Career in OT
- What Does An Occupational Therapy Practitioner Do?
Occupational therapy uses everyday activities as the means of helping people to achieve independence.
For the person with a physical disability, the first focus is on performing critical daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating. Once these skills are mastered, the occupational therapy program is built around the skills needed to perform a person's daily responsibilities, such as caring for a home and family, participating in education, seeking and holding employment and participating in the social structure of the community.
The goals for a client with mental illness are also based on the ability to function independently. In treating mental or emotional problems, the occupational therapy program often includes practice in managing time, working productively with others, and enjoying leisure.
- What Tasks Would I Be Performing During a Work Day?
Depending on your employer or the setting in which you work, your occupational therapy career may include:
- aiding the growth and development of premature babies,
- enhancing learning environments for physically challenged school children,
- adapting home environments for people dealing with the effects of stroke,
- analyzing job task requirements for an injured worker, or
- participating in research to measure the effectiveness of treatment activities.
- Where Do Occupational Therapy Practitioners Work?
Opportunities for change and variety characterize the outstanding range of career options in occupational therapy. You will be welcomed by employers, including public schools, rehabilitation hospitals, mental health centers, nursing homes, physician practices, and home health agencies. As your career progresses, you will want to consider advancement opportunities in management, specialization, teaching, research, or private practice.
- Does Occupational Therapy Offer Opportunities For Individuals Of Culturally Diverse Backgrounds?
The Occupational Therapy profession is actively seeking to expand the number of practitioners representing the many aspects of cultural diversity in our society. Currently, target populations include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities, and men - all of whom are underrepresented in the field.
For information on financial aid contact:
- The National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education for their publications on financial aid resources for individuals from culturally/ethnically diverse backgrounds (1-800-641-7824).
- The HEALTH Resource Center for a publication on financial aid for students with disabilities (1-800-544-3284)
- How Do I Prepare For An Occupational Therapy Career?
To become an occupational therapist, you may choose one of two routes: a post baccalaureate master’s program, or a professional master's degree program. All Occupational Therapy educational programs include a period of supervised fieldwork experience.
To become an occupational therapy assistant, you must complete either a two-year associate degree or one of a limited number of certificate programs. These programs also include supervised fieldwork experience.
Because entrance requirements, prerequisites, and program components differ from school to school, it is important to get specific information from those programs to which you are interested in applying.
- What Prerequisites Will I Need When Applying To An Occupational Therapy Program?
Schools typically require course work concentrating on the biological and behavioral sciences, including biology, psychology, and sociology. Most programs also require volunteer or paid work experience with person with disabilities.
- How Can I Learn Which Colleges And Universities Offer Occupational Therapy Education Programs?
A nationwide listing of the more than 200 occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant education programs offered by colleges and universities is available from the American Occupational Therapy Association. The education programs are available on AOTA's website at www.aota.org; click onto Student Resources for complete listing of schools nationwide.
Source: American Occupational Therapy Association