
Helena $65,044
Kalispell $70,430
Missoula $65,044

Information Source: salary.com

From the table above, we can conclude that income of an occupational therapist among the different cities of Montana is highest in Billings with $71,323, and lowest is in four cities out of the 7 cities with $65,044.