Abstract

The professional activities of five groups of occupational therapists with different educational backgrounds were compared to examine the influence of education on career characteristics. Analysis of covariance, using length of professional experience as the covariate, revealed statistically significant differences in the areas of education, administration and supervision, leadership, oral presentations, publications, and research but not in clinical practice, public relations, products development, or professional recognition. The greatest differences emerged between the bachelor’s, postbaccalaureate certificate, and basic master’s groups and the advanced master’s and other master’s groups, thus supporting the association between increased education and increased professional involvement. No differences were detected between the bachelor’s, certificate, and basic master’s groups or between the advanced and other master’s groups. The least involvement in professional activities occurred in the certificate group although the participation level for all groups was low. Although the findings highlight the important role of education in increasing therapists’ involvement in professional activities, educational interventions more subtle than manipulating the entry level for practice or proliferating occupational therapy graduate programs may be needed to create a cadre of occupational therapists committed to advancing the stature of occupational therapy.

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