Pursuing A Career In Occupational Therapy

A Basic Overview

Occupational therapy (OT) is the 9th least stressful job in the U. S. A. According to a recent "U.S. News and World Report." Occupational therapists work with disabled people to help them be more independent in daily life. Disabilities can be due to stroke or other medical condition, as well as congenital.

Patience and superior interpersonal skills are essential qualities of an occupational therapist. Many times clients will balk at doing therapy exercises at home (or even during therapy). They may become frustrated and angry that recovery is not coming as fast as they had hoped. This is where the OT must listen to and encourage the patient along the road to recovery.

Necessary Education

To work as an OT, an individual must have completed an accredited master's program including a minimum of 24 hours of field work. After coursework is completed, the national licensing exam must be taken by all OTs wanting to practice. Successfully passing the exam gives the OT the right to add "Occupational Therapist Registered" or OTR after his or her name and signals to future employers and patients that the occupational therapist understands and is able to apply knowledge to the people requiring therapy.

Bachelor's degrees are usually held in the sciences, liberal arts or social sciences, such as anthropology or psychology. Master's degree classes include behavioral science, physical and life science, along with learning the application of the skills being learned.

At the present moment, there are no too many occupational therapy programs at the master's level and even fewer at the doctoral level. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has approved just 150 masters and combined bachelor/master's degree programs and only four doctoral programs...

The top OT programs in the United States, according to "US News and World Report" are, from one to five: Boston College - Sargent, Washington University - St. Louis, USC University of Illinois - Chicago, Tufts - Boston, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Predicted Job Growth 2008-2018

Ranked in the top 50 best careers of 2010 by "U.S. News and World Report, " occupational therapy as a field is projected to grow much faster than average.

A significant increase in job growth, 26%, is projected between 2008-2018. Just 105,000 OTs were working in 2008. In 2018, 131,300 OTs are expected to be working.

Average Earnings

The predominant location for occupational therapists to work is in hospitals. Other settings include schools, home health care services, self-employed in private practice, nursing homes and mental health/addiction facilities.

The median salary in 2008 for an OT was $67,780 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top paid OTs made over $98,000 and the most poorly paid OTs made less than $42,000 a year.

Home health care services pays therapists well with a median salary of $74,510 every year. Nursing homes pay OTs less well at $72,790. School districts pay occupational therapist even less at $60,020 a year. In the future the occupational therapy positions that will be most abundant and will likely pay the best are jobs working with the elderly.

With the ever-increasing focus on health and medicine, occupational therapy jobs and nurse practitioner jobs are available around the world for qualified professionals.

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