Are you interested in a career in occupational therapy? It’s a good opportunity to interact with people and help patients improve their quality of life. But before you commit to it, learn about the education requirements, prospects for future opportunities, and what it’s like to be an occupational therapist.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

Occupational therapists help children and adults manage their illness, injury or disability, and improve their function and performance in their environment (e.g., work, home, school). Therapists help patients achieve their goals through a variety of methods, including:

·         Initial evaluation – Patient, family and therapist discuss the patient’s challenges and work together to determine the patient’s goals.

·         Recommend therapy options – Explain the patient’s condition, as well as options that can improve their quality of life.

·         Therapy – Improve the patient’s ability to perform daily activities at home, school, work or in other environments. Patients, family members, caregivers or employers are taught how to modify activities and the environment around the patient to help meet the patient’s goals. Therapy can involve helping patients position themselves to achieve optimal function.

·         Follow-up evaluation – Assess the patient’s progress in comparison with their goals, and modify the therapy plan as needed.

What Are the Job Prospects?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapists is expected to grow 27 percent between 2014 and 2024. That’s faster than the average of most occupations.

What Education Is Required?

Before you can practice occupational therapy, there are education, licensing and accreditation requirements.

  • At a minimum, obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy (MOT)
  • Pass an examination and obtain a state license
  • Obtain accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • Choose to further your education and obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD)

You can also continue your education to specialize in treatment areas, some of which include:

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Assistive technology  (e.g., job accommodations, computer accessibility, vehicle modifications)
  • Autism
  • Brain injury
  • Ergonomics
  • Hand therapy
  • Industrial rehabilitation
  • Loss of limb
  • Lymphedema
  • Neuro-motor disorders
  • Vision loss

Will You Enjoy Your Career?

A career as an occupational therapist can be rewarding. But will you enjoy it? Your responsibilities will require ongoing interaction with people, and certain qualities and personality traits can make it easier to enjoy your job. Some of them are listed below.

  • Compassion
  • Good communication
  • Nurturing
  • Patience
  • Organization skills
  • Physical strength
  • Problem-solving skills

Interested in Occupational Therapy Opportunities?

At WSi, we understand the healthcare industry. Since 1988, we have matched healthcare professionals with companies that need and value their talent and enhance their career growth. Explore the opportunities today.