Student Ambassador Blog | Melissa
Specialization in Occupational Therapy
Hey everyone! I’m currently in the process of picking electives for the upcoming spring semester and I thought this would be a great time for me to talk about the opportunity to “specialize” in OT! Although the program prepares us to be generalists – meaning we graduate with knowledge in many areas –, we have the opportunity to take several elective courses during the spring semester of our second year! This is where the “specializing” comes in, as you can take courses that fit your specific interests and help you expand your knowledge in a specific area. For example, a student that is interested in pursuing a career in hand therapy can take the Advanced Practice in Hand Therapy and Physical Agent Modalities and Hand Rehabilitation electives. A student interested in pediatrics may want to take the Sensory Integration Theory and Intervention courses, which is a particularly unique opportunity since Sensory Integration originated at USC. Another example is taking an OT In Acute Care course or the Enhancing Motor Control for Occupation course if you’re interested in working in a physical rehabilitation setting. These are just a few of the MANY options available to us. If you would like to see the entire list of courses offered, click here!
In addition to taking courses within the division, students can take classes at other schools at USC, such as courses in business, education, and public policy. It’s a great opportunity to expand our knowledge of other fields, and become increasingly well-rounded clinicians. Lastly, I would like to discuss yet another option we have during the spring semester, which is an opportunity to take an independent study course with a faculty member within the division. This option allows you to specialize even further by working on a study that fits your interests. The moral of the story is that the possibilities are endless!
One thing I would like to add is that it’s okay if you don’t know what area you want to go into. You can take electives in several areas, and use the spring semester as a time to explore different options in order to see what feels like the best fit. Our program does a great job of exposing us to many different areas of practice and preparing us to be great clinicians, so don’t stress about making the decision to “specialize” if you’re not ready. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.