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What is Occupational Therapy?

Discover how to become an Occupational Therapist...

When one hears the term “Occupational Therapist”, it's often in association with someone who helps individuals deal with the stress of the employment world. While this is indeed a real part of their duties, it is only the beginning of an exciting and rewarding field. Beyond the corporate grind, they spend much of their time training individuals in the skills needed to enrich their existence. According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, occupational therapy is a sector of health care that focuses on the promotion of one's health and overall well being. In essence, these dedicated men and women spend their time enriching the lives of their patients, making it easier for them to perform the tasks necessary for every life. Whether it be gardening, working in a factory, or simply dressing and preparing for the day, Occupational Therapists are committed to bettering the lives of all those who fall under their umbrella.

Common undergraduate degree pathways include a Psychology degree or a Human Services degree

Occupational Therapy Job Description

The day to day life of an Occupational Therapist can vary quite a bit, depending on their particular client list. Much of their time can be spent meeting with employers and their workers, discussing potential tools, activities, and other measures which can increase the comfort and productivity of a workplace. But not all “Occupation” is necessarily defined as employment, but rather as the simple process of being occupied. For an elderly grandmother with limited mobility, this may mean the ability to cook dinner or perform low-impact exercises. For a young man with developmental disabilities, it could be as simple as finding a creative outlet, such as painting or molding clay. Indeed, there are a myriad of applications for this particular brand of therapy.

Education and Training for OT's

Colleges all across the nation (and the world, as well) are now offering several levels of training in the field of Occupational Therapy. From Bachelor's to Master's to the coveted Doctorate, all of these are available to students seeking to make a difference in the lives of others. Many of these programs require a high amount of study in the fields of psychology, sociology, anatomy, and human development. It's important that prospective Occupational Therapists have a strong interest in most, if not all, of these areas. It's important select an accredited college program, which will yield the best employment outlook after graduation. Once armed with a degree, graduates will need to pass the test of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). This can be accomplished through their website, http://www.nbcot.org.

OT Salary and Job Prospects

One of the primary allures of this field is its versatility. Occupational Therapists can find jobs in many different areas and institutions. These range from large corporations and hospitals to correctional institutions, mental health facilities, and residences for the elderly or developmentally disabled. Due to this far-reaching base, there will always be jobs available for graduates. Today's Occupational Therapists are remarkably well paid for their services. According to a survey undertaken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009 (in the height of a national depression), the average member of this nearly 100,000-strong occupation earned an average of $70,680 per year, with an hourly wage of just under $34. Those with a few years of seasoning can expect to see a large upswing in wages, with more than $48 per hour earning upwards of $100,000 each year. Rookies in the field will enjoy high compensation as well. According to this same report, early entrants can expect to draw as much as $27.51 each hour, which works out to $57,230 annually.

To learn more about this growing career and it's specific education and training requirements, request information from occupational therapy schools.