Occupational Therapist

Pros


  • You will be helping people who have medical issues live more independently.
  • This is a good career for someone who is able to think imaginatively and is able to adapt to situations.
  • There are excellent job opportunities for occupational therapists.

Cons

  • You will spend a lot time on your feet working with patients.
  • Entering into this field requires a lot of education and one will need at least a master’s degree to find work with this job title.
  • A lot of patience is needed working with people in this job, as it will take time to see results. You will need to remind your patients of this on a regular basis.

Overview

An occupational therapist is someone who helps people to better perform tasks in both their living and working environments. Many of the people that occupational therapists work with are suffering from a disabling condition that limits them from doing many things, sometimes very basic tasks that would allow them to live independently. They may suffer from an emotional, mental or physical condition. An occupational therapist uses a variety of methods to increase a patient’s motor skills or reasoning capabilities that have been lost.

Treatment options for patients of occupational therapists are usually both physical as well as mental. Many times, occupational therapists will use regular physical exercise to increase strength and flexibility in their patients. They will use special treatments to improve visual recognition and create patterns to make activities easier. These treatments can be taught by repetition and reinforced by using special computer programs that work to improve a patient’s decision making and reasoning abilities.

There are a wide variety of workplaces one would find occupational therapists. Many of them work in large rehabilitation centers. They can be found in nursing facilities assisting the elderly as well as in schools working with young children. Some of them can be found in a corporate setting, teaching workers of occupational hazards and the best way to prevent injury. Some of them start their own businesses, creating instructional materials such as DVDs to sell to large organizations, for example.

Education

To become an occupational therapist, one must excel in their educational studies, especially in the sciences since the bulk of any college program for this career will be classes relating to these subjects. A master’s degree is required in this field, and many programs for occupational therapists will combine their bachelor’s and master’s programs into a concurrent curriculum. Since all states regulate the filed of occupational therapy, students must pass an examination before they are licensed in their profession.

Job Prospects

The career outlook for occupational therapy is very good. Most people who suffer from a problem that limits their ability to do basic tasks can expect their doctors to recommend a program that involves therapy to help rehabilitate them, and this demand is something that workers in this field will benefit from. Along with that trend is the fact that the population is aging and requires health personnel that are able to provide them with expertise on how to best handle daily tasks as many of them feel they are beginning to lose their independence.

Advancement Opportunities

The prospects for advancement depend on an occupational therapist’s interests. There are a small amount who decide to start their own practice, however the capital required to invest in equipment to open a clinic is large. Many will find that they enjoy working with children, the elderly or some other special subset of society. Others will find that they enjoy managing other occupational therapists, and can grow into a position of high responsibility from that particular path.