In its simplest terms, occupational therapists help injured or disabled people of all ages fully participate in their everyday lives. They work with patients in order to develop, recover or improve on skills that are needed for daily life. Common duties of occupational therapists include working with children with disabilities to help them develop the skills to fully participate in school and social settings or helping a patient who is recovering from an injury regain their skills. Occupational therapy is a much-need career with a bright employment outlook.
Within the occupational therapy field, there are different kinds of practice available to specialize in. Many OT choose to work with children to help them thrive in their “occupations” or daily activities. Therapist can work with premature babies at pediatric hospitals or in schools with students who have learning disabilities or behavioral problems. Practitioners can specialize in working with older people to help them recover from or deal with physical or cognitive changes. Other specialization areas for occupational therapy include: hand therapy, vision rehabilitation and driver rehabilitation.
To pursue a career in occupational therapy, one must earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Many occupational therapists begin by achieving a bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology, sociology or anatomy. In order to practice in the United States, occupational therapists must be licensed. In order to obtain a license, one must graduate from an accredited program and passing a certification exam, which is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of occupational therapists is projected to increase 29% through 2020, which is a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. In addition, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics placed occupation therapist near the top of the list of the fastest growing careers that require a master’s degree.
A career in occupational therapy is a great path for one who possesses strong communications skills. Strong interpersonal communication skills are essential for occupational therapists in order to establish good relationships with clients. An OT must also be compassionate, patient and a good listener.
If you are currently looking for a per diem, contract or temp-to-hire occupational therapist position, search our available jobs, apply online or call us at 800-879-4471 to speak with one of our experienced Therapy Staffing Specialists.