Ways to Become an Occupational Therapist

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Are you interested in a profession which is concerned with offering health and well-being through occupation? If yes, then occupational therapy is the right kind of job for you. With this job you can help the people who are physically, mentally, and emotionally impaired to actively participate in their day to day life activities. You can assist people of various age groups and help them to enhance their personal and professional environment.

Occupational therapists assist patients in groups or on a one-to-one basis. They would either assist them for a specific period or throughout their life depending upon the needs of their patients. Their patients include people suffering from any physical or learning disability, having osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, or arthritis, or those recuperating from any operation or those trying to control their anti-social behavior.

The responsibility of occupational therapists is to help the people with mental, social and physical problems to adjust to various life aspects with confidence and self control. Their work is to advise their clients on how to easily conduct routine courses like washing, shopping, eating, dressing, using different modes of transport, etc. They design treatment programs and give suggestion regarding various equipments so that their clients can smoothly carry out their daily living tasks. They also make arrangements for adaptations at workplace and home. The extensive support of the occupational therapist helps the clients to develop hobbies, social, and leisure interests. For some clients it is difficult to cope up with their present condition and their situation which creates additional stress and pressure. The job of an occupational therapist is to help them to manage their stress and cope with their current situation by suggesting relaxation techniques and positive thinking. With effective occupational therapy, the patients will soon be able develop their social skills.

Occupational therapists work in co-ordination with other specialists like doctors, psychiatrics, physiologist, nurses, speech therapist, teachers, social workers, and people from governmental and non-governmental organizations. They also provide suggestion to the client's family members and employers. At times, occupational therapist may design special equipments which the patients can use at home or at their work place.

The working location for occupational therapy jobs may vary depending upon the clients and their condition. It can be in hospitals, residential or commercial places, schools or colleges, or a health center. Governmental and non-governmental organizations and health care centers often appoint occupational therapists as consultants. Schools and colleges hire them so that the students with needs can learn to participate in the school and college activities. There are both part-time and full-time jobs available in the field.

In order to enter into the field of occupational therapy, you need to achieve a master's degree in Occupational therapy. Many candidates who aim at becoming occupational therapists take up subjects like sociology, psychology, human development, physics, and anatomy during their school and college years.

Some of the personal qualities and professional skills needed for occupational therapy jobs are:

•    Occupational therapists should have good persuading and motivating skills.

•    They should get along well with the people they are working for and should always respect them.

•    They should be creative and should be competent enough to make decisions on their own.

•    The job includes working with people having varying temperaments and so the therapists should not lose their own temper and have good control of their own behavior.

•    Physical and mental stamina is very essential in these types of jobs.

•    They should be well organized and tactfully handle all the necessary paperwork.

•    It is important for them to work as a team with various professional related to the field so that they can best help their patients.

Candidates can receive the training while they are pursuing their bachelor's or master's course. They can also work as occupational therapist support workers and learn the necessary skills for becoming an occupational therapist.

Previous experience is preferred by most organization but it is not a necessity. Training received through internship while pursuing the course is enough to enter the field of an occupational therapist.

There is an increasing demand for occupational therapists in health care centers and other organizations. Occupational therapists working in clinics and hospitals can progress as a senior occupational therapist and once they have gained enough experience, they can become occupation therapy program director. Further, they can also work as a teacher or consultant in various settings.

You can earn a decent amount as per the experience and educational qualification you have received as an occupational therapist. Besides this, you can enjoy additional benefits like pension, health insurance, and travel opportunities.

By being warm and creative, occupational therapists can work intimately with their patients and progress in their field.
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