To register as an occupational therapist, you need to have completed your studies at a World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) approved program. You also need to make sure your program is approved by the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (OTBA).

All the programs on the OTBA list are entry-level programs which provide the initial qualification required to register as an occupational therapist. The Masters programs on that list are for those with a relevant prior degree. It's generally accepted that all new graduate occupational therapists are considered as equal, regardless of the degree obtained.

Almost all universities provide an honours program either to all students, or just to high achieving students to provide initial research skills for future higher degree studies such as a Masters or PhD. It doesn't necessarily provide an advantage in gaining employment yet it does provide important knowledge and skills to assist in the research and evaluative aspects involved in being a practising OT.

Post-graduate degrees in occupational therapy are only available to those who have an existing entry-level degree in occupational therapy.

When a new program of study is initiated by a university, it must first be accredited by the Occupational Therapy Council of Australia (OTC) then approved by OTBA.

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) administers the approval process/requirements for WFOT. View the OTA WFOT approval process (PDF, 145 KB) and appeals process (PDF, 116 KB).

WFOT maintains a list of worldwide education programs which have attained WFOT approved status. In Australia, approved status is attained when the program is reviewed at the graduation of the first cohort of students. You can view of list of programs currently undergoing assessment - programs pending WFOT approval (PDF, 30.3 KB).

As part of the occupational therapy degree, each student will be required to participate in a minimum of 1,000 hours of placements/clinical fieldwork/practice education for the application of theory to practice.

This is hands-on, practical experience arranged by the university, working with people who receive occupational therapy services with the aim to achieve both breadth and depth of experience.

Most universities include placements in regional, rural and remote settings, and placements in new and emerging practice settings as mandatory experiences for students, in order to prepare adequately for work as an occupational therapist.

Even as a student, registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) is mandatory. However, students don't have to do anything - once enrolled in an accredited occupational therapy program, the university provides the details of each student to Ahpra.

Students are eligible for student membership of OTA as soon they enroll in an occupational therapy program.

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