Occupational therapists are important healthcare professionals today. They have the ability to treat patients who have mental, physical and emotional disorders. The goal of their treatment programs is to help patients gain their independence particularly with daily tasks. This will improve their quality of life and at the same time, make them more confident about themselves. Occupational therapy also helps patients in the most important transitions in life.
Occupational therapists believe that humans should be able to operate and express themselves because that is what being human is. They believe that a person can only have his or her identity in society when he is independent and has an occupation. This belief motivates occupational therapists to help patients from different age groups to become independent despite their disabilities. Occupational therapists work in healthcare centers, hospitals and private clinics.
Qualifications For Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists do not have it easy. They have to study years and years to become an occupational therapist. Right now, the basic requirement is to earn a bachelor’s degree. This degree will allow graduates to apply for entry-level jobs. However, they will not be able to take on major roles without a master’s degree in occupational therapy. A fully practicing professional OT should earn a master’s degree and obtain a license by taking the National Certification Exam.
Preparation for this career should start in high school. Subjects like health, chemistry, biology and physics should be taken up. For the undergraduate degree, one can take sociology, biology, anatomy, anthropology or psychology as a major. Personal traits should be developed as well. An occupational therapist should be patient, quick in problem solving, communicable and has great interpersonal skills. If an OT works in a private home setting, he or she should be used to the work setting. Occupational therapists should be able to work with the young and the old but there are those that choose to specialize.
Job Outlook For Occupational Therapy
As mentioned earlier, he role of occupational therapists are becoming bigger every year because of the increasing number of sick people. Back in 2006, there were 96,000 occupational therapy jobs and these were in hospitals, nursing care facilities and schools. In 2014, it is expected that occupational therapy jobs will increase higher than the average growth rate. What does this mean? In a few years, the demand for occupational therapists will continue to increase to keep up with the demand for occupational therapy services.