Occupational Therapist - How to Become an Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist


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Job Description

 

The goal of an occupational therapist is to help people, regardless of age, to engage fully in their daily lives.

Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people to help them function to the best of their ability, from work to recreational activities to the everyday tasks like getting dressed, cooking, eating and driving. It is a career that is in high demand with a bright outlook for employment.

By 2022, employment opportunities for occupational therapists are projected to increase by 29 percent. This is above the average growth for all occupations.

There are multiple choices for specialization if you train as an occupational therapist. You can specialize to work with premature babies in a pediatric hospital setting, or focus on working with children with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.

These practitioners focus on helping children succeed in the occupation of childhood, which includes learning, playing and growing. OTs work with students in schools who have behavioral problems or learning disabilities.

If working with children is not appealing to you, occupational therapists also work with elderly patients in their homes or in nursing home settings.

OTs are an important component of a health care team focused on helping elderly patients recover from strokes or cope with Alzheimer’s disease.

OTs also work with accident victims to help them regain lost skills, or an OT can choose to assist people with mental illness.

Occupational therapy is moving into new specialty areas, as well. OTs are helping to train workers to use the proper ergonomics in their jobs.

They are also helping people with low vision maintain their independence. They work with clients to make their buildings and homes more accessible, and evaluate and train older drivers.

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Responsibilities

 

Occupational therapy practitioners may perform a comprehensive evaluation of the client’s home and other important environments, such as the workplace or school.

OTs make recommendations for adaptive equipment and train the client in its use. They provide guidance and education for family members and caregivers.

OTs approach their clients from a holistic perspective in which they focus on adapting the environment to fit the condition of the client. OTs make the client a valuable part of the therapy team.

Occupational therapy services may typically include:

  • Promoting general health and wellness

  • Providing an individualized evaluation, working with the client and family to determine the client’s goals

  • Designing customized interventions to increase the client’s ability to carry out the activities of daily living and reach the goals they set

  • Providing an outcomes evaluation to monitor progress and ensure that goals are being met. Changes will be made to the intervention plan as needed.

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Skills

 

Physical Endurance

Must be able to be physical for many hours to help their patients as needed. They must be able to bend, twist, lift, crouch, kneel, push/pull, and the agility to move quickly and ensure patient safety.

Record Keeping

Must be able to collect and integrate patient histories to solve problems and develop treatments.

Emotional Stability

Must be able to handle the emotional stress of working with impaired patients in need of compassionate health care.

Multitasking

The ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously. 

Interpersonal

Must be able to interact with patients and their families regardless of background.

Reasoning

Must be able to apply facts and principles to issues to determine conclusions and solve problems. They must use knowledge and logic to find patters in injuries and determine causes and provide solutions.

Communication

Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas to gauge patient's issues and convey to them the best path to treatment.

Empathy

Must be compassionate and able to empathize with a patient's pain and other difficulties. They are able to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves and let people know they care.

Patience

They must understand it takes time to see results and be willing to put in that time. They also must help their clients have patience--especially if they are trying to overcome a difficult injury.

Problem Solving

Must be able to use knowledge to gauge issues and determine the best route to recovery.

Dexterity

Must work well with your hands and be nimble.

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Working Conditions

 

Occupational therapists usually work a 40-hour week. Many of those hours are spent on their feet while working with patients.

OTs who work in schools may be required to stay after school at times for meetings or other activities. Part-time work is the choice for more than 30 percent of OTs.

Potential employment opportunities for occupational therapists can be found in the following areas:

