Occupational therapy in Nebraska is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the occupational therapy job outlook is positive. This type of work will increase 18% faster than the average for all occupations. While the national average salary for an occupational therapist in 2018 was $84,270, in Nebraska, therapists can make up to $80,853 a year. Surrounding states, including Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, and Iowa, have similar wages, averaging at $80,000 a year.

To become an occupational therapist in the state of Nebraska, you first need the proper degree. A bachelor’s or a master’s degree is required from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school. You must also perform six months of work experience under a licensed occupational therapist.

After receiving the proper education, you must pass an exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Once you pass the exam, you can apply for a license. When applying for a license, you must have the following:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship;
  • Educational transcripts;
  • Any health-related licenses;
  • Exam scores;
  • Physical Agent Modalities (PAM) Certification;
  • And any conviction information.

The state of Nebraska requires occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to obtain certification to administer PAMs. This certification allows therapists to perform superficial thermal, deep thermal, and electrotherapeutic agent modalities. You can gain this certification in a few different ways:

  • Take an approved training course;
  • Accumulate five years of experience and pass an exam;
  • Take an occupational therapy education course;
  • Or receive a Hand Therapy Certification Commission number.

Fees associated with licensure and certifications include $120 for the initial license, PAMs certification, and license renewal. However, the license fee could be waived if:

  • You are under the age of 26;
  • You are a low-income worker;
  • Or you are part of the military or a military family.

As an occupational therapist, your license lasts for two years. During that time, you must complete 50 hours of continuing education to renew.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs in Omaha

Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska and sits close to the Missouri River. If you wish to be an occupational therapist in Omaha, you can expect an average salary of $83,361, or an hourly wage of $40. The city also houses three schools to obtain an occupational therapy degree.

Creighton University

At Creighton, students can enroll in a doctorate program for occupational therapy. The college also offers fieldwork opportunities, a capstone experience, and fellowships for specialties. The course is four years long and has enrollment in both the summer and winter.

Degree Level: Doctorate
Credit Hours: N/A
$37,588 for the first year;
$55,461 for years 2-4.
Application Due Dates:
Preferred deadline: October 1st;
Final Deadline: March 1st.
Prerequisites/Application Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation;
  • observation in an OT setting;
  • And an official transcript.

College of Saint Mary

The College of Saint Mary offers a doctorate in OT and requires students to undergo 12 weeks of fieldwork experience and 14 weeks of doctoral experience. If you do not have your undergraduate, you may receive your bachelor’s and doctoral degree in a six-year program. For those who enter the college at a graduate level, the program is three years.  

Degree Level: Doctorate
Credit Hours:
Accelerated Program: 101
Graduate Program: 102
Tuition(in-state): $43,125 per year
Application Due Dates: Dependent on review of application.
Prerequisites/Application Requirements:
Admission requirements for the Accelerated Degree Program include:

  • 3.0 or higher GPA;
  • 23 or higher on the ACT;
  • Participation in high school extracurriculars.

Admission requirements for the Graduate Degree Program:

  • 3.0 or higher GPA;
  • Minimum prerequisite course GPA 3.25;
  • Three years of equivalent college coursework;
  • A grade of C or better on all courses;
  • Completion of 100 service hours;
  • Resume or cover letter;
  • Letter of intent;
  • Ability to comply with the Program Technical Standards;

Nebraska Methodist College

Through Nebraska Methodist College, students can earn a master’s degree in OT through a hybrid of on-campus and online classes. The program is 24 months long and includes fieldwork.

Degree Level: Master
Credit Hours: 76
Tuition(in-state): $719 per credit hour
Application Due Dates: July-Oct 1st
Prerequisites/Application Requirements:

  • BA or BS degree in a related field;
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 with a minimum math/science GPA of 3.25 preferred;
  • Fulfillment of program technical standards;

Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs in Grand Island

Grand Island lies in central Nebraska, and is the principal city of the Grand Island metropolitan area, which includes Hall, Merrick, Howard, and Hamilton counties. It also houses the sole agency responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the state. Recent occupational therapy graduates can expect to make $81,812 a year, or $38 an hour.

Central Community College

Central Community College offers the only two-year occupational assistant therapy program in Nebraska. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing exam to become a certified assistant.

Degree Level: Associate of Applied Science
Credit Hours: 71
Tuition: In-state residents: $90/credit; Non resident: $135/credit
Application Due Dates: Dependent on semester
Prerequisites/Application Requirements:

  • Background and drug test;
  • A completed application submitted with transcripts;
  • Interviews with the OTA director or a professor;
  • Meet program-specific requirements;
  • 10 hours of observation with a certified occupational therapy assistant.