Is occupational therapist the right career for me?

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Mental and Physical health are the prime concern of everybody right? With this matter, occupational therapist career brings about healthier change in the world by training the therapists. Everybody who opts for the occupational therapy degree aims at encouraging a better lifestyle. With this purpose, in our article, we have included all the career paths and opportunities that can change your life and be paid a good amount of salary at the same time.

Before we talk about the opportunities, I would want you to be aware of the concept of occupational therapy so you will know what is it exactly.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a process of treating people with physical and mental illness. It provides rehabilitation to people who are unable to perform activities on daily basis due to illnesses.

Occupational therapists treat people with injuries and illnesses to help them perform daily basis activities. They study their illness and then help them recover through their therapeutic use of everyday life.

They work as a leader in the occupational therapy department. There are three careers that go with occupational therapist career – Occupational therapist, Occupational therapy assistant, and occupational therapy aid.

They examine patients’ illnesses, conditions, and injuries. After studying the patient they create recovery plans.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA, job outlook for occupational therapists is 18% for the period 2018-2028 which is much faster than the average.

Under the occupational therapist career, they perform a lot of activities as their work of responsibility. They tend to change the patient’s environment to recover fast. They suggest certain changes in their daily routine at home and at the workplace as well, so they can work easily and make movements.

However, for occupational therapist career one must hold a doctor’s degree in the occupational therapy program. A master’s degree can work too. The other things is that a bachelor’s degree is also a requirement.

Occupational Therapist Duties

  • Review patients: Occupational therapists review patients’ injuries. They examine their conditions. Create a recovery plan which needs to be followed strictly. They keep track of their progress continuously. If required they make changes to their daily routine and call them upon for follow-ups.
  • Help patient in performing activities: They help patients in their daily life problems. Occupational therapists perform various tasks to help the patient do activities. They also at times teach patients how to do what in order to guide them in performing activities.
  • Develop plans: they create plans for patients as per their needs and requirements. The plans are made by keeping in mind activities and tasks that would help the patient recover fast. They create schedule and time periods in the plan. And these plans have specific goals to be met at the end of the therapy session.
  • Plan exercises: occupational therapists demonstrate exercises for the patient as per their requirements. These exercises help patients with making movements like stretching, remembering, making movements, etc.
  • Instructions: Occupational therapists instruct patients on the use of certain equipments. They also suggest using a wheelchair and eating aids.

Occupational therapists not only work with adults but with children as well. They work with children in an educational setting and instruct them on using educational equipment for their betterment. These children are with special needs that require special treatment. Occupational therapists help disabled children in performing daily tasks.

Educational Requirement to Become Occupational Therapist:

  • Occupational therapists job require a master’s degree or a doctorate’s degree in the occupational therapy program.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required for graduate program
  • One must have experience with occupational work setting.

Occupational Therapist Salary:

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States, the median salary of an occupational therapist is $84,270 per year or $40.51 per hour (2018). 

Skills Required:

  • Occupational therapists need to be adjustable to all kind of patients.
  • They need to be good listeners and good at communicating with patients to create healthy relationships with them.
  • Sometimes the process takes time to complete and patients may take longer to recover, in such cases occupational therapists need to be patient.

Occupational Therapist Career Path

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Occupational therapy assistants’ job includes less work than that of the occupational therapist. Occupational therapy comes under the highest paying jobs that require only associate’s degrees.

They work under the supervision of occupational therapists. They ensure the patient’s activity and the plan followed correctly.

Occupational therapy assistants in collaboration with the occupational therapist help patients in their day-to-day life. They create plans keeping in mind the requirement of the patient and ensure their fast recovery. They teach the use of equipment and the best measures to follow the plan efficiently.

These people keep track of the activities performed by the patient and ensure they are doing it correctly. Occupational therapy assistants report to the occupational therapist about the patient’s progress.

Duties performed by an occupational therapy assistant:

  • Help patients: Occupational therapy assistants help the patient perform activities. They help them with stretches and exercises.
  • Help children: They help children with disabilities in performing activities. The occupational therapy assistants help them socialize and stand as support. They report the progress to the occupational therapist.
  • Motivates: occupational therapy assistants motivate patients in order to complete tasks and wisely.
  • Records activities: Occupational therapy assistants record all the activities, keep a track of their plans and report it to the occupational therapist.

Educational requirements:

Occupational therapy assistants require an associate’s degree from an accredited program. These programs require about two years of completion.

Salary insights:

According to PayScale, occupational therapy assistants generally earn $45,208 to $63,000 annually.

 Skills required:

  • An occupational therapy assistants need to be flexible as every patient’s requirement is different
  • They need to be good communicators in order to give clear instructions and help patients.
  • They need to be good listeners as well. Their main job is to interact with patients, and so they need to be heard exactly as they want in order to create the best plans for them.

Occupational Therapy Aide:

Occupational therapy aides are the lowest paid in the occupational therapy career. These people help occupational therapists and assistants in the therapy procedures. They prepare material and equipment for the occupational therapists and the occupational therapy assistants.

Occupational therapy aides help patients in their recovery process. They also help them get into the treatment room and get out of the treatment room.

Occupational therapy aides do not directly treat the patients like the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistants do. These people are of the support to the occupational therapy team.

According to 2014 reports, there were 9,000 people employed under occupational therapy aide.

What are the duties performed by the occupational therapy aide?

  • Prepare the procedure: The occupational therapy aides prepare the treatment area of the patient to help the occupational therapists and assistants in providing therapy to the patients. The treatment area and equipment are prepared as per the requirement of the therapy process.
  • Maintenance: They keep the area and environment clean. Then ensure the safety as well of the patients.
  • Support the staff: An occupational therapy aide supports the stuff with their work. They also inform the department of the ordering needs. Moreover, they manage meetings, calls, and appointments as well on behalf of the occupational therapists and assistants.

Educational requirements:

  • A high school diploma is the requirement. However, the team provides the job training required and there you become an occupational therapy aide.

 Salary insights:

According to, the median salary of an occupational therapy aide is $28,877 per year.

What to do next?

We all are the victims of problems in our lives. And who goes through it understands the other person going through it. Similarly, the most important thing to remember before you decide on becoming an occupational therapist is to imbibe the quality of empathy than sympathy, and you will all be set to become a great occupational therapist.

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