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Physical therapy teaches people how to walk,
and occupational therapy teaches them how to
OSU School of Allied

What is OT?`

therapy (OT)
treatment focuses
on helping people
with a physical,
sensory, or
cognitive disability
be as independent
as possible in all
areas of their

OT Roles
Recent information published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics has

projected that the job outlook for occupational therapists will improve substantially in the next
several years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Specifically, it states that
employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase much faster than the average
for all occupations through 2014, meaning that employment is expected to increase by 27%
or more.
One of the greatest advantages of a career in occupational therapy is the wide variety of
opportunities available to occupational therapy graduates. Many practitioners choose to help
children thrive in the occupations of childhood, which include learning, playing, and growing.
Therapists work in schools with students who have learning disabilities or behavioral
problems. Others work with premature newborns at pediatric hospitals or children with
cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities.
Occupational therapists also work with individuals in their homes, community centers,
rehabilitation hospitals, businesses, and nursing homes. In these settings, occupational
therapists help people with traumatic injuries, stroke, Alzheimers disease, or mental health
problems, learn to live productive lives through the use of meaningful occupations.
Those who join the field today may choose other areas of practice that are increasingly
new specialties
include training
proper ergonomics on the
need patience
and workers to use
job, helping people with low vision maintain their independence, making buildings and homes
strong interpersonal skills to inspire trust and
more accessible, older driver evaluation and training, and promoting health and wellness.

respect in their clients. Patience is necessary

because many clients may not show immediate
improvement. Ingenuity and imagination in
adapting activities to individual needs are

Job Outlook
U.S. News & World Report, January 2014:

Rankingof the Best Health Care Jobs:Occupational Therapist is No. 9and Occupational
Therapy Assistant is No. 13(out of 38)

eHow, January 2014:

In a survey of education program directors,

the overwhelming majority (80%+) of the
318 programs reported that more than 80%
10 Most-Needed Jobs in the Future
of occupational therapy and
TIME, January 2014:
occupational therapy assistant
These Are the 5 Most In-Demand Jobs Right Now
graduates were able to secure jobs
Career Alley, December 2013:
within 6 months of graduation.
5 Hot Careers in Health Care
- AOTA, Workforce Trends in Occupational
CareerCast, December 2013
Data from the 2010 AOTA Occupational
The 12 Best Health Care Jobs of 2013(OT is No. 3)
Therapy Compensation and Workforce Study
indicate a median annual income of
Reuters, December 2013
$64,722 for occupational therapists and
The Best Jobs in Health Care in 2014
$44,000 for occupational therapy assistants.
In addition, the Workforce study indicated
CNN Money, November, 2013:
average entry-level salaries of $52,000
Best Jobs in America(OT is No. 34)
for occupational therapists and $34,298 for
CBS Chicago,February, 2013:10 Jobs with a high starting
occupational therapy assistants.
CNN Money, Jan, 2013:
- AOTA, Workforce Trends in Occupational job with 2% unemployment

Job Outlook

In our area,

estimated $60,000 salary for OT.

It is not uncommon for

occupational therapists to
work for more than one
employer at multiple
facilities, which may involve
significant travel time.


OT Statistics

1. Bachelors
2. Masters

from Accreditation Council for

Occupational Therapy
Education - Accredited

People considering this

profession should take high
school courses in biology,
chemistry, physics, health, art,
and the social sciences.

3. Pass Exam
National Board for Certification
in Occupational Therapy

4. Supervised Fieldwork
minimum of 24 weeks

5. Doctorate?
not required at this time

The hours can be erratic, as occupational

therapists often need to accommodate their
patients schedules. The work can be physically
tiring, as occupational therapists are on their feet
for a significant portion of the day and, at times,
may have to lift clients and equipment. It can be
emotionally exerting as well, since patients might
become discouraged about their progress.
However, Rafeedie writes
- that occupational
therapy is a very satisfying
and rewarding
OccupationalTherapy, paramedical treatment involving purposeful planned activity administered by anoccupationaltherapist under the direction of a physician. It
promotes the recovery of persons who are stricken with mental illness or physical disability, sometimes following accidents. Originally regarded as a way of filling the time
of convalescent patients, it has now become a program of work activities specifically selected for its physical, mental, emotional, and vocational value.