  • Hospitals

  • Private occupational therapy practices

  • Public and private schools

  • Physicians’ offices

  • Nursing homes

  • Home health services

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Rehabilitation centers

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
11.14.2019
Occupational Therapist Posted: November 14, 2019 Category: Allied Health & Technicians The licensed staff Occupational Therapist is to provide occupational therapy services to patients in the acute care, sub-acute/skilled care, long...
12.02.2019
Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM is a Life Point Acute Care Hospital nestled in the beautiful Land of Enchantment. Las Cruces offers a multitude of outdoor adventures, unique culinary experiences, vibrant heritage and culture, top-rated...
12.09.2019
The Occupational Therapist evaluates and treats all patients referred for Occupational Therapy.
12.09.2019
Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
12.09.2019
Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
11.15.2019
At Franciscan Children's, New England's largest Pediatric Rehab Facility, each child is a small reminder of just how fulfilling your career can be. Our Occupational Therapy department evaluates and treats children through rehabilitation programs,...
07.11.2019
Jefferson County Health Center is seeking a staff licensed occupational therapist to evaluate, examine, treat, monitor, and provide ongoing assessment of patients/clients; perform all necessary paperwork/reports; plan and develop new programs;...
12.09.2019
Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
05.07.2019
Provides occupational therapy services to patients at all age levels in their places of residence in accordance with a physician's or podiatrist's written order. Provide supervision of the certified occupational therapist assistant. Education...
03.20.2018
Provides occupational therapy services to patients at all age levels in their places of residence in accordance with a physician's or podiatrist's written order. Provide supervision of the certified occupational therapist assistant. Education...
11.29.2019
Description Organizes and conducts Occupational Therapy program to facilitate the rehabilitation of people with physical and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Occupational Therapist directs the patient’s participation in selected...
11.12.2019
Description Organizes and conducts Occupational Therapy program to facilitate the rehabilitation of people with physical and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Occupational Therapist directs the patient’s participation in selected...
12.09.2019
Degree Required Education: Minimum Associate's degree in occupational therapy from an accredited institution offering training in this specialty, plus a supervised clinical internship to prepare for professional licensing. Must complete...
12.09.2019
Degree Required Education: B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution, with fulfillment of required clinical affiliations. Successful completion of national registration examination with scores required to obtain...
12.09.2019
Degree Required Education: B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution, with fulfillment of required clinical affiliations. Successful completion of national registration examination with scores required to obtain...
  1. Occupational Therapist Crisfield, MD McCready Health
    Occupational Therapist Posted: November 14, 2019 Category: Allied Health & Technicians The licensed staff Occupational Therapist is to provide occupational therapy services to patients in the acute care, sub-acute/skilled care, long...
  2. Occupational Therapist - Occupational Therapy Las Cruces, NM Memorial Medical Center
    Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM is a Life Point Acute Care Hospital nestled in the beautiful Land of Enchantment. Las Cruces offers a multitude of outdoor adventures, unique culinary experiences, vibrant heritage and culture, top-rated...
  3. Occupational Therapist Lake Charles, LA Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
    The Occupational Therapist evaluates and treats all patients referred for Occupational Therapy.
  4. Occupational Therapist Bowling Green, KY Med Center Health
    Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
  5. Occupational Therapist Bowling Green, KY Med Center Health
    Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
  6. Occupational Therapist Brighton, MA Franciscan Hospital for Children
    At Franciscan Children's, New England's largest Pediatric Rehab Facility, each child is a small reminder of just how fulfilling your career can be. Our Occupational Therapy department evaluates and treats children through rehabilitation programs,...
  7. Occupational Therapist Fairfield, IA Jefferson County Health Center
    Jefferson County Health Center is seeking a staff licensed occupational therapist to evaluate, examine, treat, monitor, and provide ongoing assessment of patients/clients; perform all necessary paperwork/reports; plan and develop new programs;...
  8. Occupational Therapist PRD Bowling Green, KY Med Center Health
    Plan, organizes, and conducts occupational therapy programs in a variety of sensorimotor, educational, recreational, and social activities designed to help patients regain physical or mental functioning or adjust to their handicaps. Teaches...
  9. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, HOME HEALTH Corinth, MS Magnolia Regional Health Center
    Provides occupational therapy services to patients at all age levels in their places of residence in accordance with a physician's or podiatrist's written order. Provide supervision of the certified occupational therapist assistant. Education...
  10. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, HOME HEALTH Corinth, MS Magnolia Regional Health Center
    Provides occupational therapy services to patients at all age levels in their places of residence in accordance with a physician's or podiatrist's written order. Provide supervision of the certified occupational therapist assistant. Education...
  11. PRN Occupational Therapist Bedford Shaker Heights, OH University Hospitals
    Description Organizes and conducts Occupational Therapy program to facilitate the rehabilitation of people with physical and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Occupational Therapist directs the patient’s participation in selected...
  12. Occupational Therapist Outpatient CMC Shaker Heights, OH University Hospitals
    Description Organizes and conducts Occupational Therapy program to facilitate the rehabilitation of people with physical and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Occupational Therapist directs the patient’s participation in selected...
  13. Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA) Searcy, AR Unity Health
    Degree Required Education: Minimum Associate's degree in occupational therapy from an accredited institution offering training in this specialty, plus a supervised clinical internship to prepare for professional licensing. Must complete...
  14. Occupational Therapist (OT) Searcy, AR Unity Health
    Degree Required Education: B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution, with fulfillment of required clinical affiliations. Successful completion of national registration examination with scores required to obtain...
  15. Occupational Therapist (OT) Searcy, AR Unity Health
    Degree Required Education: B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution, with fulfillment of required clinical affiliations. Successful completion of national registration examination with scores required to obtain...