You know about doctors and nurses as the common professionals you see in a hospital. There is another field that you should be aware about and that is occupational therapy. An occupational therapist is someone who aids a patient or a client to perform daily tasks that are necessary for normal living and functioning. This may be as simple as combing your hair, tying your shoelaces, or taking a bath. These people need the support of an occupational therapist due to an ailment that has debilitated their motor functions or due to an inborn condition. Some examples are patients who suffered a stroke or a paralysis.
In order to walk again or have control of their limbs, they have to undergo a physical rehabilitation and an occupational therapist is the expert on such field. Another case is for children who suffer a slow development. To be able to function well at home and in school, they need to be trained on simple tasks, such as writing or changing their clothes. An occupational therapist can also take charge of that training.
According to studies, the need for occupational therapists has showed an upward trend in recent years and it is expected to continue for the next decades. For this, more students are aiming to be a licensed therapist because of the wide opportunities that await them, not to mention that an occupational therapist can earn an average of $70,000 a year.
Occupational therapy is a master’s program. This means that you will have to graduate from a bachelor’s degree first before you are admitted. Required degrees may include biology, medical technology, psychology, nursing and other premedical courses. Each school may have different requirements regarding prerequisite subjects or courses, so you should consult first with the university where you are planning to apply. Most common prerequisites are sociology, psychology, human anatomy, physiology, and some mathematics subjects. A university may also require you to have a minimum grade on these subjects to qualify.
Once you are admitted, the masters program will take 3 years to finish. Expect more subjects on human anatomy, neuroscience, kinesiology, principles of occupational therapy, and other courses dealing with the evaluation and intervention on specific age groups or causes of disability. Your final year will be spent mostly on your thesis and on internship in different settings.
Upon graduation, you will need to take a national licensure exam to become a registered occupational therapist. It does not end there, though. To be able to practice your profession, you also need to get a license from the state, as it is a requirement. An occupational therapist can work in a hospital, a rehabilitation center, a clinic, in schools, in nursing homes, or he can open up a private practice.
Traits That You Should Possess
Being an occupational therapist does not depend solely on having a diploma, the passing grades, or the license. You must also possess traits and personalities that can help you become an effective therapist. Patience is first on the list since you will have to work long hours, weeks, or months to see progress in your patients. You must enjoy dealing with people and you should be flexible to meet different situations. Furthermore, you need to continually learn new methods in handling different therapy programs and infuse it with creativity for better results.
This interesting guest blog post was provided by Jessica from healthschoolguide.net. If you are interested in working as an occupational therapist you can visit her site to find a list of accredited programs offered by campus and online based colleges in US.
Originally posted 2013-01-31 10:37:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter