An occupational therapist job is very significant in the lives of the people who are suffering from any sort of disability whether it is physical, emotional, or mental. They are to take care of people with particular needs. Since they are handling different individuals, this also means that each individual has different needs. Thus, occupational therapists are also trained to handle varied situations and characters.
An example of activities that are done in occupational therapy are folding clothes, lifting bags, or even driving cars. These are simple tasks but would give great impact to the patients. There are also activities that would improve mental alertness or memory power.
How can one be categorized as an occupational therapist that is ready to take the job? Two most important values are superior interpersonal skills and patience. Why so? This is because you cannot choose your patient. The majority of individuals who need therapy most of the time become frustrated and even angry due to the reason that recovery is slowly moving (this is true most of the time). This is now the stage where the occupational therapist job is at its best. One should listen and try to encourage the patient to continue with the recovery.
To be part of the occupational therapy employment, one must have finished a college course of occupational therapy as well as a master’s degree and an on the job training. After taking such degrees, there is also a licensure exam. If one will not pass such licensure, then he/she is not allowed to practice occupational therapy.
A bachelor’s degree in an occupational therapy career is typically under the sciences or social sciences like psychology or anthropology. A master’s degree on the other hand includes physical and life science and behavioral science. At present however, there are a lot of occupational therapy programs at the master’s level and lesser at the doctoral level. In the U.S, the high performing occupational therapy schools are the University of Kansas Medical Center, Washington University, and the University of Illinois.
A job in occupational therapy is set to grow faster than average because it is projected to be at 27% growth between the years of 2008-2018. It is expected that in the year 2018, there will be 133,000 occupational therapists who will be working.
Occupational therapists are seen to not just work in hospitals alone but also in schools, self-employed in private practice, in health care services offices, mental health facilities, or in nursing homes.
In mental facilities, occupational therapists help in treating patients who are mentally ill; people who are emotionally disturbed through activities that are engaging.
There are also times when OT’s (occupational therapists) help children with impairments and special needs in school. Their job is to assess the child’s capabilities and make recommendations and provide therapy. The other way they help is that they are able to help in modifying the classroom for a more conducive learning environment for special children.
Helping elderly patients is the most common role of an occupational therapist. It helps the elderly be more productive and live a more active life rather than just sit for the entire day and watch TV. Their jobs may include recommending a more adaptive environment or alternative environment for the elderly towards avoiding hazards or even in situations that would involve the elderly with short-term memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Bureau of Labor in the U.S, an occupational therapist earns an average of $68,000 a year. And as predicted, in the future, establishments like nursing homes would likely pay the best. Occupational therapy jobs may pay well, but the most grateful reward is the opportunity of helping people get on with their lives in a productive and satisfying manner. A paycheck is just temporary compared to the satisfying and fulfilling emotion that while doing your job, you were actually able to help lives. It is indeed a varied and challenging career.
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