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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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People

External Residencies Are the Move

Leah Mary

November 22, 2022
by Leah Mary

Classes School/Life Balance

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During my 2nd year in the Entry-Level Master’s program, I felt enormous pressure to apply to the internal residency. I had my rose-colored glasses on. USC’s internal residencies are competitive, prestigious, and well-funded. Everyone was applying, so I felt compelled to apply. However, when I researched and learned about each residency site, I couldn’t see myself there. It wasn’t for me.

I didn’t think I was going to do the Post Professional OTD. It was expensive, and I didn’t want to pay for another year of school during a pandemic. I was very close to not applying until I talked to Dr. Bream. We explored the external residencies sites that suited my interests and could support me. I ended up committing to Hiller Therapy, where I am both the Occupational Therapy Resident AND a part-time employee, and I LOVE IT!

So here is a list of why I recommend getting excited about an external residency:

Schedule
You can create your own schedule! I am completing the Post-Professional OTD within a year and a half instead of one year to allow me to work part-time. In addition, you have the flexibility to defer for a semester or a full year.

Income
Oh yeah, you can work as an OT once you pass the NBCOT and obtain your license. That means you can make an income! 

Low-stress
I did not feel overwhelmed after summer fieldwork. I was able to take a couple of OTD courses and have enough time to study for the NBCOT without the pressure of 20-30 hours/week of residency.

Location Location Location
If you don’t want to stay in the LA area, you can do your OTD anywhere (nationally or internationally). The OTD courses can either be in person or over Zoom.

Advocate for your needs
I was able to ADVOCATE for what I needed and wanted from my residency site.

Ultimately, do what you want to do. Advocate for your needs, and don’t let institutions or people pressure you into things you don’t want to do!