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Occupational Therapy Programs in Michigan

The first Europeans to reach and settle in the territory that is now known as the state of Michigan were French. Early explorers to the area included Etienne Brule, Jacques Marquette, Louis Joliet and Sieur de la Salle. It would not be until the early 1760s that Great Britain took possession of the territory. Today Michigan is largely known as a state that produces automobiles. However, that image is changing because of the difficulties experienced by car producers during this current recession, resulting in the closing of many car production plants in the state.

Though going through some tough economic times, Michigan still has its attractions. The state's many lakes make it a perfect place for fishermen and water lovers in general. While the car industry is slowing down, there are still jobs available in the processing of prepared cereals, machine tools, furniture, refrigerators, hardware, and airplane parts. While most segments of the Michigan economy have been affected negatively recently, health care has proved less vulnerable.

Individuals looking to move into the therapy profession in the state might want to investigate the physical therapy programs offered at Central Michigan University, which is in Mount Pleasant. The physical therapy program at the school of nearly 28,000 students is set up to provide students with classroom instruction and clinical experience, so that upon graduation they will be ready to begin work and feel comfortable doing so.

The school offers a bachelor's degree in Pre-Physical Therapy that concentrates on working with physical disorders resulting from injury, disease or accidents. Naturally, the courses in this program are largely science courses such as biology, neuroanatomy, and human growth and also include examination techniques and therapeutic procedures.

The University of Michigan, the oldest university in the state, has a wide selection of physical therapy programs designed to help students learn how to recognize, assess, comprehend and treat injuries and physical disorders. The main campus offers programs for students to earn the following degrees in physical therapy: Bachelor's Degree in Health Science with a Pre-Physical Therapy Track and Doctor of Physical Therapy. The bachelor's degree is designed to cover a range of health science careers including physical therapy.

Eastern Michigan University offers a highly-regarded occupational therapy program. This program has a history of producing competent graduates who have excelled in positions in Michigan and throughout the United States. With the positions for occupational therapists predicted to continue to increase in number, this is definitely a program worth investigating for potential therapists. The program is referred to and the 3 + 2 program because it incorporates three years of undergraduate studies with two years of upper level course work. Graduates will earn both a Bachelor's of Science and a Master's of Occupational Therapy.

Students who have already earned a bachelor's degree can enter the program and work to complete the two years of upper level studies. Six months at the end of the upper level course work are dedicated to full-time work in the profession. This is part of the program.

How to Select an Occupational Therapy Program in Michigan

Several studies have concluded the need for occupational therapists in the United States will continue to rise over the next several years. This is due in part to an increasing population, highlighted by an increasing number of older Americans who are living longer and longer. While there are many segments of the population that require the services of occupational therapist, the elderly can be particularly vulnerable to injuries and illnesses that will call for the aid of a therapist.

The good news for individuals in Michigan who are considering changing careers and entering the health care field as an occupational therapist is that the state has several programs to choose from. The University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor is one of the schools that have a master's program for occupational therapists. This school is particularly attractive for students entering this course of study because Ann Arbor and the surrounding area is where many professional occupational therapists work. This is where many of the job opportunities will arise. By being closer to the people and companies that make hires, students can begin to cultivate contacts that might lead to future employment.

Based on population, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Saginaw tend to employ more (a greater percentage of) occupational therapists than other sections of the state. On the other end of the scale, the towns of Holland, Lansing (home of Michigan State University) and Niles have few opportunities for professional occupational therapists. Not based on population, but rather based on actual numbers of occupational therapists working, Detroit and Grand Rapids would be at the top of the list.

All of the information mentioned regarding towns and cities that are more likely to have job openings should be considered when choosing what program is best for you. Regardless of how much research you do, there is no guarantee that you will end up in a program that meets every one of your desires. A program offered by an accredited school with a history of educating students and placing graduates in jobs in their profession is at the foundation of any good program. All the academic knowledge and clinical experience will never pay dividends if you are unable to get a job. Employers will look more favorably on some institutions, and less so on others. Know the history of the school before entering a program.

Another option for students is to earn an undergraduate degree on the campus of a local college and then pursue a master's degree online. There are numerous occupational therapy programs available through distant learning. Of course, when going this route, it is important to choose an undergraduate curriculum that will meet the prerequisites for the following master's program.

After all your research and weighing one institution against all the others, if you should choose to attend The University of Michigan you will have the opportunity to attend football games at The Big House, the moniker given to the stadium where the school's football team plays its home games. The stadium holds over 100,000 people and is usually packed on game day.