Occupational therapists are the health professionals who are responsible for helping the patients in regaining their abilities in order to perform their daily activities. As an occupational therapist, you would treat ill and/or disabled patients via the therapeutic use of daily activities. You would help these patients in developing, recovering and improving their skills for daily living.
Most typically, an occupational therapist will be the member of a rehabilitation team that includes the following professionals:
- Physical therapist
- Speech pathologist
- Social worker
The occupational therapists will work in diverse environments like:
- Rehabilitation centers
- Small medical offices
- Clients’ homes
- Nursing homes
- Physicians’ offices
Being an occupational therapist, your roles and responsibilities would include the following:
How to Become an Occupational Therapist?
- Observing the patients doing tasks, asking them questions and reviewing their medical history
- Evaluating the patients’ condition and needs
- Developing the treatment plan for patients
- Laying out the types of activities and specific goals to reach
- Helping patients with various disabilities with various tasks
- Demonstrating exercises
- Evaluating the patients’ home and workplace in order to identify potential improvements
- Educating the patients’ family and employer on how to accommodate as well as care for the patients
- Recommending special equipments and instructing the patients on how to use them
- Assessing and recording patients’ activities as well as progresses
In order to become an occupational therapist, you would need at least a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Few of them would even have a doctoral degree.
Most of the occupational therapists would enter this occupation with the master’s degree. If you are intending to get admitted to graduate programs, you would require a bachelor’s degree with specific coursework in biology and physiology. Most generally, the master’s program would take 2 to 3 years to complete.
Both your master’s and doctoral programs would require a minimum of 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork.
License and Certification:
All the states in US would require any occupational therapist to pass the national examination that is being conducted by ‘National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapists’. In order to attend this examination, you must have earned the degree from an accredited program. Also, you must have completed all the fieldwork requirements. For the purpose of maintaining your certification, you must take continuing education classes too.
‘American Occupational Therapy Association’ is offering various certifications for the occupational therapists in order to demonstrate their advanced levels of knowledge.
Job Outlook and Opportunities:
The job market of occupational therapists is projected to increase by 29% from the year 2012 to 2022 which is much faster than the average of all occupations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of United States Department of Labor, the average annual pay for an occupational therapist is $75,400 which equals $36.25 per hour.
Average Pay : $75,400
Education : Master’s degree
Number of Jobs, 2012 : 113,000
Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022 : 29%
On-the-job training : None
Work Experience : None