Occupational Therapist Career Guide

Overview and Job Duties

If you are interested in building a career as a healthcare professional, you should keep in mind that your primary concern is to serve the needs of your patients, and not to build fame and money. In this career, there is a need for accuracy in analysis and intervention, considering the fact that the welfare of your patients lies in your hand. This is the perfect career if you have the inherent passion in helping other people to solve the healthcare issues that they are experiencing. One of the healthcare fields that you could pursue is in the area of occupational therapy, wherein you will look after patients in distress and those who cannot figure out their own problems.

The career for professional therapists is currently undergoing an unprecedented growth. In this career, you will need to treat disabilities, injuries, and illnesses through the use of therapeutic processes. You need to provide attention to your patients to make it possible to help them improve, develop, and recover from their conditions. In order to gain better employment opportunities in this field, there is a need to pursue advanced education. You will need to obtain a license in order to start helping patients to improve their performance in their everyday lives.

Career Outlook

As an occupational therapist, you can work in educational settings and help disabled children. You can also work in mental health institutions, at which you will be responsible for treating patients who are experiencing emotional trauma, developmental disabilities, and mental illnesses. Your job will require you to help patients to recover from depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, and other health-related disorders. The things that you will do in your job will depend on the state regulation and the policies of each employer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are at least 103,570 people employed in this field in 2011.

Salary Trends

The annual median salary for these professionals in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $73,820.

Educational Requirements

Formal education is needed to be engaged in a career in occupational therapy. Employers are seeking for professionals with relevant degrees in this field, which makes it more important for you to pursue formal education. You should need to have a master’s degree, which can only be taken once you have already completed bachelor’s education. The undergraduate degree can be in any related field, such as liberal arts, science, and social science, among others. On the graduate programs, however, you will need to gain approval from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

More so, National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) approves the certification exam on national level. While the most common route towards gaining formal education in this field is through an in-campus study, there is a better alternative, especially for those people who do not have the luxury of time. It is possible to be educated as well through taking an online degree in a related field.

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