Is the debt to become an OT worth it?

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FutureOTny in Rochester, New York

47 months ago

I decided against starting the expensive program...if i have to wait another year to be in 40,000 less debt then it is worth it. A year is nothing I'm only 24.

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mattotstudent in Allentown, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

Some people do not have the option of a cheaper state school, like myself, depending on where they live. I agree that you made the right choice though FutureOTny.

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Daniellla in Brooklyn, New York

47 months ago

I was accepted to both a state school and a expensive private one. I am grateful I was accepted to the state school. If I hadn't got in, I am not sure I would have gone to the more expensive school. Maybe if I were becoming a doctor, but a MSOT does not justify over $100,000 in debt. I have met supervisors that will not hire graduates from Columbia or NYU, despite their school ranking. I personally do not believe that it matters where you go to school, as long as you are licensed.

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Marc in Centreville, Maryland

47 months ago

I actually live and work in New Jersey, so I wouldn't qualify for in-state tuition at TJU. Unequivocally, there is no doubt that TJU is great, if not greater than NYU in terms of the quality of the education they offer. It is ranked better than NYU this year as a matter of fact.
I did personally want to go to NYU more and be in New York City.

I am grateful for being accepted into a cheaper school, but at the same time I am even more happy that I got into top-ranked schools. It's really about what you value in the life. You don't make a wrong choice to go to a cheaper state school or a prestigious, expensive school.

To me personally it makes more sense to go to NYU because that is what will make me happy. In terms of the monetary aspect of it, I believe it's truly worth the investment. I have friends who graduated from awesome schools and who are very successful and believe that a good education can only help you get further in life, even as an Occupational therapist.

If you do happen to apply to a job that has 6 other OTs applying for it, they are without a doubt going to see where you graduated from. A school that does not have an excellent reputation and is ranked 150 cannot even hold a candle to a school with a top-ten program that is one of the best universities in the United States.

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Marc in Centreville, Maryland

47 months ago

Daniella, why wouldn't those supervisors hire graduates from Columbia or NYU....that makes no sense. I wouldn't even want to work somewhere if my employer didn't realize the value and hard work it took to be accepted into a top-ranked program. If 1,000 people apply for an OT program and you are one of fifty who were accepted that means you have already proven yourself. Then the fact that you graduated from that program makes you all that more desirable of an employee. I mean this is all common sense to me, so I apologize if any of you disagree. If you want any job as an OT, school doesn't matter.But if you're trying to be competitive and get a desirable position or want a phD, then you will always have the degree to help you get further in life.

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Marc in Centreville, Maryland

47 months ago

Daniella, why wouldn't those supervisors hire graduates from Columbia or NYU....that makes no sense. I wouldn't even want to work somewhere if my employer didn't realize the value and hard work it took to be accepted into a top-ranked program. Really? If 1,000 people apply for an OT program and you are one of fifty who were accepted that means you have already proven yourself. Then the fact that you graduated from that program makes you all that more desirable of an employee. I mean this is all common sense to me, so I apologize if any of you disagree. If you want any job as an OT, school doesn't matter.But if you're trying to be competitive and get a desirable position or want a phD, then it does matter.

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mattotstudent in Allentown, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

It seems that my post was removed, can someone tell me why?

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MC in Gulfport, Mississippi

46 months ago

Plan B in Denton, Texas said: I have been an OT for over 15 years. I have 2 Master's and I will tell you honestly my education totaled over $160,000. I work PRN so I can make the highest hourly rate. I have worked full time but the income was less and provided NO flexibility. Missing my children 's science fair because I need to get a new admit eval'd so the facility can get paid by Medicare the same day they arrive or not getting to take vacation until I find my own coverage is just flat out WRONG! You will be over worked and pressured to be 85% and above productive. I feel like and assembly line worker because of productivity quotas. I worked as a Director of Rehab and was making a salary of $90K but worked on average 60 hrs a week and had the stress of the department balancing keeping my staff happy and productive and staying in the black for the company all while sticking to my personal level of integrity and ethics. I have specialization certifications that cost me additionally on top of my loan debt and the certifications did not increase my income. I have joined Arbonne as an independent distributor for skin care and wellness so that I can supplement my income and afford to take vacations and buy a new car. I love being an OT but do I think it was worth the debt? Do I think it we make enough income? NO! Pay rates have not increased, in fact I make less now than I did when I first got out of school do to insurance and Medicare cuts. The good news is that while everyone else is looking for a job, OT positions are open all over. If you are wanting to be in the field be a COTA, make great money and have less debt. Just my two cents.

