Occupational Therapist Jobs
Occupational therapists work on an individual basis with patients suffering from injuries or disabilities that affect their ability to perform daily tasks. These injuries or disabilities often vary and can include mental, physical or developmental problems.
Occupational therapists lead patients through activities and tasks designed to improve their motor skills in areas where they have lost some of their abilities and functions. In addition, for individuals who have permanently lost certain motor functions or the ability to perform certain tasks, an occupational therapists works with them to develop techniques and methods for compensating for the loss. For example, an individual who has lost an arm may work with an occupational therapist to learn to pick up and grasp large objects using other body parts or certain materials.
Education: In the past, occupational therapists were only required to have a bachelor's degree.
This however, has changed recently, and any new occupational therapists are required to have a master's degree before providing therapy. Upon completion of their degree, occupational therapists must pass a national exam in order to become licensed.
Where They Work: Occupational therapists can work in a number of different healthcare settings. The largest number of jobs for occupational therapists though are found in hospitals providing therapy to individuals receiving injuries limiting certain functions. In addition to hospitals, occupational therapists are also employed in outpatient rehabilitation centers, doctor offices, home health care services, and nursing care facilities.
Average Pay: The average pay for occupational therapists is $51,00 a year, although it can range from $35,000 to over $75,000.
Job Outlook: The job outlook for occupational therapists is good, as the demand for them continues to grow. An elderly population with an increasing loss of motor skills is creating much of the demand for occupational therapists, and as the baby boomers generation reaches this age demand is expected to grow even more. In addition, advances in medicine are allowing more and more critically injured patients to survive, which is also increasing the demand for individuals in this profession.
Work Environment: Most occupational therapists work a regular, 40-hour week.