Program Overview

UNE’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) degree program, located in Maine, will prepare you in client-centered critical thinking and clinical excellence for a fulfilling and successful occupational therapy practice. In UNE's Occupational Therapy program, you will be part of a community of scholars and students who are passionate about the transformative power of everyday activities.

Meet current O.T. students

Megan Eagleston ’23

Nate Pickett ’23

Gina Miele ’23

The 24-Month M.S.O.T. Experience

During UNE's 24-month Master in OT program, you start with a foundation of theory, therapeutic use of self, functional movement analysis, and occupational analysis. As you progress toward your occupational therapy degree, emphasis and focus are placed on mental health practice; practice with children; rehabilitation, disability, and participation (RDP) with adults and older adults; specific practice skills; and exploration of context, research, and leadership.

You will also complete Level I Fieldwork in the areas of mental health, children and youth, and adults and older adults. After completion of your didactic coursework, you will complete two 12-week Level II Fieldwork rotations, during which you will work alongside OT practitioners addressing clients’ specific occupational needs. You will then complete one rotation in the area of RDP and one in either mental health, children and youth, or another RDP setting.

Then you return to our Portland, Maine campus for a one-week immersion of synthesis, exploration, and exam preparation. Upon successful completion of your coursework and fieldwork, you may take the national OT certification examination.

U N E occupational therapy students work with a patient

Why UNE for Occupational Therapy

  • You will be supported to succeed in starting your occupational therapy career. The licensure exam pass rate is 99.5% for UNE OT grads (2018–2021).
  • You will experience all areas of OT practice to help you meet the needs of pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients and communities and to develop diverse career options.
  • You will learn in state-of-the-art facilities on our Portland, Maine, campus.
  • You will have the opportunity to do fieldwork in locations across the country, from Atlanta to Honolulu.
  • You will be taught by leading faculty who are performing important occupational therapy research and shaping the way occupational therapy is conceived, taught, and practiced.
  • You will learn how to collaborate in today’s team-based health care by training alongside UNE students who are future physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.

Team-Based Learning

As a student in UNE's Occupational Therapy program, you have the unique opportunity to collaborate with students from other health professions and apply this participation toward your Interprofessional Honors Distinction. You will continue to use these interprofessional team-based learning skills in your clinical workplace after you graduate.

Whether you are coming from physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, pharmacy, or any other health professions, you all have something to bring to the table." — Morgan Mitchell, M.S.O.T. '19

Hear what other UNE alumni have to say about the IPE experience

Testimonial Place Holder
The OT department is full of a great group of teachers who are great mentors helping everyone complete their journey to become an OT.
Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T)

UNE Occupational Therapy in Action

Matthew Capaldo ’13: Leadership in Mental Health

Heather Shields ’97: Helping People Drive Again

Earn Your M.S.O.T. in Maine

Students in the UNE M.S.O.T. degree program study on our Portland, Maine campus, a classic New England quad with brick buildings and tall trees. Portland, named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes and “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appetit, is the city on every list. A rustic port hosts a cool cultural scene — with outdoor adventure all around. UNE’s campus is just 10 minutes from downtown. Take a Virtual Tour

Portland harbor near the UNE health professions campus in Portland, Maine.

Quality Academics, Respected Degrees

Best Occupational Therapy Programs
U.S. News & World Report
Best Colleges: National
U.S. News & World Report
Best College

Frequently Asked Questions

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) supports health and wellness by helping patients participate in the daily activities (occupations) that are meaningful to them. Daily occupations can range from tying your shoes, to cooking, to playing your favorite sport. With an occupational therapy career, you’ll work with clients to modify tasks, activities, contexts and environments to better support their engagement and participation in the things they want to do.

UNE’s Portland, Maine-based Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) degree program provides aspiring occupational therapists with the skills needed to make a difference in the lives of their future patients. Through our expert faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and interprofessional education practices, UNE OT students have the opportunity to learn side-by-side with students from other health professions.

What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Occupational therapy and physical therapy work together frequently, and they have similarities as well as important distinctions. An occupational therapist (OT) is ultimately concerned with addressing how a client accesses and participates in activities that hold meaning within day-to-day functioning. Physical therapists (PTs) focus on improving the patient's ability to move their body. PTs help individuals to avoid surgery and prescription medications, maximize mobility, manage pain and chronic conditions, and improve overall physical function and fitness.

