Occupational Therapy In Virginia: Schools, Certification Procedure and Salary

Virginia is one of the oldest and one of the most populated states of the United States of America and hence there is a huge demand for occupational therapists and other professionals. Therapists, aides and assistants earn quite high in this state. According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the average income of an OT in the state of Virginia was $86,230 with an average employment of 2,620 people in May 2015. The license to practice in the state of Virginia is issued by the Occupational Therapy Advisory Board, which takes around 2 months to issue the license.

There are many occupational therapy schools in Virginia that offer various programs according to the suitability of students including bachelor’s, associates’, master’s, doctorate’s or dual degree courses. The master’s degree in the field would take 1-2 years for the existing OTs which could extend to 2-3 years if you are not a graduate in the same field. Dual degree courses are for the students who want to complete both bachelor’s and master’s in lesser time as it takes just 5 years to complete. These schools, colleges or institutes are mostly accredited to Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and they train the individuals not only theoretically but also practically to prepare them for serving the patients undergoing any physical, mental or emotional disability. However, before enrolling to a particular school to earn your degree, make sure about the past reputation of the school you have selected to pursue the professional course and also about the number of students enrolled in it in the past few years.

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

Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in Virginia

  • Jefferson College Of Health Sciences
    Address – 101 Elm Avenue, South East, Roanoke, VA 24013
    Contact No. – 540-224-6704
    Official Websitehttp://www.jchs.edu
  • J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
    Address – P.O. Box 85622 Richmond, Virginia 23285-5622
    Contact No. – 804-371-3000
    Official Websitehttp://www.reynolds.edu
  • James Madison University
    Address – 800 South Main Street, Harrisonburg VA 22807
    Contact No. – 540-568-3555
    Official Websitehttp://www.jmu.edu
  • Shenandoah University
    Address – 1460 University Drive Winchester, VA 22601
    Contact No. – 800-432-2266
    Official Websitehttp://www.su.edu
  • Southwest Virginia Community College
    Address – Physical Plant 724 Community College Road, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609
    Contact No. – 276-964-7238
    Official Websitehttp://sw.edu
  • Tidewater Community College
    Address – 121 College Place, Norfolk, VA 23510
    Contact No. – 757-822-1122
    Official Websitehttp://www.tcc.edu
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
    Address – Richmond, Virginia 23284
    Contact No. – 804-828-0100
    Official Websitehttp://www.vcu.edu

Stepwise Procedure To Become An Occupational Therapist In Virginia

Occupational therapists and related job professional earn good money in this state. This makes it one of the favorite places of the aspirants to pursue the degree of occupational therapy. In order to become a licensed therapist, one needs to have a licensure of the particular state in which he/she wants to work. Most of the steps in the process to become a licensed occupational therapist are similar but some things may differ from state to state. In Virginia, Occupational Therapy Advisory Board is responsible to issue license to the applicants. There are two kinds of licensure; one is for occupational therapists and other is for occupational therapy assistants. Individuals can get a temporary licensure in any of the two levels while waiting for the exam to acquire the permanent licensure. To get a temporary license, one must work under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist that holds at least one year of licensure in the state. All those who wish to become therapists in Virginia need to follow the following procedure:

Step 1 – Graduation In Occupational Therapy

To gain the licensure in Virginia, the very first step is to become a graduate from an accredited school and colleges for occupational therapy which includes master’s, bachelor’s, associates’ and dual degrees. You can refer the list of ACOTE approved colleges and universities given in this article and select one.

Step 2 – Complete the Internship Or Practicum

For the licensure, 2nd step is to complete a minimum 24 weeks of internship or practicum in a clinical setting. This should be done under the supervision of an experienced and registered occupational therapist.

Step 3 – Clear The National Certification Exam

To work as a licensed occupational therapist in Virginia, it is necessary for an aspirant to gain the national certification. For this, applicants need to take an exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy named as Occupational Therapy Registered (OTR) exam. It is essential to score at least 450 marks in this test to gain the licensure.

Step 4 – Apply For The State License In Virginia

After passing the examination, next thing that individuals need to do is to apply for the license to the Board of Virginia. For this, first of all you need to submit a completely filled and signed application to the Occupational Therapy Advisory Board with the check or money order of the application fee. Along with this, applicants have to submit a score report of verification of certification from NBCOT, official transcripts from the schools they have attended till date, verification of licensure of all the schools where you have practiced earlier, to the board. The board may take about 2 months to issue the license.

Step 5 – Maintain The Professional Licensure

License renewal is equally important as gaining the licensure. In order to maintain it, you need to complete at least 20 hours of continuing education within the 2 years of your licensure period before the license gets expired. For more information, you can visit the site of Virginia Occupational Therapy Association.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in Virginia

According to the BLS, the average annual and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals in Virginia was $86,230 and $41.46 (in May 2015), respectively.

Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Rotation $51,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy $87,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient $87,000
Occupational Therapist Hand $93,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist $96,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab $87,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric $87,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled $87,000
Occupational Therapist Psych $87,000
Occupational Therapist School $87,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health $95,000
Occupational Therapist Acute $87,000
OT Occupational Therapy $103,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy $102,000
Occupational Therapist Outpatient $87,000

Information Source: indeed.com

As per indeed.com, the average salary of an occupational therapist in Virginia was $87,000 per annum (as of Apr 13, 2016) with the minimum salary of an Occupational Therapist Rotation with $51,000 and the maximum lies with the OT Occupational Therapy with about $103,000.

Annual Median Salaries Of OTs In Different Cities Of Virginia

Name of the City Annual Median Salary
Alexandria $89,155
Annandale $89,155
Arlington $89,155
Centreville $89,155
Chesapeake $74,570
Hampton $74,570
Lynchburg $71,526
Newport News $74,570
Norfolk $74,570
Petersburg $80,974
Portsmouth $74,570
Reston $89,155
Richmond $80,974
Roanoke $73,835
Suffolk $74,570
Virginia Beach $74,570

Information Source: salary.com

From the above table, we can make out the lowest salary in Lynchburg with $71,526 and the maximum lies with Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Centreville and Reston with $89,155.