Occupational Therapy Schools

Working as an occupational therapist is ideal when you have a passion for helping others rehabilitate after injuries, illnesses and other issues related to various areas of the body. An occupational therapist gives you the opportunity to share learned knowledge of the body and its physiology with patients while helping them to regain strength and confidence when learning to use different muscles and parts of the body again. Understanding occupational therapy training and what is involved in the career path of an occupational therapist is a way to create a future path for you if therapy is an ideal career for you.

Directory of Occupational Therapy Schools by state:

Directory of Occupational Therapy Schools by city:

Working as an Occupational Therapist

Taking on a position as a professional occupational therapist requires you to get to know patients and their medical history in addition to asking questions regarding their own needs and current conditions to get a better overview of the treatments required.

Creating a treatment plan for individual patients is also necessary for therapists who are working with physical injuries and rehabilitation, including various goals and specific activities that are likely to benefit the patient themselves during the recovery process.

Demonstrating different exercises, tasks and activities is also often necessary for patients who are incapable of completing them on their own during rehabilitation. Guiding patients and easing them into the process of additional physical activity and exercises is a way to give them the confidence necessary to move forward, even if they are having doubts of their own. Showing exercises including stretches and muscle-relaxing activities is essential when you are working to help individuals who are suffering from inflammation and different forms of debilitating arthritis.

Working together with children who have learning and physical disabilities is also possible when you take on the role of an occupational therapist, allowing you to work with disabled children and those who are autistic or unable to properly communicate and utilize physical functions of the body without proper guidance and assistance.

When you have a variety of patients in age and lifestyles it is also important to evaluate and assess individual work environments and homes to help develop the right plan of action to assist them through the process of healing and getting better. Educating additional family members and those who live in the household of your patient is another way to lend a helping hand to add to the rehabilitation they are able to receive when they are also at home.

If you have patients who require additional equipment and assistance, recommending different hearing aids, canes, walkers and wheelchairs can help to point them in the right direction. The more support and assistance your patient is capable of receiving from you, the easier it becomes to readjust to utilizing the right equipment and tools to steadily rehabilitate over time.

You may also be required to work with the records of patients to assess their progress, needs and requirements for their overall health when working together with additional doctors, physicians and hospital locations.

Training and Education Required

The average occupational therapist earns approximately $36.25 hourly, or $75,400 annually with a full-time position, based on the location you are hired into yourself. Occupational therapists today are required to have a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy in addition to volunteer and fieldwork completed along with licensing and certifications, depending on the state you are residing in. Although all states in the US currently require individuals to possess a Master's or Doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy, exams, testing and certification varies from each state.

However, all states currently require individuals to take and pass the NBCOT exam, or the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapists.

It is essential to possess communication skills in addition to compassion when working with individuals in occupational therapy, especially when you have patients who have been severely injured or ill, causing the issues they are currently experiencing with their bodies. Having patience and interpersonal skills is also necessary when on the job with the variety in age of patients you are likely to work with throughout your career. Having the ability to cope and relate with your patients is essential to help them feel more comfortable and at ease when moving forward with new exercises and activities that may at first seem impossible and uncomfortable. Easing your patients into the process of rehabilitation requires the ability to remain calm and positive at all times, even if the patient is severely injured or disabled physically.

Finding the Right Work Environment as an Occupational Therapist

Many occupational therapists who are working full-time professionally in their positions are working in hospitals, doctor offices and even schools or other large workplaces where individuals are present at all times. About half of all professional occupational therapists find themselves working out of hospitals or directly out of offices related specifically to the type of occupational therapy that is offered and available at the location itself.

Seeking out the right position for you once you have become certified can often be done by first volunteering and working in different offices guided under the care of certified occupational therapists. The more fieldwork you are able to volunteer, the easier it becomes to land the career you have in mind for yourself in occupational therapy.

Searching for the right fit for you as an occupational therapists is possible with the right referral as well as by checking online and local job boards near you, depending on the demand and need for the services you are capable of offering and providing to patients. Getting recommendations can also be achieved when you have volunteered and completed internships at local offices or hospitals, helping to boost your credibility and reputation as an occupational therapist locally and throughout the entire industry, increasing your chances of being selected as an ideal candidate for an open position.

The more you know about the career of occupational therapists the easier it becomes to find programs and schools that are right for the positions you are looking to obtain for yourself professionally.