Scholarships for Future Occupational Therapists

Treat Yourself with Financial Aid

Occupational Therapists help patients regain  autonomy when their lives  have been interrupted by illness or injury.  To become Occupational Therapists, students must complete Bachelor of Science degree programs, and pass a national certification exam.  In practice, many OT students go on to earn their Master’s or Doctorate in the field.

With all that schooling, financial aid is a prominent concern for OT students. Scholarships for occupational therapy education go a long way to ease the financial burden of higher education. Look to individual schools for campus-specific financial resources, as well as occupational therapy associations and foundations committed to the profession.  Like other health care education, occupational therapy also qualifies for special financial aid initiatives, designed to recruit talented students into the field.

These and other scholarships pave the way for occupational therapy certification:

Occupational Therapy AssociationsOccupational therapy scholarships for college

Each state has its own Occupational Therapy Association, and many of them offer scholarships to students pursuing OT degrees.  funding is available at the undergraduate and graduate degree level. Twenty of these states issue scholarships through a partnership with the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF).

The Foundation administers more than 50 Scholarships, which are made possible through state partnerships, individual donations, corporate sponsorship, and support from charitable organizations. Individual scholarships carry their own eligibility requirements, but minimum standards must be met by all qualified applicants.  Successful program participants are enrolled in accredited OT programs, and are AOTA members in good standing.

Check with your state chapter to uncover scholarships like these:

The Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) awards scholarships every year, to students enrolled in accredited programs in Oregon. Each award is worth $1,000.

The Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA) issues several $1,000 scholarships annually, to students who show academic achievement.

Straight to the Source – Colleges

Many Occupational Therapy (OT)  colleges offer a Master’s and Doctorate program or a combined entry-level Bachelors/Masters degree program. Fewer colleges offer a straight Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, but there are a number of scholarships available for OT students at all levels. Each campus initiative carries its own eligibility terms, sometimes influenced by specific instructions from benefactors or endowments.  These campus programs illustrate how schools support their therapy departments.

Columbia University, in New York, offers several annual scholarships for Occupational Therapy students at the entry-level and beyond. There are several general tuition scholarships awarded based on financial need or high academic standards. General awards are valued between one and five-thousand dollars each.  Additional scholarships specific to Occupational Therapy include:

  • The May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation Scholarship – Two Occupational Therapy students each year receive $10,000.
  • The Dorothy M. Catana Magee Scholarship – Several annual $1,000 scholarships are awarded to Occupational Therapy students.
  • The Crane Fund for Widows and Children – Two $5,000 scholarships are presented to Occupational Therapy students.

Life Experience Awards, worth $250-$1000 each, are also issued to Columbia occupational therapy students who are over age 35.

The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Allied Health Sciences offers several scholarships that are open to  Occupational Therapy majors.  The school’s OT program recently ranked in the nation’s top 20, according to U.S. News and World Report. Scholarships include:

  • The Edith and Emanuel Cohen/Evelyn A, Gerstein Memorial Scholarship – Incoming students who exhibit great leadership and service are eligible.
  • The Edgar and Grace Gnitzinger Scholarship – Second or third year students can apply. Good academic performance and a written essay are two prerequisites.
  • The Warm Springs Cornerstone Scholarship in Occupational Therapy – This is a merit scholarship that is awarded based on achievement and outstanding OT aptitude.

University of Illinois – Chicago hosts a noted occupational therapy program, which offers supplemental financial aid resources for qualified students.  The Office of Special Scholarship Programs administers UIC campus aid, including department scholarships within the School of Allied Health.  Scholarships like the Beatrice D. Wade Scholarship for Occupational Therapy provide merit awards for OT students.

Additional Sources for Occupational Therapy Scholarships

Charitable service organizations, corporations, private benefactors, and nonprofit foundations each play important roles in funding Occupational Therapy education. These supplemental resources augment other financial aid awards earned by occupational therapy degree candidates:

The AMBUCS Scholars program offers monetary awards to juniors and seniors earning  bachelor’s degrees in specialized programs like occupational therapy.  Graduate students in health therapy programs are also eligible. Students are judged based on community involvement, citizenship, financial need, academic merit and more.

The Health Careers Foundation awards scholarships to incoming nontraditional students who are working toward degrees in health care fields. Scholarships are worth be up to $4,000 each, for a maximum two-year total of $8,000, for students who qualify.

Nursing professions currently qualify for federal and state financial aid aimed at recruiting more professionals into health care vocations.  Shortages of qualified health care workers, in some parts of the country, lead to student loan repayment and college tuition forgiveness opportunities.  Occupational therapy and related careers are sometimes eligible for special financial aid initiatives – consult your campus OT advisor for specifics.


NEW: Scholarship search engine: fast, free, no registration required. Try it today!