Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapist provides a number of services to a wide range of clientele. They specialize in rehabilitating patients who are facing debilitating conditions that severely impact their quality of life.

What to Expect

Occupational therapist are specially trained individuals who are able to assess, diagnosis, and treat a patient who may lack the ability to perform certain tasks either due to age or mental and physical challenges. They strive to work with the patient to recover and develop skills necessary to live a functional and productive life.

The duties of an occupational therapist depend largely on the patient’s needs and capabilities. Duties can be as routine as eating and dressing oneself to as complex as walking or learning to speak again after a devastating accident. The therapist develops a series of exercises or tasks that improve the area that is in most need of attention.

For a patient recovering from partial paralysis of a hand the occupational therapist will develop a series of exercises designed to improve motor control and dexterity. The same holds true for patients facing mental complications. A woman who has developmental problems will undergo exercises designed to help develop the skills necessary for an independent life.

Occupational therapists also work with patients who face life-long debilitating conditions. In cases such as spinal injuries the therapist will help the patient develop the skills and abilities to handle day to day tasks such as getting dressed, brushing their hair, and eating. Occupational therapists are often the only way that many of these patients can lead an independent life.

For patients employed by a business occupational therapist will often evaluate the workspace and even consult with the employer. This is to ensure that the patient is able to work to the best of his or her ability in a safe manner. Occupational therapist may even help patients find employment if necessary.

As the occupational therapist work with patients he or she is recording and monitoring progress and activities. Closely monitoring the patient’s journey through treatment is important for the patient’s physicians and other healthcare providers.

Occupational therapist can work with anyone from the elderly to children either in one-on-one sessions or in group settings.

Education, Training, and Certification

The training and education requirements for occupation therapist are rigid. A master’s degree is required for those looking to get into the field. Each state requires an occupational therapist to be licensed and accredited. These requirements vary state to state so it is important to review the requirements before applying for licensing.

Students looking to enter the career field must also attend a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. After completion of this program the student will be eligible to take the certifying exam.

Occupational therapist should also exhibit certain traits and qualities;

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Trustworthy
  • Integrity
  • Trustworthy

In many states it is necessary for occupational therapist to continue their education in the field to retain their licensing and certification. This is to ensure that the therapist continue to provide the best possible rehabilitation possible using new techniques and innovative strategies and procedures.

Employment Options

Occupational therapists are employed by a number of healthcare institutions. Prized for their ability to work closely with patients and treasured for the progress they are helping to make, occupational therapists are valued by their employer.

Occupational therapists are commonly employed by;

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Private physician’s office
  • Health care services in the home
  • Private practices.

Employment Outlook

This field promises increased growth due to the increase in elderly patients. Occupational therapists work closely with the elderly and are often tasked with helping aging patients accomplish tasks that were once simple. Occupational therapists also help with common age related conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

While the need for occupational therapist in all areas of life will continue to grow it is the growth in elderly care that is going to grow at a rapid rate.

Projected Salary

Salaries for occupational therapists are determined by employer, experience, and any specialty training they may possess. On average the wages for occupational therapist is $55,000.

The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"

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