Occupational therapists are trained medical professionals who treat patients with motor or cognitive deficits brought on by sickness or trauma. They assist patients with regaining lost motor function, train them to use aids, and enable them to carry out daily duties with ease. Are there occupational therapist jobs around you and do you want to start a career in them? This article will take you through all there is to know about this career path.
Also read: Who Can Be A Radiologist Assistant?
Occupational therapist: What is it?
Occupational therapy is an extremely demanding and exciting field of work. This profession significantly improves the lives of people (both young and old), teach them how to overcome their social, physical, and/or mental obstacles, and offers them the independence to pursue their interests. This might be as basic as allowing someone to go grocery shopping and prepare dinner on their own.
As you might expect, this position offers a great deal of job satisfaction. You will be able to work with individuals of all ages who may have problems that have existed since birth or that are the result of illness, an accident, lifestyle decisions, or aging.
Duties of an Occupational Therapist
People in occupational therapy roles frequently perform the tasks listed below:
- Review the patient’s medical records to create a treatment strategy.
- Encourage patients to engage in activities and exercises that could aid in the restoration of lost motor function.
- Teach patients how to use tools that are intended to help them carry out daily chores
- Caregivers should be taught how to set up patient residences in a way that allows them to operate properly.
- Record patient progress and talk with the patient’s other physicians about the outcomes and findings.
Occupational therapists may also work in mental health facilities where they assist patients with emotional issues, mental illnesses, and developmental impairments. By imparting knowledge of skills like time management, budgeting, using public transportation, and performing household chores, they assist these patients in coping with and participating in daily life.
Several occupational therapists work in schools one-on-one or in small groups in educational settings. They assess the capabilities of challenged kids, adapt classroom supplies to various limitations, and encourage them to take part in class activities. Early intervention therapy is given to infants and toddlers who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing developmental delays by some therapists.
What distinguishes Occupational Therapy from Physical Therapy?
Physical therapists and occupational therapists frequently treat comparable conditions with related techniques and equipment. It’s interesting to note that both types of therapists previously went by the name of reconstruction aides.
These “reconstruction aides” helped World War I veterans get back on their feet while giving physical rehabilitation techniques legitimacy. The main purpose of both practices is to help patients carry out their everyday tasks as easily as possible. Today, both professions can aid with improving and stopping a patient’s physical ability decline. Both professions are able to boost their patients’ independence and quality of life over the long term (if necessary).
How the two Therapies Interact
Sometimes, patients will see a physical therapist to start their treatment before seeing an occupational therapist. For instance, a patient might visit a physical therapist to recover muscle strength after suffering a stroke. But after the muscles have grown stronger, the patient might go to an occupational therapist for assistance with eating, eating, buttoning shirts, or using the lavatory.
Pay for Occupational Therapists
In the US, an occupational therapist makes an average yearly compensation of about $85,570. The average annual compensation for occupational therapists is $85,570. The average salary ranges from $60,680 to $123,840.
The American market for Occupational Therapist Jobs
Occupational therapists are thought to number 130,400 at the moment in the US. Between 2016 and 2026, the occupational therapist labor market is anticipated to expand by 23.8%.
The Path Becoming an Occupational Therapist
Getting your bachelor’s degree is the first step toward becoming an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy degrees are typically pursued by aspirants to become occupational therapists, while comparable degrees in nursing, biology, or physiology may also be acceptable. The bachelor’s degree you choose to pursue is fairly variable because the majority of the education required to work as an occupational therapist is learned in a graduate degree program. However, when one is available, a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy is desirable.
You must obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy after finishing your undergraduate studies. You’ll first need to have a bachelor’s degree, and you might also need professional experience in the subject, in order to be admitted to a master’s degree program. If you choose to major in occupational therapy, you can gain professional experience as part of your bachelor’s degree program. However, people with other majors can also gain professional experience through an internship or a job as an assistant.
Typically, master’s degree programs last two to three years. After completing the program, you can apply for state licensing in your jurisdiction. To practice in the state, occupational therapists needed a license from each state. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy issues licenses, which necessitate satisfying requirements and passing tests. To keep their licenses, occupational therapists frequently have to fulfill continuing education requirements.