The therapists work is based on the physicians statement of the patients diagnosis, prognosis, personality, and physical and emotional limitations, as well as the
objectives sought. Often, the therapist engages in a form of vocational rehabilitation (seerehabilitation, vocational,) in choosing activities that will teach new basic skills of
daily living to those who never acquired them or who have lost them, as in the case of amputees or those otherwise recently crippled. Additionally, in dealing with patients
who have never been employed, who have held jobs requiring no skills, or who must change their type of work because of their acquired disability, the therapist may also
engage in prevocational testing and guidance.

The trained therapist is versed in such activities as gardening, weaving, hand industries, music, various types of recreation and education, creative handicrafts such as clay
modeling and leather tooling, and manual arts. After determining the patients willingness to involve him- or herself in a given field, the therapist will employ one or more of
these activities to create the desired result in a variety of ways. Whether dealing with the physically or emotionally ill, the chronic patient, normal adults, the aged, or
children, the therapist works in two areas: the functional and the psychological.

Functional Therapy Theoccupationaltherapist assesses the patients behavior from the point of view of capacities and assets as well as of dysfunctions and disabilities.
Functional therapyfocuses on the functions and dysfunctions of the motor and nervous systems, and on how planned activity can best help to develop or reestablish
sensorimotor and perceptual abilities. This is especially true when physical disability limits a persons activities in terms of daily care, leisure activity, and working. A
program ofoccupationaltherapyis individualized to maximize developing and reestablishing nervous or muscular coordination, extending the motion of joints, and
strengthening muscles within the limits of the patients physical tolerance. Functionaltherapymust also take into account the persons motivation to use activities in a
therapeutic manner.

Psychological Therapy Whether the disability stems from physical handicap or mental illness, psychological rehabilitation of the patient is
important.Occupationaltherapyfocuses on the use of planned, purposeful activities to provide graded successes to the patient that will be helpful in overcoming lack of
self-confidence, low self-esteem, difficulty coping with stress, and depression.Occupationaltherapyfocuses on balancing work, play, and rest, on maximizing
independent function, and on seeing the patient as a functioning individual and not as one with a handicap.
Copyright 2014 World Almanac Education Group, Inc.Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopediaand text may not be copied without their express written permission

Other Descriptions

Day in the Life

If you plan on becoming an occupational therapist it helps to know what an average day will look like. Although no two
days are the same, most occupational therapistscan count on the work week falling into a similar pattern after working for
a while at a rehabilitation center or similar facility.
Lets look at what a day in the life of an occupational therapist is so you can become familiar with what it is like to work as
an OT.
Getting to Know You
Occupational therapistsoften start the day as early as 6:00 a.m. An OT has to rise with their patients. Part of an OTs job
is helping a patient become accustomed to daily living activities. If a patient suffered atraumatic brain injuryor physical
injury, an occupational therapist may work with them to help them learn to wake up, get out of bed, get dressed, brush
their teeth and get dressed. It is little things like this that are of major importance to occupational therapists. An
occupational therapist may evaluate a patient that she sees in the office. This may include evaluating a patient at bedside
as well. This may include lower extremity function, vision, memory, problem-solving ability and other cognitive processing
abilities or deficits. The OT may see six to eight patients in a day.
An OT will always need to review their schedule and catch up with each of the patients they plan to meet with daily. As
part of her daily duties an OT will make sure she is ready to discuss any pertinent issues and plan what tools may be
needed to work with a patient that day. An OT may have paperwork she needs to review with a patient including
insurance formsa patient needs to fill out.
Patient Care
Patient care occupies much of the day for a busy occupational therapist. Before an OT works with patients she may spend
time examining the schedule to make sure everything is ready to work with patients. An OT will also inspect the therapy or
rehabilitation area to make sure it is clean and ready to work in. Some OTs work from a clients home. In this case an OT
may have to prepare to travel to the patients home. Some OTs will also have to attend lectures during a day, or spend
time educating patients and family members about a patients condition. Still others will spend time in the community
teaching others about occupational therapy and about early intervention programs related to occupational therapy. An
occupational therapist may also spend time coordinating care with other therapists, includingphysical therapistsand
speech-language pathologists.
Administrative Duties
All occupational therapists also have administrative duties they must tend to during the day. An OT may need to make
phone calls, check emails or return messages. There may be other tasks that need to be handled during the day, which
may include business meetings or staff meetings. If an OT has her own business she may need to spend time checking in
on staff, managing staff or attending to staff needs. Often interruptions occur during the day. These may include missed
appointments, cancelled appointments, or appointments that run longer than expected, which can disrupt the schedule.
All in all most occupational therapists enjoy very busy, but also very rewarding days.

My Experiences


Great Resources