Hi Plan B, I recently into a COTA program that starts in August, However, I am having a lot of mental conflict because I would love to be an OT. Do you think it would be smarter for me to continue with the program, work as a COTA for a few years, and then do a bridge program or go straight to OT school?

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Kuzya in Brooklyn, New York

36 months ago

Marla in Austin, Texas said: I did my BS/MOT at Bay Path College it was expensive cause it's MA and a private school but it came out to 50K after scholarships and grants and than with work I got 20K loan assistance and a 10K sign on bonus and it brought me down to 20K owe so it was worth it for me. I guess you need to pick your school wise and make sure you have grants scholarships and all the resources you can get! Good Luck.

Hi Marla.

Thanks a lot for your info.I will be attending Bay Path in August, Can you please tell how the program is like at Bay path? Thanks

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Hello Then in Chicopee, Massachusetts

36 months ago

Kuzya,

I just finished my first year at Bay Path. There's more research and community outreach in the curriculum than I expected. The assignments are frustrating sometimes, but in general they're also good preparation for whatever you might want to do in the future as an OT. Definitely talk over assignments with your classmates... some of them will have gone to Bay Path for undergrad and know the professors' styles already. From Longmeadow you have to drive half an hour to get to anywhere interesting, but at least there's no traffic. You won't be the only one in the program from New York. Discuss your budget with the financial aid office if you want to borrow funds to cover your cost of living.

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Nina in Houston, Texas

29 months ago

Plan B in Denton, Texas said: I have been an OT for over 15 years. I have 2 Master's and I will tell you honestly my education totaled over $160,000. I work PRN so I can make the highest hourly rate. I have worked full time but the income was less and provided NO flexibility. Missing my children 's science fair because I need to get a new admit eval'd so the facility can get paid by Medicare the same day they arrive or not getting to take vacation until I find my own coverage is just flat out WRONG! You will be over worked and pressured to be 85% and above productive. I feel like and assembly line worker because of productivity quotas. I worked as a Director of Rehab and was making a salary of $90K but worked on average 60 hrs a week and had the stress of the department balancing keeping my staff happy and productive and staying in the black for the company all while sticking to my personal level of integrity and ethics. I have specialization certifications that cost me additionally on top of my loan debt and the certifications did not increase my income. I have joined Arbonne as an independent distributor for skin care and wellness so that I can supplement my income and afford to take vacations and buy a new car. I love being an OT but do I think it was worth the debt? Do I think it we make enough income? NO! Pay rates have not increased, in fact I make less now than I did when I first got out of school do to insurance and Medicare cuts. The good news is that while everyone else is looking for a job, OT positions are open all over. If you are wanting to be in the field be a COTA, make great money and have less debt. Just my two cents.

THank you so much! This is was so insightful! Just curious are you a male or female?

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OTR in Austin, Texas

28 months ago

I can't stress this enough -- go to the cheapest OTR program that you can find. No one will ever ever care where you got your OT degree, they only care that you have a license. I've been an OT for nearly 18 years and no one has every asked me where I went to school. I've been DOR and hired new therapists and it has never occurred to me to ask where they went to school. Are you licensed in this state, are you nice to work with, do you have references...that's about it. I have friends that paid over $100,000 to go to OT school at places like NYU and they are not getting paid any more or have had any better training. It's really just about getting through school and passing the exam to get your license. Ultimately, you will learn the most once you start working. It's really not worth it to spend any more than necessary. Don't let these expensive programs tell you that they have anything to offer that is worth $100,000 -- it's really a sham. OT is not rocket science, it's a great (well paying and secure) job, but it's just OT. The cheapest school can do that for you.

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Anastasya in Washington, District of Columbia

28 months ago

OTAStudentRL in Albany, New York said: Thank you for the response, Plan B in Denton. I am a prospective OTA student for the Fall and I am really worried that there won't be any jobs available because of the Medicaid cap this past Jan! By the time I'm done getting my Associates and certified-do you think the field will still be around (half j/k.....half not...heh)

Honestly, NO i don't think the profession will still be around for much longer. Obviously I could be wrong, but for the past few years it seems like Medicare/insurance companies have been trying to say that OT is duplication of services (i.e. that speech therapy already covers cognition, physical therapy is more than qualified to address upper extremity issues in addition to lower extremity/balance/ambulation, and nursing can provide basic training for dressing/bathing/toileting, so there is no need for OT.)

