West Virginia is the 38th most populous and 41st largest by area out of the 50 states of the United States of America. This state offers many job opportunities to all the professionals of occupational therapy and also the salary of occupational therapy aides, assistants and therapists are quite high in the state. These advantages make the aspirants of occupational therapy pursue their degrees from West Virginia. As per the BLS, the average annual and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals in West Virginia was $81,910 and $39.38 (in May 2015), respectively. All the formalities, conditions, requirements and procedure related to occupational therapy are under the control of the West Virginia Board of Occupational Therapy. The board may take up to 8 weeks to issue you the license as the authorities need to verify all the transcripts and documents.
Occupational therapy schools in West Virginia offer different programs for different positions of the field comprising bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate’s, associates and dual degree courses. These courses offer coursework that concentrates on both theoretical as well as practical knowledge of the candidates about occupational therapy. If you are a graduate in the field and are already practicing as an occupational therapist, you can gain the master’s degree in a year or two whereas if you are having a bachelor’s degree in some other stream, you will get the same degree in 2 or 3 years. If you are planning to gain both the bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously in just 5 years, you can plan to get a dual degree course. Before enrolling for an occupational therapy course in a school, you need to be aware of certain things about that university. Firstly, it should be Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved. Secondly, it should have a good past reputation and thirdly, enquire about the number of students enrolled in it for the course you have opted, 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 West Virginia, read below:
Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in West Virginia
- Potomac State College- West Virginia University
Address – 101 Fort Avenue, Keyser, WV 26726
Contact No. – 800-262-7332
Official Website – http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu/
- West Virginia University
Address – P.O. Box 6201, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506
Contact No. – 304-293-0111
Official Website – http://www.wvu.edu/
Procedure To Become An Occupational Therapist In West Virginia
There are tremendous job opportunities for occupational therapists in West Virginia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 620 employed and licensed occupational therapists in May 2015, in the state. Process for a license is almost same in all the states of America, but some requirements may change from place to place as the boards for licensure are distinct for each state. The licensing body in West Virginia offers some conditions and demands that are must be fulfilled in order to get a license as an occupational therapist. In West Virginia, the license is offered at two levels; one is the occupational therapy assistant, and other is for the occupational therapist. While waiting for the permanent licensure exam, you can apply for a temporary one at any of the two levels. But for this, you need to work under the guidance of a licensed occupational therapist who has at least a year of licensure with the state. If you are planning to practice as a registered occupational therapist in the state of West Virginia, follow the stepwise procedure described below –
Step 1 – Graduation from an ACOTE Certified School In Occupational Therapy
As a first step, you need to be a graduate in occupational therapy with a bachelor’s, master’s or dual degree course from an ACOTE or AOTA approved school, university or college. There is only one school in this state where you can gain these degrees and can become a licensed occupational therapist. For basic information about the occupational therapy schools in West Virginia, you can refer to the list included in this article.
Step 2 – Complete the Internship Or Practicum
The second step towards gaining the license as a registered occupational therapist is to have the field experience. Practical knowledge is extremely important to understand the real situations that therapists face and the conditions of the patients they serve. Thus, you need to complete at least 6 months of internship or practicum, under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.
Step 3 – Clearance of the National Certification Exam
After completing the internship, you need to clear the national certification exam named as Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). It is organized by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). To pass this exam, you need to score at least in the 70th percentile.
Step 4 – Apply For The State License In West Virginia
After passing the national certification exam, you are free to apply for the licensure to the state licensing body. For this, you have to submit a completely filled and properly signed application form with a check or money order of $150 as a license fee. In addition to this, you also need to submit supervisory statements from clinical occupational therapy supervisors, verification of certification from NBCOT, verification of licensure from all the states where you have worked till date and the official transcripts from all the attended colleges. After applying for the license, you need to wait up to 8 weeks to get a license from the state board. They need this time period for proper verification of all the documents and transcripts submitted by you.
Step 5 – Renew The Professional Licensure
License renewal is as important as to gain the licensure as an occupational therapist from the board. Otherwise, you won’t be able to continue practicing without any interruptions. To renew a license in the state of West Virginia, you are required to complete at least 24 continuing competency hours, before the expiration of the period of licensure.
Salary of Occupational Therapists in West Virginia
As per indeed.com salary of an occupational therapist in West Virginia was $82,000 as of May 26, 2016.
Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles
|OT Occupational Therapist Therapy||$96,000|
|Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist Outpatient||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist Hand||$88,000|
|Outpatient Occupational Therapist||$90,000|
|Occupational Therapist Pediatric||$82,000|
|OT Occupational Therapy||$97,000|
|Occupational Therapist Skilled||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist Psych||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist School||$81,000|
|Occupational Therapist Home Health||$89,000|
|Occupational Therapist Acute||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist Rotation||$48,000|
|Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient||$82,000|
|Occupational Therapist Rehab||$82,000|
Information Source: indeed.com
On the analysis of the table above, we can make out that the wage of an OT Occupational Therapy is highest in West Virginia among all the related jobs titles of occupational therapy at $97,000, while lowest is of Occupational Therapy Rotation at $48,000.
Annual Median Salaries Of OTs In Different Cities Of West Virginia
|Name of the City||Annual Median Salary|
Information Source: salary.com (as on April 26, 2016)
From the table above, we can make out that the wage of occupational therapists in the state of West Virginia is highest in the city of Charleston i.e. $71,033, whereas lowest is in Huntington i.e. $67,724.