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Occupational Therapy As A Career

Dec 12, 2007
Occupational therapists assist their patients in performing all types of tasks, ranging from using a computer to handling their basic daily needs such as cooking, dressing and eating. Sometimes, an occupational therapist uses computer programs to help the patients to improve their decision-making skills, problem solving and perceptual skills, as well as their memory and coordination skills. The main aim of an occupational therapist is to help the client lead a normal independent life.

Occupational therapists are basically concerned about human occupations, as they believe that people have an inborn drive to be operative and express themselves. They believe that having an occupation highlights a person's sense of identity in a society. Therapists may work exclusively with individuals from different age groups or people suffering from disabilities.

Occupational therapists generally work 40-hours a week in hospitals and other health care centers. Some supervisory roles are taken over by the occupational therapists. Because of high rising health costs, the third party payers are beginning to appoint occupational therapists to take on more responsibilities.

Qualifications

Currently, a bachelor's degree is the minimum qualification required for becoming an occupational therapist, but in the near future a master's degree may be required. To obtain a license, the applicant must posses a degree from an established educational program and pass the National Certification Exam. Some states have additional requirements.

Applicants considering this profession should take high school courses in chemistry, health biology and physics. Undergraduate majors should include psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology and anatomy. Occupational therapists need to have a lot of patience and strong interpersonal skills. They need patience because some patients do not respond quickly. Those working in home health care services need to be able to adjust to a variety of home settings. Applicants who look forward to making this a career choice must be able to work in multiple settings and with people of different age groups.

Job Prospects

In 2006, occupational therapists held about 92,000 jobs and most of them worked in hospitals. Other therapists worked in schools and nursing care facilities. One in ten therapists held more than one job. By 2014, employment opportunities are expected to increase way beyond the average. In the long run, the demand for therapists is going to increase rapidly, as there is growth in the number of individuals suffering from disability caused due to a stressful lifestyle. Hospitals now employ therapists to handle their critical in-patients and also their outpatient rehabilitation programs.

Employment in schools may also increase due to the increase in disabled students. In May 2004, the average earning of an occupational therapist was $54,000-67,010. Occupational therapists are skilled professionals who are capable of empowering individuals who are suffering from depression, stress and anxiety with life.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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