Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants play a critical role to those who suffer from debilitating injuries, illnesses and disabilities. They assist patients to improve their motor skills, care for themselves or become an active member of society by finding employment. Occupational therapists use a variety of techniques such as exercise, memory games and specialized activities to improve motor skills and bodily functions. They work with a variety of other health care and rehabilitation specialists to plan the recovery of basic skills many of us take for granted.
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Find an Accredited Occupational Therapy School in Tucson, AZ
The Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners requires obtaining a master’s degree from an accredited educational program to become an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy assistants must obtain an associate’s degree. The Board requires submitting an application, two professional recommendations, proof of Arizona state citizenship, and submitting to a fingerprint examination for a criminal background check. Three schools are accredited in Arizona; two schools provide a master’s degree to become an occupational therapist and one offers an associate’s degree to become an occupational therapy assistant.
Occupational therapy professionals can become certified in specialty areas of occupational therapy. Although optional, these credentials may increase employment opportunities and allow you to specialize within a specific patient population, disease or illness. Specialty areas can include geriatrics, mental health, children and physical rehabilitation. Some of these credentials further specialize in specific types of therapy, such as eating and swallowing, working in school systems, and advanced motor skills.
Salaries for Occupational Therapy Jobs in Tucson, AZ
Occupational therapist jobs are likely to increase about 29 percent through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many health care-related occupations, including occupational therapists and assistants, will increase during that time frame based on U.S. Census Bureau reports, showing a large amount of the population aging during that timeframe, requiring more advanced therapy and recovery. Many of those retiring move to states such as Florida and Arizona, to avoid the cold climates and enjoy warm temperatures throughout most the year. This can increase the potential need for occupational therapy professionals in Arizona. The average salary for occupational therapists in Tucson, AZ was $77,850 or $37.43 per hour in 2013. The average salary for occupational therapy assistants was $53,700 per year or $25.82 per hour, according to the Bureau.
List of Occupational Therapy Programs in Arizona
Accredited programs that offer a master’s degree in occupational therapy include the Arizona Institute of Health Sciences in Mesa, and Midwestern University in Glendale. The Pima Medical Institute in Glendale offers an associate’s degree to become an occupational therapy assistant.