With the ACA, jobs are being cut and salaries are going down in almost all healthcare-related fields. I wouldn't advise anyone to go into major debt for a career in healthcare. You're not going to get rich - most of the people I know who make $$$ are either in skilled trades or have started their own businesses (and most of them either skipped college, or took only the classes that would have direct application to what they needed to start their business and then dropped out without getting a degree).

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Needout in Buffalo, New York

28 months ago

OTDUDE in Brooklyn, New York said: 100K sounds like a lot. OT is a good field, but I am not sure. I mean you can become a cop for free with 60 college credits and make 90k after 5 years, meanwhile someone can get a PHD in philosophy with 150K debt and make 26k a year. Sound fair?

Right, but you aren'tt putting your life on the live every single day as a philosopher or professor....and you won't be working weekends, holidays, night shifts, disasters, etc...so, I think the cop should make more.
Just my two cents.

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cg0410 in Massachusetts

23 months ago

Hello Then in Chicopee, Massachusetts said: Kuzya,

I just finished my first year at Bay Path. There's more research and community outreach in the curriculum than I expected. The assignments are frustrating sometimes, but in general they're also good preparation for whatever you might want to do in the future as an OT. Definitely talk over assignments with your classmates... some of them will have gone to Bay Path for undergrad and know the professors' styles already. From Longmeadow you have to drive half an hour to get to anywhere interesting, but at least there's no traffic. You won't be the only one in the program from New York. Discuss your budget with the financial aid office if you want to borrow funds to cover your cost of living.

Hello Then in Chicopee,

I was wondering what your experience was in finding full time employment after you graduated. I am considering a career in occupational therapy. However, I cannot seem to find many full time jobs posted on indeed. On the other hand, I hear from OTs that the job is in high demand. What has your experience been after graduating? I worked with OTs and really love the field. I am just nervous about the outlook for the occupation. Any one's input on this would be helpful.

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Meadow in Ventura, California

17 months ago

I have been wanting to take occupational therapy for 20 years but I have not because of the cost. I am tired of waiting to begin a real career! Do you think 100,000 in debt will be back breaking?

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Jbrown in Stuart, Florida

15 months ago

Don't forget how much money u will make I have been a therapist since 1991. I make 40 a hour. But they don't always give me 40 hours a week. If the caseload is low they expect you to go home that is not so good. This position is not a PRN it is hourly and with benefits. So 100,000 is a lot of money. Think about it?

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Sean in Tampa, Florida

15 months ago

Jbrown in Stuart, Florida said: Don't forget how much money u will make I have been a therapist since 1991. I make 40 a hour. But they don't always give me 40 hours a week. If the caseload is low they expect you to go home that is not so good. This position is not a PRN it is hourly and with benefits. So 100,000 is a lot of money. Think about it?

Hi. Isn't there extra PRN work you can pick up to supplement and/or home health?

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anonymous in Jersey City, New Jersey

13 months ago

I was an occupational therapy student who dropped out of my program due to grades, I would've been in massive debt had I completed the program( probably 100k in debt). I'm in still in a huge debt right now and slowly paying it off, but reading these comments surely have made me thought twice on whether i still want to pursue being an OT. I was actually recently admitted into a COTA school and the cost would be significantly cheaper and less schooling to complete my degree. Thoughts? COTA pay is not bad from what i've researched for a 18 month to 2 year program.

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Red Fox Thomas

13 months ago

anonymous in Jersey City, New Jersey said: I was an occupational therapy student who dropped out of my program due to grades, I would've been in massive debt had I completed the program( probably 100k in debt). I'm in still in a huge debt right now and slowly paying it off, but reading these comments surely have made me thought twice on whether i still want to pursue being an OT. I was actually recently admitted into a COTA school and the cost would be significantly cheaper and less schooling to complete my degree. Thoughts? COTA pay is not bad from what i've researched for a 18 month to 2 year program.

I see a lot of BS about COTA's not getting jobs. My strongest advice is, be willing to move. Because those people whining are just that -- people whining. Don't look at the COTA forums, it's full of people who are basically mad because there aren't jobs in their immediate vicinity.

I 100% say go COTA then get a job that lists tuition assistance as a benefit. You can become an OT with minimal (and in some cases, zero) debt. I feel bad for the people who go straight OT, as you will be in massive debt, and when only making 10 dollars or so more an hour but feasibly having to pay an extra 300+ dollars a month in loans due to being in so much more debt, it isn't worth it. COTA --> OT is the way to go. Period.

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