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Table of contents

Overall they rank in the 26th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Spend the morning with an occupational therapy student

Please note that this number is derived from the data we have collected from our Sokanu members only. This notably low happiness metric among occupational therapists may be at least partially attributable to the considerable physical and emotional demands of the work. Based on our pool of users, Occupational Therapists tend to be predominately social people. This is an expected finding, based on the work that OTs do. They use practical movement and exercise to rehabilitate patients with disabilities or injuries.

They design work or home environments that enable individuals to overcome their challenges and adapt. They help people of all ages, from children to the elderly. Demand Graduates in this field do not face many difficulties in finding a job. The U. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 27 percent job growth for OTs through Salary With high demand comes higher salaries. Occupational therapists are among the most well paid professionals in the U. Work Settings Occupational therapists can choose to work in many different clinical environments, including hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, and home healthcare settings.

Flexibility and Opportunities for Specialization OTs can choose to work on a full-time or a part-time basis. The can also choose to specialize. Among the options are geriatrics, pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, mental health, vison therapy, and hand therapy. Social Aspect By the nature of their work, occupational therapists meet and work very closely with many different people from many different walks of life.

Risk of Infection Sometimes, the work of an OT is messy. There are times when it is necessary to clean urine, vomit, discharge from infected wounds, and blood. Patient Misbehavior Patients facing the challenges of occupational therapy are going to be in bad moods some days. They may take out their distress and exasperation on their therapist. In these circumstances, OTs have to remain calm and realize that these outbursts are the result of frustrations; they are rarely personal.

Long and Irregular Hours Some situations may call for particularly long days. Weekend and holiday shifts are not uncommon. Emotional Toll While occupational therapists can certainly experience emotional highs in witnessing patient progress and recovery, they also must deal with situations in which their patients fail to improve or die. This can be stressful and emotionally draining, especially for OTs who are new to the job.

The path to becoming an occupational therapist involves earning an undergraduate and a graduate degree, obtaining a license, and committing to professional continuing education. It can take five to six years to complete the education required to become an occupational therapist:. OT curricula focus on behavioral neuroscience , biology , physiology , functional anatomy, kinesiology, psychology , occupational therapy research, and the practice of OT in healthcare settings. Often, students can tailor their clinical fieldwork to their specific interests, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or physical disabilities.

Some occupational therapists, such as those employed in hospitals, work as part of a healthcare team along with doctors, registered nurses, and other types of therapists. They may work with patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, or help rehabilitate a patient recovering from a hip replacement surgery.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists also oversee the work of occupational therapy assistants and aides. Not sure how to choose the best career for you? Now, you can predict which career will satisfy you in the long term by taking a scientifically validated career test. Gain the clarity and confidence that comes from understanding your strengths, talents, and preferences, and knowing which path is truly right for you. Take The Test. Occupational therapists held about , jobs in The industries that employed the most occupational therapists in were as follows:.

Therapists spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients. They also may be required to lift and move patients or heavy equipment. Many work in multiple facilities and have to travel from one job to another. Most occupational therapists worked full time in About 1 out of 4 worked part time. Occupational therapists also must be licensed or registered. Many programs also require applicants to have volunteered or worked in an occupational therapy setting.


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Part-time programs that offer courses on nights and weekends are also available. To sit for the NBCOT exam, candidates must have earned a degree from an accredited educational program and completed all fieldwork requirements. They must also take continuing education classes to maintain certification.

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The American Occupational Therapy Association also offers a number of certifications for therapists who want to demonstrate their advanced level of knowledge in a specialty area, such as pediatrics, mental health, or low vision. Occupational therapists typically have an interest in the Thinking and Helping interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework.

The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Helping interest which might fit with a career as a occupational therapist, you can take a career test to measure your interests. Communication skills.

Occupational therapists must be able to listen attentively to what patients tell them and be able to explain what they want their patients to do. Occupational therapists are usually drawn to the profession by a desire to help people and improve the daily lives of others. Occupational therapists must be flexible when treating patients. Interpersonal skills. Because occupational therapists spend their time teaching and explaining therapies to patients, they should be able to earn the trust and respect of their patients. Dealing with injuries, illnesses, and disabilities is frustrating for many people.

Occupational therapists should be patient in order to provide quality care to the people they serve. Writing skills. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. In May , the median annual wages for occupational therapists in the top five industries in which these therapists worked were as follows:.

Occupational Therapists | Job Outlook

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 29 percent from to , much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for occupational therapists is expected to increase as the large baby-boom generation ages and people remain active later in life. Occupational therapists can help senior citizens maintain their independence by recommending home modifications and strategies that make daily activities easier. Therapists also play a large role in the treatment of many conditions and ailments commonly associated with aging, such as arthritis and stroke.


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They will also be needed in a variety of healthcare settings to act as part of a healthcare team in treating patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Patients will continue to seek noninvasive outpatient treatment for long-term disabilities and illnesses, either in their homes or in residential care environments.

In addition, medical advances now enable more patients with critical problems such as birth defects or limb amputations to survive. These patients may need occupational therapy to perform a variety of daily tasks.

New Evaluation Codes

Demand for occupational therapy services will also stem from patients with autism spectrum disorder.