Occupational Therapy Career—Assisting the Physically Challenged

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The occupational therapy career is one of the few careers which concentrates on helping patients to improve their ability to perform tasks in a living and working environment. Occupational therapy jobs involve an interaction with mainly elderly and physically and mentally challenged patients. As these patients are unable to perform their daily duties, operational therapists use treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living of their patients. The goal of occupational therapists is to help patients have independent, productive, and satisfying lives.


In order to apply for an occupational therapy job, the candidate should be licensed. This requires a minimum of master’s degree in occupational therapy, six months of supervised fieldwork, and passing scores on examinations. Courses may be completed as a full- or part-time student, but the six months of supervised fieldwork must not be overlooked. A candidate aspiring for a career in occupational therapy should, while completing the master’s degree, study the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences as well as the application of occupational therapy theory and skills.

An undergraduate major of biology, psychology, sociology, etc., is pre-requisite for admission to this master’s course. To obtain the license for an occupational therapy job, the candidate must pass a national certification examination, to get the title of Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). In addition to this, occupational therapists need patience and strong interpersonal skills to inspire trust and respect in their clients. Those working in home-health care services must also be able to adapt to a variety of settings.

Nature of an occupational therapist job

As discussed, occupational therapy involves helping patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments.
  • These physically and mentally challenged people need the help of expert occupational therapists to maintain their daily living. The therapist helps clients to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities by compensating for permanent loss of some functions.

  • Occupational therapy also helps patients to undergo physical exercises intended to increase strength and dexterity. For visually challenged patients, other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity or the ability to discern patterns.
  • Occupational therapists may also use computer programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, and perceptual skills as well as memory, sequencing, coordination, etc. So, an occupational therapist job also includes learning the machine techniques themselves.

  • Occupational therapists should also be familiar with adaptive equipment like wheelchairs, hearing aids, eating aids, etc., that is required for patients with permanent disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. They need to maintain a standard of living for these patients.

  • There are many cases where individual patients can be in a work environment despite some impairment. In this situation, the occupational therapist’s job includes assisting the individual to better adapt to their work condition and even to arrange with employers to modify the work environment to allow the patient to successfully complete his or her work.

  • The occupational therapist also needs to assess and record the clients’ progress of activities, while reporting the same to physicians and health care providers.

  • Once successfully entered into the occupational therapy career, the therapist must deal with people from all age groups. The therapist may work with children to improve their activities and to learn in school and at home. For adults and elders, therapists can help them lead normal lives and even to improve their ability to contribute at their place of work.

  • Work environment: The occupational therapy job environment varies wildly. Therapists may work in large rehabilitation centers, and they may have to work with tools and machines that can be tiring. For home-health care services, they have to spend time appointment to appointment. In hospitals, they have to work as regulars. If they work in schools dealing with children, they may have to take on the role of parent also.
Prospects of occupational therapy career

The prospects for occupational therapy careers are increasing day by day. The rate of occupational therapy jobs is increasing more than any average rate of job growth. In a decade, it is estimated to increase by 23 percent, because a large percentage of our population is getting older. Due to the increased complication of a daily lifestyle, there is a greater number of hazards expected that will increase demand for occupational therapists. In an occupational therapy job, you can earn somewhere between $55,000 and $70,000, depending on the type of clients you serve.

Advancement: The occupational therapy career can be served by being an occupational therapist, an occupational therapist aide, or an occupational therapist assistant. In fact, therapists are gradually taking on supervisory roles, and, because of rising health-care costs, third-party payers are beginning to encourage occupational therapist assistants and aides to take more responsibility for clients. Occupational therapists can choose to advance their own careers by taking on administrative duties and supervising assistants and aides. This is also possible for them by specializing in a clinical area and by gaining expertise in treating a certain type of patient or ailment such as gerontology, mental health, pediatrics, and physical rehabilitation. In addition, occupational therapists can even choose to teach classes in accredited occupational therapy educational programs.

So, if you have a love for filling a need for a challenged person, then this career is just the one you should choose.
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