Are you interested in helping people? Do you want to work in the Allied Health industry? If you’ve been thinking about studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Monash University, take a quick look right here to find out all the details about this degree.
Now, do you want to know how people really feel about Occupational Therapy at Monash?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! Meet Emma, a final year Occupational Therapy student at Monash. We ask her all those questions you really want to know the answers to.
So, let’s get right to it!
Why should you study an Occupational Therapy degree at Monash University?
A Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at Monash is all about developing your skills to become a competent Occupational Therapist so you can promote the health and wellbeing of your clients. You’ll apply the theories and frameworks you learn to real-life scenarios with the 1000 hours of placement you have to complete throughout the degree.
Honours is included within the degree and you have the choice of either conducting a research project or implementing a participatory community practice project — depending on what you’re most interested in.
With a small cohort of no more than 120 people, you really get to know everyone — it’s a great learning environment!
Top 3 Pros of an Occupational Therapy degree
#1: The skills you learn
“I believe that when I graduate, I will leave with the skills necessary to become a competent OT in whatever area I choose to go in,” Emma said.
“I think importantly, I will have fantastic communication skills and information gathering skills,” she added.
It’s really important that you’re able to communicate well with your clients — you have to be patient and show empathy. You’ll get to practise communicating with clients when you do your placements, especially during your final 9-week placement when you’ll actually have some of your own clients to manage (of course, still under supervision).
Throughout the degree, you’ve got essays and reflections to write, presentations and reviews to give on client scenarios and of course, either an Honours research project or participation community practice project — both which involve a lot of information gathering.
#2: The staff
Emma told us that the Occupational Therapy at Monash has “very dedicated staff that are very helpful with every aspect of the degree”.
“They are all so supportive and will always reply to emails and questions when you need,” she said. They want to see you do well and will put in the effort to help you out!
#3: Honours included
“The Monash course allows you to do your Honours straight away, meaning you graduate with a 4 year degree — it comes with it, you don’t have to reapply for the Honours section,” Emma explained.
Now, that makes life a little bit easier. If you want to continue studying, there’s always the option to complete a Masters of Occupational Therapy which adds on another two years. However, it is not a requirement to become an Occupational Therapist.
Top 3 Cons of an Occupational Therapy degree
“The classes at Monash are fantastic, but often in the first year they were spread out across the day, making it hard travelling wise and utilising the day,” Emma told us.
Now, timetabling can be a little bit tricky at uni because sometimes you have a couple of hours between classes — at least with Occupational Therapy at Monash, you can usually fit all the classes into three days a week.
#2: No placement in first year
It’s mandatory to complete 1000 hours of placement (it’s a requirement of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists who accredit this degree) and you do this through three main placements.
However, you don’t have any placements in the first year. “I do think a first year observation placement would be helpful,” Emma said.
That way, you would be able to see earlier on the more practical side of Occupational Therapy and start to apply the knowledge you learn.
#3: The degree is still developing
“The Monash OT course is still growing, meaning the cohort is quite small,” Emma told us.
“Although this is good, sometimes it’s hard to find extra support from other students if needed,” she added.
The cohort is about 120 people so you do get to know everyone really well but compared to other university degrees, it definitely is fairly small.
“No, I have no regrets, I’m looking very much forward to graduating and becoming an OT,” Emma said.
Now, that says something! Remember though, every student has a different experience with the degree, so it’s important to be mindful that there may be things about the degree that you don’t enjoy.
What do you wish you had known before starting Occupational Therapy at Monash University?
“I wish I knew more about the profession in general, I went in with not much idea of what the profession was and wished I did some more research,” Emma said.
Emma told us that it’s not because she hasn’t enjoyed the degree — occupational therapy is her passion but she said, “I believe that knowing more about OT prior to starting, I would have paid more attention to the theories and frameworks within the first year because they’re so important.”
So, there you go — make sure you do your research before you start the degree so you know what to expect and can get your head around some of the theory before you start!
It’s also good to keep in mind that when it comes to placement, you’ll have at least one rural one where you have to find your own accomodation and also take time off from any part-time job that you usually do.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
#1: The facilities
“The facilities are great at Monash for OT — we have had heaps of opportunities to practise in scenario-based wards and within different tutorials,” Emma told us.
There’s an emphasis on scenario-based learning where students break down different client case studies and examine it from an Occupational Therapist point of view.
#2: Lots of opportunities
“Monash provides an amazing degree with such a wide breadth of experiences and placement opportunities,” Emma told us.
The 1000 hours of place in three blocks really allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learnt to real-life scenarios. You also get to experience different environments as one of the three placements is more rural and will require you to most likely travel.
Emma is currently completing her final placement in a hospital and is really enjoying it!
You should also consider joining the Occupational Therapy Society (SOOT) to meet other OT students from other years. They run a whole bunch of different social events including the SOOT ball, Pictionary, trivia and pizza nights plus there are always job updates posted to their Facebook group page.
What inspired you to choose Occupational Therapy at Monash University?
Emma used to volunteer at an aged care facility and she told us that she became “fascinated with the work the OT was doing there”.
On top of this, the Monash Peninsula campus was the perfect option for her because she didn’t want to move to the city or have to travel for hours to get there!
“Monash provided me with a degree that included Honours and it was also closer to me in terms of travel,” she said.
What are the possible career paths?
Well, most people who study Occupational Therapy usually go on to become Occupational Therapists. However, this degree can also be a pathway into another career within the Allied Health field.
These are just a few other examples:
- Care manager
- Health improvement practitioner
- High intensity therapist
- Life coach
- Psychological wellbeing practitioner
- Social worker
- Special educational needs teacher
Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.