As a student in UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program, you have the opportunity to collaborate with our physical therapy faculty and students in classroom, clinical, and even global settings. UNE is one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission that encourages interprofessional learning opportunities.

What does an occupational therapist do?

An occupational therapist is a health care professional that works in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, and community centers to help patients participate in important activities. As an occupational therapist, you could work with neurodivergent toddlers learning to play with toys, help injured athletes explore adaptive sports, support senior citizens in arranging their kitchen so they can cook at home, and much more.

Practicing OTs typically start patient treatment with an evaluation of their patient’s history, experiences, and goals. Occupational therapy treatment continues with a customized intervention plan that helps the patient participate in the occupations that matter to them.

With an occupational therapy master’s, you’ll be able to support people in participating in activities that bring them a sense of purpose, meaning, and independence.

How long does it take to become an occupational therapist?

Becoming an occupational therapist will require you to earn a four-year undergraduate degree, as well as a two-year OT master’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy graduate program. From there, you will have to pass a licensure exam in order to practice OT.

Undergraduate Degree

If you intend to become an occupational therapist, it’s a good idea to start with a bachelor’s degree within a relevant area, such as psychology or biology. UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program accepts applicants with many different bachelor’s degrees, as long as they have taken the UNE Master of Science in Occupational Therapy prerequisite courses. Our M.S.O.T. faculty have found that graduates of UNE’s Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies undergraduate program are well prepared to enter UNE’s OT master’s program.

Graduate Degree

The next step is to attend an accredited university to earn your occupational therapy graduate degree. UNE’s Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) program is an excellent option if you are seeking a career as a practicing clinician in occupational therapy. Qualified applicants can complete UNE’s OT master’s program in two years of study which includes four semesters of coursework and two semesters of fieldwork.

Pass the NBCOT

After completing your M.S.O.T., you will need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination to practice in the United States. The NBCOT exam is offered to graduates via computer and is scheduled “on-demand” at various testing centers across the USA. Since 2019, UNE OT graduates have had a 99% pass rate of the NBCOT within one year of graduating.

Do you need a doctorate in occupational therapy?

You do not need a doctoral degree to be a licensed occupational therapist. There are currently two academic entry points into the profession of occupational therapy for occupational therapists, an entry level master’s degree or an entry level doctoral degree.

M.S.O.T. graduates who pass the NBCOT are prepared to enter clinical OT practice. Those interested in leadership activities beyond the traditional clinical OT role may consider the additional time and investment required for a doctoral degree in occupational therapy.

At UNE, our two-year M.S.O.T. degree program is an excellent option if you are seeking a career as a practicing clinician in occupational therapy.

What is the best occupational therapy program for me?

When looking for the right occupational therapy degree program, academic quality is a key consideration. Licensure exam pass rates are a useful indicator of how well any OT program’s students are prepared for success. Since 2019, 99% of UNE M.S.O.T. graduates have passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination within one year of graduating.

You should also choose an OT program that offers an engaging educational experience. In your two years of study at UNE earning a master’s in OT, you’ll be immersed in the study, and practice of occupational therapy. In addition to coursework, students have the opportunity to become involved in community based projects, pursue leadership opportunities, and engage in research and scholarship. All of these experiences are designed to enhance your entry level skills as you work toward your goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

While in UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program, you’ll learn side-by-side with students from other health care disciplines, gaining the skills to collaborate when you enter the workplace. UNE pursues a health-focused mission that includes programs in medicine, dental medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and an array of allied health professions, so UNE students benefit from an interprofessional health education.

Another reason for choosing an occupational therapy program is the amount of academic and community support. At UNE, OT students learn in a non-competitive and supportive environment, and UNE faculty genuinely care about their students. There are also plenty of academic support systems available to help students stay on track.

Location and quality of life are other considerations. Students of the UNE OT master’s program study on our Portland, Maine campus, a classic New England quad with brick buildings and tall trees that's about 100 miles from downtown Boston. Take a Virtual Tour of our Portland Campus.

Of course, you should attend a program that fits your financial capabilities and is in good national accreditation standing through ACOTE (Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education).

What is an occupational therapist salary?

The median annual occupational therapist salary was $92,800 in May of 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OT salaries can depend on where you work, level of training and experience. UNE M.S.O.T. alumni are employed all over the US, from Alaska to Maine, California to Florida and everywhere in between.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics