Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are certified at the state level by the North Dakota State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice. Both paths can provide rewarding careers but do require degrees. Before completing an internship or practicum, or passing the National Certification Exam, you must first graduate from a school that is approved and accredited by and meets the current American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards. There are three schools in North Dakota where you can pursue an accredited education to become either a North Dakota occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

Occupational therapists in the United States earn a variety of salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists make a median pay of $84,270 per year, or $40.51 an hour, nationally. The median occupational therapist salary in North Dakota is slightly lower, at $82,640, ranging from $69,384 to $96,769. There are two schools that offer degree programs that are ACOTE certified for education in occupational therapy: the University of North Dakota, and the University of Mary. The surrounding states wages for occupational therapists are as follows:

Occupational therapy assistant salaries in the United States may vary by state. For occupational therapy assistants, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds the average national salary of $57,620 a year, or $27.70 an hour. The median salary of certified occupational therapy assistants in North Dakota is slightly lower than the national average, sitting at $55,351, and ranging from $44,872 to $65,780. There is one school in North Dakota that offers an occupational therapy assistant degree that is certified by the AOTA. The North Dakota State College of Science offers an accredited associate’s degree.

Accredited Occupational Therapist Programs in North Dakota

There are two accredited programs you may consider to pursue becoming an occupational therapist in the state of North Dakota.

The University of Mary

The University of Mary offers a doctorate in occupational therapy, accredited by the ACOTE of the AOTA. After completion of the doctorate degree, you will be eligible to take the certification by examination. The examination is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). There are three campuses that offer the doctorate in occupational therapy from the University of Mary:

The following information is applicable to all campuses:

  • Tuition: $10,360 per semester. There are nine semesters to complete with a total of 117 credits.
  • Application Due Dates: To apply for the University of Mary’s occupational therapy program, you must submit your application to the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service. The deadline for submissions is December 29th. Interviews of applicants will begin mid-January.
  • Prerequisites and Application Requirements:
    • Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Applicants must have completed the following classes:
      • Anatomy & Physiology 1, including a lab;
      • Anatomy & Physiology 2 including a lab;
      • General Chemistry with a lab, or, physics with a lab;
      • General Psychology;
      • Developmental or Lifespan psychology;
      • Abnormal Psychology;
      • Statistics;
      • Medical Terminology, or a passing grade from a competency exam.
    • Applicants must have a minimum of three satisfactory letters that reference moral and ethical behavior, academic abilities, and/or work ethic. 
    • Applicants must have at least 20 hours of documented volunteer work with an occupational therapist.
    • Applicants must have official GRE scores from within the last five years.

The University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota doctorate occupational therapy degree is offered as a three-year entry-level degree. The program is accredited through the ACOTE and AOTA. Those that graduate from the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapists administered by NBCOT. There is a physical Campus in North Dakota, and a satellite campus in Casper, Wyoming.

  • Address:
    The Department of Occupational Therapy;
    Suite E321;
    1301 N Columbia RD Stop 9037;
    Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037;
  • Contact:
    Phone: (701) 777-2209
    Fax: (701) 777-2212
  • Tuition: An estimated $33,587.76 per academic year, with roughly 8 semesters to completion.
  • Application Due Dates:
    Applications are processed through OCTAS. Applications become available July 18th, and are due December 20th. Further details and instructions can be found at OTCAS.
  • Prerequisites and Admission requirements:
    • All prerequisite coursework must have been completed with a grade C, minimum of 2.75 GPA or higher, based on a 4.0 scale.
    • Applicants must have completed 60 hours of volunteer work prior to application.
    • Applicants must submit letters of reference, a resume, and a written essay.
    • Applicants must also complete and pass a background check.

Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs in North Dakota

North Dakota State College of Science offers an occupational therapy assistant program that is a health science associate degree. The North Dakota State College of Science’s occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by ACOTE by the AOTA. After completion of the program, graduates will be able to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the NBCOT. 

  • Address:
    Mayme Green Allied Health Center
    1000-1028 5th St N
    Wahpeton, ND 58075
  • Contact:
    Beth Schlepp, the department chair.
    Phone: (701) 671-2981
    Email: alliedhealthcareers@ndscs.edu
  • Tuition:
    The total estimated educational cost of an Associate in Applied Science for Occupational Therapy Assistant is $28732.38
  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements:
    Students apply for the fall semester. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is encouraged. Students will be granted continued acceptance in the program using a point-based selection process the following year. Second-year students must also have documentation of 20 hours of non-paid community service or job shadowing of an occupational therapist.