Occupational Therapist Career Facts

- Employment is projected to increase at a higher than average rate due to an increase in the number of middle aged to elderly people.
- More than a third of Occupational Therapists work part time.

Occupational Therapist Career Description

Occupational therapists work with people and help them to improve their productivity in both their workplace and in everyday life. The people they work with usually have mentally and physically deficient conditions. Such patients are then benefited by these therapists because the therapists help them function in the world at large more easily. This may include assisting them in reasoning capabilities or just helping them do things they would otherwise be incapable of doing on their own.

Occupational Therapist Career Details

Occupational Therapists assist their patients in multiple activities. These may include dressing, cooking, eating, and even helping them use a computer. They may also encourage exercise, which will clearly help the patient in the long run. Such exercise might be angled towards improving the patient's current disabilities. Hence if your injury involves a lack of flexibility, you would naturally do exercises that promote becoming more flexible. Some patients may have permanent disabilities, which could call for the therapist to cater to their specific needs. Such remedies might include using adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs and splints. These patients are the ones that usually need help with simple things such as eating and dressing. Some therapists will implement computers with specifically designed programs to assist those with severe disabilities.

Programs to Consider:

Therapists may design equipment to help patients become more effective at work. Hence they help people not only function at home with day to day things, but also try to enable them to have a career or hold a job. Such equipment may help the patient communicate more effectively or enable a level of comfort that would otherwise be impossible. One thing that most therapists will have in common no matter who they're helping is that they will both monitor and ensure progress. Hence the patients can be evaluated in terms of improvement and alternative routes may be taken if necessary.

Occupational Therapist Career Specializations

Some therapists may specialize with certain age groups or certain disabilities. For example, an Industrial Therapist specifically treats people whose work ability has been impaired and hence needs special training and guidance to ensure their success in the working world. Such specialists are essential in handling the needs of those they work with on a day to day basis. Such expertise may include adaptive equipment and other methods to better incorporate patients into everyday living. Other areas of specializing may include the elderly, which means helping them lead healthy, active lives. Another possible area is in mental health. Such work may include dealing with the mentally ill, mentally retarded, and the emotionally disturbed. This usually requires a different approach to treatment than when compared to dealing with just the elderly.

Occupational Therapist Career Working Environment

It's common for Therapists involved with health care to work 40 hours a week. Those involved with other fields such as schools tend to only be part time workers. About a third of employed therapists work part time. The nature of their specialty will determine what they do and where they do it. A health therapist may drive to appointments with clients while those in rehabilitation will have their own room full of equipment. Also, more and more therapists are employing assistants to do work closely with their clients. Hence the therapists supervise more, which should reduce costs for clients and thus increase business for occupational therapists.

Occupational Therapist Career Required Training

The minimum requirement for entry into occupational therapy is a Bachelors degree. Occupational therapy is regulated by the government in all states. With this in mind you need to be licensed by the government. Hence you need to take certain classes and pass the national certification examination. Not only do you have to take the required course, you also must pass the test. There are plenty of education programs that will certify potential therapists. You can either major in it, or get certified later on. There are also post bachelor degree programs for students who didn't major in Occupational Therapy. Some schools may offer a masters and a few even go as far as to offer a doctorate. Getting into the programs isn't too difficult, but most programs like to see a background in life sciences and an element of health care volunteering experience.

Occupational Therapist Career Coursework

Classes that prepare students for Occupational Therapy usually include physical, biological, and behavior sciences. Aside from this, they will be educated in the current theories and methods of the field. Students will also be required to complete about six months of supervised fieldwork to better prepare them for the vocation. People skills will also be taught which may include building patient and interpersonal skills.

Occupational Therapist Career Future Job Outlook

Occupational Therapy is projected to increase faster than average. It's safe to say it's a secure line of work in which to invest your time. While current government funding might be creating an abundance of jobs right now, the future is sure to hold a demand for educated and qualified Occupational Therapists. The elderly will especially be in need as people from the baby boomer era continue to age.

Occupational Therapist Salary

Median Salary for 2010- $74,970

Category: 
Career Info Healthcare