If you’ve read up on what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU, it would make sense if you’re now looking for an opinion piece to get a personal insight into the course.
Well, we’ve got you covered!
We got to chat to Huwayda Mohamed, an Occupational Therapy student, who told us everything about the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the ins and outs of the degree at WSU.
Let’s get started!
Why should you study an Occupational Therapy degree at WSU?
The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU is a 4-year undergraduate degree that provides students with a direct pathway to become a practicing occupational therapist.
An OT is someone who evaluates and applies therapy to people who are restricted in their abilities to perform daily activities. By pursuing a degree in OT, you’ll learn all about the world of occupational therapy and be qualified to support patients and contribute to the rehabilitation and wellbeing of those who need it most!
It’s a gratifying position and one that earns a lot of respect from other health professionals and patients.
Since it is such a job directed course, it’s a relief to note that according to Job Outlook, the future growth of occupational therapists in Australia will be very strong over the next 5 years. So, it’s a stable position and with a Bachelor of OT, you’ll be given all the practical and theoretical knowledge that you’ll need to score a job.
At WSU, an OT degree specifically emphasises the importance of human diversity and fairness towards all people. You’ll be equipped with the skills to support and assist every client, no matter their needs!
Top 3 Pros of an Occupational Therapy degree
#1: The great cohort
Huwayda told us that she has found the cohort in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy to be a group of friendly, welcoming and supportive people.
This can actually be quite a typical feature of health-related disciplines because most of the time these students want to work with people once they graduate. So, you’ll be surrounded by empathetic people who want to assist you in any way they can.
“I have made so many friends and everyone that is studying Occupational Therapy has their own story as to why they’re completing this particular course. Everyone I’ve met so far is super passionate about helping people,” Huwayda confirmed.
#2: Learning empathy
As we mentioned, you can be confident that most of the students in OT are kind, supportive and willing to lend a helping hand wherever they can. Even if some students might seem a little shy or distant at first, Huwayda told us that throughout the course it’s normal for students to develop their empathy skills as they progress.
She explained, “I have become so much more empathetic! At the end of the day everyone has their own struggles. I have learnt to put any sort of judgement or prejudice away and try to understand the person from their point of view.”
#3: The passionate tutors and lecturers
“They are so well established in their professional careers, it’s so interesting when they share stories about their clinical experience. When I hear their stories it makes me super excited to want to commence my career in OT,” Huwayda said.
So, not only are you going to be taught a program that will develop your theoretical and practical occupational skills, but you’ll be supported and advised by experienced and passionate staff who know exactly what you’re going through. As Huwayda said, it’s really great to get a different perspective on the course, and can often be inspiring to hear it from an accomplished individual in the field you’d like to work in.
As a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student, you’ll be positioned in WSU’s School of Health Sciences which serves a number of health disciplines like Allied Health (where OT goes), Public Health, Sport Health, Exercise Science and Health Services.
Top 3 Cons of an Occupational Therapy degree
#1: There’s a lot of work
While it is a great degree that revolves around helping people out, it’s a pretty big commitment because there’ll be a lot of work that you’ll have to stay on top of.
“Apart from the amazing content that I’ve learnt so far, the workload can be quite overwhelming which can be quite stressful sometimes,” Huwayda said.
Alongside your tutorials, lectures, practical classes and some independent study, you’ll also be required to complete a few assessments for each of the subjects that you’ll take. As an OT student you can expect to be assessed on several individual reports and essays, theoretical and practical exams as well as some group work, class presentations and research projects.
There’s a wide scope of assessments and content that you’ll cover and while it may seem a little overwhelming, just remember that you’re developing this knowledge so that you’ll be prepared and confident to handle future professional situations.
You can have a look at the kinds of subjects and assessments OT students are required to complete here!
#2: The number of students
Another con that Huwayda noted was the number of students in each class. “Depending on the unit, the amount of students in a tutorial or practical class can be slightly too much meaning that developing a deeper interaction with tutors and classmates can be difficult,” Huwayda shared.
