May 9, 2023

Graduating with three degrees from Shawnee State University, Carrie Williams first chose to attend the university because it allowed her to stay close to home. Receiving her degrees in occupational therapy, Williams knew her education would let her have the opportunity to give back to the surrounding communities where she grew up. In 2022, Williams completed her final degree at SSU – the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate.

Williams felt confident in her choice of majoring in Occupational Therapy when she was able to work with children with various disabilities during her undergraduate degree.

“I always saw the therapy department having fun,” she said. “I did observation hours with the same therapy department and knew that occupational therapy was where I could see myself and my career.”

Working in pediatric outpatient therapy for the past 13 years, Williams enjoys the flexibility the occupational therapy field offers professionals to work in various practice settings and to be licensed in different states. She now works at King’s Daughters Medical Center in the outpatient pediatric rehabilitation department in the Vitality Center. With her recent completion of her doctorate in the field, she wants to use her education to improve care for pediatrics in Appalachia.

“Both my master’s and doctorate provided me with the foundational education I use daily in practice,” she said. “By completing research in both degrees, I have learned valuable information to utilize and advocate for pediatric occupational therapy services in Appalachia.”

Looking towards others that are interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy, Williams encourages them to explore the foundations they will learn in their classes.

“Take a good mix of psychology and science classes in your undergraduate degree and understand that while it may not make sense while you are in school, you will find yourself using those foundations of your education when you are in everyday practice,” she said.

SSU offers several degrees in occupational therapy including a two-year associate’s degree that prepares graduates for careers as occupational therapy assistants; the master’s degree that is also offered as a compressed 3+2 degree for incoming freshman who want to prepare for a career as an occupational therapist in five years; and the post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy designed for therapists interested in advancing their careers.