Occupational therapy licensing is handled on a state level in Iowa through the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy. The board reviews the credentials of applicants and sets regulations and professional guidelines for those practicing in the field.

Occupational therapists in the state of Iowa must have the following educational credentials:

  • Master’s degree in occupational therapy;
  • Program-approved in-field experience.

They must present official transcripts providing documentation of these educational credentials, submit an application, and pass a certification exam. It takes approximately 5 to 6 years to complete the training needed to become an occupational therapist. However, in the state of Iowa, combined Bachelor’s/Master’s programs are sometimes offered for this field, which may speed up the process.

According to a 2018 report on occupational employment and wage estimates in Iowa from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was estimated that 940 practicing occupational therapists resided in the state of Iowa (with a relative standard error of 16.3% on this survey estimate). The median hourly wage for occupational therapists was $37.75, and the average annual wage was approximately $80,740. This is slightly lower than the $85,350 national annual income for occupational therapists in the United States, but significantly higher than the average annual income of occupational therapists in nearby Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. It is, however, very similar to the average annual wage of occupational therapists in the neighboring state of Missouri.

A 2018 report from the Iowa Occupational Therapy Association highlighted a statewide deficit of occupational therapy workers, particularly in rural areas. Iowa Workforce Development identified occupational therapy as a High Demand-High Growth Occupation, with an annual growth rate of 2.8%. This growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Practitioners in this field can be either an occupational therapist, or a certified occupational therapy assistant.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs in Davenport

Davenport, Iowa is part of a metropolitan area called the Quad Cities on the eastern border of the state. The average income of an occupational therapist in Davenport is about $34 per hour and $71,715 per year. The only school with an accredited occupational therapy program in Davenport is St. Ambrose University.

St. Ambrose University

St. Ambrose University Occupational Therapy
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, Iowa, 52804
[email protected]

St. Ambrose University offers a pre-occupational therapy program and a doctorate program for occupational therapy (97-102 credits), which takes 3 years to complete. As of 2020, students entering the program can expect to spend $121,027 over the course of the 3-year program. Additional fees such as housing costs and meal plans cost approximately $15,000 per year. The acceptance rate for St. Ambrose University is approximately 61%. Occupational therapy courses are available year-round.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs in Des Moines

Des Moine, Iowa is the capital of Iowa, and is situated along the Des Moines River. The average income of an occupational therapist in Des Moines is about $34 per hour, and $71,755 per year. The only school with an accredited occupational therapy program in Des Moines is Drake University.

Drake University

Drake University Occupational Therapy
College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa, 50311-4505
[email protected]

Programs that Drake University offers include an accelerated undergraduate pre-occupational therapy program (122.5 credits) that takes approximately 3 years to complete, and an entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program (145.5 – 147.5 credits) which also takes about 3 years to complete. Full-time tuition for the occupational therapy track is approximately $20,000 per semester. It costs approximately $57,000 per year to attend Drake University including living expenses and additional costs. The acceptance rate at Drake University is approximately 68%. Occupational therapy courses are available year-round.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs in Waterloo

Waterloo, Iowa is a small city with a population of about 70,000 people. The average income of an occupational therapist in Waterloo is about $36 per hour and $75,635 per year. The only school with an accredited occupational therapy program in Waterloo is Allen College.

Allen College

Allen College Occupational Therapy
School of Health Sciences
1825 Logan Ave
Waterloo, Iowa 50703
[email protected]

Allen College offers a Master’s of Science in occupational therapy (80 credits), which takes approximately 3 years to complete. Tuition for this program is approximately $20,000 per semester. Living costs at Allen College are approximately $13,000 per year, as well as $1,000 in fees. Allen College is a private institution and does not report on its acceptance rates. Occupational therapy courses are available year-round.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in Bettendorf

Bettendorf is a small city in eastern Iowa, and is part of the “Quad Cities.” The average income for occupational therapy assistants in Bettendorf is $25.22 per hour and $52,458 per year. The only school with an accredited occupational therapy assistant program in Bettendorf is at Ross College.

Ross College in Quad Cities

Ross College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Occupational Therapy
2119 Kimberly Rd
Bettendorf, IA 52722 

Ross College offers a program for occupational therapy assistants (92 weeks). This college is private and for-profit, and the annual tuition is about $15,990. The acceptance rate is about 100%.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in Hiawatha

Hiawatha is a small city of about 7,000 near Cedar Rapids. The average income of an occupational therapy assistant in Hiawatha is $24.81 per hour and $51,605 per year. The only program for occupational therapy assistants in Hiawatha is at Kirkwood Community College.

Kirkwood Community College

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Allied Health
2164 Linn Hall
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
[email protected]u

Kirkwood Community College offers a 2-year A.A.S. degree in occupational therapy. In-state tuition for Kirkwood Community College is $4,832, and the acceptance rate is about 100%.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in Ottumwa

Ottumwa is a small city in southern Iowa. The average income of an occupational therapy assistant in Ottumwa is $26.03 per hour and $54,142 per year. The only program for occupational therapy assistants in Ottumwa is at Indian Hills Community College.

Indian Hills Community College

Indian Hills Occupational Therapy Program
Health Sciences
525 Grandview Ave
Ottumwa, IA 52501
[email protected]

Indian Hills Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) in occupational therapy (7 terms). In-state tuition is about $4,224, and the acceptance rate is 100%.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in Waterloo

Waterloo is a city of about 68,000 in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area. The average income of occupational therapy assistants in Waterloo is $34.07 per hour and $70,869 per year. The only program for occupational therapy assistants in Waterloo is at Hawkeye Community College.

Hawkeye Community College

Hawkeye Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Health Sciences
1501 East Orange Road
Waterloo, Iowa 50704-8015
[email protected]

Hawkeye Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in occupational therapy (82 credits). In-state tuition is $5,311, and the acceptance rate is 100%.