Occupational therapists provide therapeutic treatment to patients with injuries, illnesses, or physical disabilities. They help patients to recover, develop, and improve the physical skills necessary for daily living. Occupational therapists teach patients how to utilize adaptive equipment including wheelchairs, leg braces, and eating aids. Some general job responsibilities of occupational therapists include:
- Evaluating a patient's disabilities to determine a course of therapy
- Assisting patients with disabilities with daily tasks and recreational activities
- Providing intervention therapy to infants and toddlers with developmental delays
- Recommending changes to home or workplace that can accommodate a patient's health needs
Occupational therapists will be in even greater demand as the nation's large baby-boom population ages. The BLS reports that employment of occupational therapists is expected to grow 33% from 2010 to 2020. Job opportunities will increase especially for therapists experienced in working with senior citizens in short-term or acute care facilities as well as patients with Alzheimer's disease, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson's disease.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists must hold a master's degree in occupational therapy and be licensed. Most occupational therapy programs require a bachelor's degree with specific coursework and previous experience volunteering or working in an occupational therapy setting. Some schools offer dual bachelor's and master's degree programs that can be completed in five years.
Most master's programs in occupational therapy require students complete a period of supervised fieldwork. Some schools offer 100% online master's degree programs in occupational therapy to practicing occupational therapists, including occupational therapists certified at the baccalaureate level. sampling of classes you may take in a occupational therapy program, drawn from course listings for Howard University's master's of science in occupational therapy program, include the following:
- Musculoskeletal Anatomy
- Clinical Kinesiology
- Human Performance and Movement Analysis
- Interventions in Physical Dysfunctions
Occupational therapists must be certified and state-licensed. To become licensed, they must earn an accredited degree and pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) exam. They also need to take continuing education classes to remain certified.