What is a Career in Occupational Therapy?

Overview

An occupational therapist helps people with disabilities to learn the skills or recover the skills to be more independent in their lives. Traditionally occupational therapy (OT) is concerned with the small muscles, such as in the hand, while physical therapy deals mainly with large muscle groups and mobility. According to “U. S. News and World Report, ” 50% of occupational therapists report that their jobs are not stressful, making OT the ninth least stressful job in the country.

To be an effective occupational therapist you must have excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to imagine effective adaptations to assist a patient to become independent with a particular skill or skill set. Often a patient makes very slow progress and may become very frustrated or non-compliant in practicing therapy at home between therapy appointments. Patience and the ability to motivate and encourage clients are essential characteristics of a good OT.

Education

In order to work as an occupational therapist, you must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited OT program that includes a minimum of 24 hours supervised field work with clients. Following completion of the Brand Cialis master’s degree, therapists who want to practice the profession must pass a national certification test. Following passage of the test, the are officially “Occupational Therapist Registered” and can put the designation after their names with the letters OTR.

Psychology, anthropology, liberal arts, anatomy and biology all make excellent undergraduate degrees for the individual intending to pursue a master’s degree. In the master’s program coursework focuses on application of occupational therapy theory, behavioral sciences, life sciences and physical sciences.

Currently their are 150 master’s and combined bachelor’s-master’s degree and four doctoral programs in the United States that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

“U. S. News and World Report” magazine ranked the top occupational therapy programs in the United States. The top five programs are Boston College (Sargent), Washington University in St. Louis, University of Southern California, University of Illinois in Chicago, Tufts Boston and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Expected Job Growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of occupational therapy is expected to grow significantly faster than most fields, particularly in the sub-field working with the elderly. It ranked as one of the 50 best careers of 2010 in “U. S. News and World Report.”

In 2008, only 105,000 people were working as occupational therapists. This is projected to increase by 26% between 2008 and 2018. The anticipated number of occupational therapists working in the U. S. In 2018 is 131,300.

Salary

Most occupational therapists work in hospitals, but can also be found working in nursing homes, schools, private practice, mental health settings and in home health care.

In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for OTs was $67,780. The top 10% earned more than $98,310, while the bottom 10% earned less than $42,820.

Therapists working in home health care services were the most highly paid, averaging a salary of about $74,510 per year. Those working in nursing homes averaged $72,790 a year, while licensed occupational therapy professionals working in schools earned about $60,020 per year.

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