Occupational therapy courses

Become an occupational therapist and help those in need regain their independence.

Ready to take your first step towards a career in occupational therapy (OT)? Compare online health and medical science courses that are available with universities from across Australia. 

These courses are ideal for those who want to study allied health at a holistic level before specialising in occupational therapy. They can also help you upskill in areas important to the profession. While these courses alone won’t qualify you to practice as an occupational therapist, they can broaden your career prospects in occupational therapy and beyond.

Occupational therapy session

Why should you study occupational therapy?

Occupational therapists provide life-changing support to those affected by injury, illness, disability, age or developmental issues. Under your guidance, clients will be able to complete daily tasks that are meaningful to them and regain a sense of self, which can make your job very fulfilling.

OTs are needed across a range of public and private healthcare settings, including in hospitals, community health centres, aged care facilities and mental health clinics. This means you have the flexibility to choose where you work and where you specialise. And with at least 1,800 extra OTs needed in Australia by 2026, you can rest assured your job will be in demand.

How to choose an occupational therapy course

Those who want to get qualified in occupational therapy can choose from two different study paths.

You can either enrol directly into a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with the university of your choice on campus. Or you can study a generalist health science course online through Open Universities Australia and then apply for a Master of Occupational Therapy on campus.

There are advantages to studying health science online before specialising in occupational therapy:

  • You’ll gain a holistic understanding of health and areas that matter to OTs, like anatomy, psychology, health law and nutrition. You’ll also learn the intricacies of the Australian healthcare system.
  • You’ll study when it suits you because you won’t have to attend in-person lectures or tutorials.
  • You’ll gain a qualification that allows you to work across different healthcare settings, including in health policy, community health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, which can give you more flexibility in your occupational therapy career.

Already practice as an OT? Discover postgraduate courses that will complement your occupational therapy degree and allow you to become more specialised. We can guide you towards online study options in rehabilitation, dementia care, environmental health, ageing and mental health.  

Occupational therapists focus on the physical, social, psychological and environmental issues that prevent someone from performing daily tasks, while physiotherapists focus more on physical movement and exercise. There is some overlap between the two, and the treatment offered by both professionals is also dependent on the individual therapist’s ongoing education and training. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists also often work collaboratively in rehabilitation settings.

You will be able to get into an OT course with an ATAR between 60 and 92—but there are alternative pathways.

If your Year 12 results don’t quite go to plan, don’t panic. You can get into a health science course online through us by enrolling in undergraduate health subjects that don’t have any entry requirements.

Once you successfully complete these subjects, you’ll be able to transition into a Bachelor of Health Science or equivalent course. From there, you should satisfy the requirements to enrol in a Master of Occupational Therapy with the uni of your choice.

Give our student advisors a call to find out more about how this works.

If you enrol directly in a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, it will take at least four years of full-time study to complete your course and the required industry placements. You will then be able to register as an occupational therapist.

If you decide to study a generalist health science degree before completing a Master of Occupational Therapy, it will take you a minimum of three years to earn your undergraduate degree and then two years to earn your postgraduate degree.

Those who study health science online through Open Universities Australia can complete their course at a pace of their choosing.

Occupational therapy courses require students to complete at least 1,000 hours of industry placements and clinical fieldwork. That’s why you won’t find any occupational therapy qualifications available online through Open Universities Australia.

However, you can study your initial health degree online before you specialise in occupational therapy. You can also study postgraduate health courses that focus on enhancing your knowledge of clinical practices online. Explore the options on this page to see what’s available.

Before starting an enrolment, it’s important to read the entry requirements for your chosen course to ensure that you’re eligible to apply. If you don’t quite meet the requirements, we can help you find a pathway into your course through open-entry subjects, which anyone can study. Chat with us to find out more.

Here at Open Universities Australia, we make enrolling online as straightforward as possible. To get started, find the course for you by browsing the options on this page. You can also compare different qualifications using our handy comparison tool, or request help from one of our student advisors.

When you’ve made your choice, click ‘Apply now’ on the relevant course page and follow the prompts to begin your enrolment. We’ll ask you to supply some supporting documentation, including proof of your identity, your tax file number, and a unique student identifier (USI) during this process.

Your university will get in touch with you via email to confirm whether or not your application has been successful.

If you get stuck at any time, reach out to us and we’ll talk you through it.

You can also take a look at our online self-service enrolling instructions.

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Our student advisors can assist you with enrolment, help you plan your studies, and answer questions about how studying through Open Universities Australia can get you from where you are today, to where you want to be tomorrow.

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