She told us that this can often affect a student’s ability to establish a proper relationship with the staff in their degree. This could largely be because of the rather prescriptive and structured nature of the degree.
While having consistent classes across your cohort is great for making some long term pals, Huwayda told us that it can also be seen as a negative since it can hinder your ability to get to know the tutors or feel as involved.
#3: Not much flexibility
As we mentioned, a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU is a very structured degree, meaning you don’t get many chances to choose electives or tailor the degree to your own interests. Huwayda also found that students don’t really get a chance to work at their own pace because there are rigid requirements for every class.
Huwayda explained, “There isn’t much of an option to accelerate and finish off the course in a shorter duration as it is really structured which requires students to complete specific units in a specific order.”
“I don’t necessarily have any regrets about this course. I think the only thing is that I wish I had known about Occupational Therapy when I first enrolled in university, as this is my second degree and then I would have completed OT instead,” Huwayda said.
Despite the few cons that Huwayda mentioned earlier, for the most part, she is extremely pleased with the degree. So, if you’re considering studying OT at WSU, maybe this is your sign!
What do you wish you had known before starting Occupational Therapy at WSU?
Huwayda told us that she wished there was a bit more easily accessible information about what being an OT actually involves.
“Occupational Therapy is quite a new profession and not many people know what it is unless you’re in the health or medical field. Even I did not know exactly what an OT would do!” she said.
It can also be a bit tricky to know the difference between similar sounding professions like physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths. If you can, try to ask the uni and read your subject outlines to get a well-rounded idea of all the courses and to figure out exactly what you want to do!
Huwayda added, “Having a better understanding of the OT profession prior to commencing my studies would have been beneficial as it would have given me a better insight on my career goals.”
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
“What sets WSU apart from other universities is the fun, caring, passionate environment. We have amazing support from our teachers who are constantly ready to help students when needed. The fact that they are easily approachable makes it 100 times better!”
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again — the OT cohort and staff are some of the most empathetic, supportive and welcoming people you’ll come to know. For Huwayda, this caring attitude has been a defining characteristic of WSU and she is so glad that she has that long term support network.
What inspired you to choose Occupational Therapy at WSU?
Huwayda actually began her studies in a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Health and Physical Education at WSU. Once she graduated, she decided to pursue Occupational Therapy.
The combination of these two degrees would provide Huwayda with a great background to work in the allied health field. Huwayda told us the reasons that she decided to begin OT study:
“My brother was involved in an accident and unfortunately he is now a paraplegic. He had an amazing team of allied health professionals (OTs, Physiotherapists, Speech Pathologists) that helped so much in helping him adjust to his new lifestyle,” Huwayda shared.
“The rehabilitation process was so intriguing. This inspired me to want to study OT as it’s such a rewarding career. I have become so passionate about wanting to help people in similar situations like my brother. If I’m going to make a difference in someone’s life it’s going to be through Occupational Therapy!” she elaborated.
If you’re someone that wants a job that helps and inspires, maybe Occupational Therapy is the perfect path for you to pursue. It’s definitely lived up to Huwayda’s expectations.
What are the possible career paths?
Since the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU is incredibly career focused, you can expect to be confidently guided towards an occupational therapist position. However, there are plenty of different fields where you can utilise these skills.
Some of these may include:
- Public and Private Hospitals
- Insurance Companies
- Rehabilitation Centres
- Rehabilitation Consultancy
- Mental Health Services
Of course, there is no requirement to become an occupational therapist either. Maybe you’ll love the degree but find a different pathway along the way and that’s totally fine too!
You could commit to some further study and do some postgraduate health degrees, go into education, consulting or management! Even though an OT degree is very job focused, it doesn’t mean that you’ll only have the skills to work as an OT, so don’t let that aspect deter you!
Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!