Occupational Therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disability become as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. OT can help kids with various needs to improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
Occupational therapy involves helping people with certain disabilities become as independent much as they can. Therefore, occupational therapists are healthcare experts that assist patients on their road to full recovery. This involves giving patients necessary tasks which are programmed to ultimately improve their health status after a long spell with illness. Patients needing occupational therapy are usually those struggling with emotional, mental, developmental, and also physical abilities.
As an occupational therapist, you may deal with children, adults, as well as mentally deranged persons. Sometimes, you may have to work as a team with social workers, physical therapist, psychologists, and speech pathologists.
The following are health problems that may need the intervention of an Occupational therapist.
- Traumatic Injury
- Birth Defect
- Traumatic Amputation
- Brain/Spinal Cord Injury
- Mental Health
- Delay in Development
- Learning Problems
Roles and Duties of Occupational Therapists
As an expert in the field, you’ll basically have to:
- Assess your patients’ conditions and needs.
- Watch while your patients perform some assigned tasks.
- Ask your patients a series of questions to help you understand their medical history.
- Design treatment programs and schedules, write down goals, create tasks that will help achieve the goals.
- Act the activities you want patients to carry out.
- Play with patients who are autistic.
- Help patients lift heavy medical equipment
- Examine patients’ residences based on their health statuses and advise necessary adjustments if need be.
- Explain how relations and friends can best interact with patients.
- Jot down patients’ progress.
Important Skills for Occupational Therapists
While profession related competence is necessary for the field, having interpersonal relationship skill is key. As an occupational therapist, you’ll always work with patients who have gone through or are going through emotional problems.
Your verbal and non-verbal communication skills must topnotch.
You must have and always show empathy.
It is crucial to be realistic and help patients set realistic goals.
You must be lively and show optimism.
Motivation skills are also important.
Related: Career Specializations in Medical Sciences
Education for Occupational Therapists
OT is a broad medical field but on most occasions, you can only specialize in it at the masters level. It is equally ideal to get licensed as an expert and you can subsequently pursue a doctoral degree as you grow in the profession.
It is necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in courses such as Medicine, biology, Physiology, and other health-related sciences.
A masters degree in the field may take up to three years to complete, while a doctoral degree will also take another three. However, some universities offer combined programs of five years where you can earn your bachelors degree in health sciences and specialize in Occupational Therapy at the masters level thereafter.
Within your master’s program, you’ll spend a couple of weeks practicing at designated facilities in order to have hands-on knowledge and experience.
Qualified Occupational Therapists are in high demand. A career in the field is definitely one to consider if you can cope well enough with all the aforementioned responsibilities and skills. Below are some of the places where services of Occupational Therapists are needed.
- Nursing Homes
- Facilities for Mental Healthcare
- Special needs Schools
- Occupational Therapists also work as Private Care specialists.
Median annual income for Occupational Therapists is about $75,000 while the lowest and highest earners in the field go home with $50,000 and about $107,000 respectively, at the end of the year.
Average Salary in Canada: CA$43,000
Average Salary in the United Kingdom: £26,390
Best Schools to Study Occupational Therapy
Below are Universities whose expertise in the field are commendable with track records. You should consider them as your primary choices if you’d like to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy.
- University of Illinois–Chicago
- Boston University (Sargent)
- New York University
- University of Liverpool
- Cardiff University
For guidance on how to get admission into these schools, you send me an email or click on the chat button below this page.
Get career and educational articles and insights from our weekly newsletter.