Occupational Therapy is a growing profession. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapy will grow by 33% up until the year 2020. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone. Basically, occupational therapists help people perform their daily activities despite injury or disability with the use of coping skills and assistive devices. They are the healthcare professionals who help you write again after a broken arm, who teach you how to walk again after a broken leg, and who teach you how to be independent despite such circumstances.
As with other healthcare professions, occupational therapy also needs continuing education. As medicine as a whole is a continuously evolving field, new discoveries will always be made each day to improve patient care and outcome. Knowing these updates is imperative to your growth as an occupational therapist and improves your quality of care.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the governing body for occupational therapists in the United States. Depending on the state you are practicing in, and in accordance to the AOTA, continuing education is required for reapplication of one’s license. Typically, you are required 10 to 20 hours of continuing education per year, again depending on the state. Some states also do not have any continuing education requirements. These states include Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
Do not worry though, continuing education is easy to find both online and offline. Online continuing education courses are offered in the AOTA website for that matter (see http://www.aota.org). You may choose which practice area you would like to hear about such as children and youth, health and wellness, mental health, productive aging, work and industry, and rehabilitation and disability. Seminars range from an hour to several and discounts are given to AOTA members. Other websites also offer continuing education courses. A word of caution, do make sure though that the continuing education course you will be taking is accredited in your state. Call your local state board to make sure, or else it is going to be a waste of your time and money. As for offline courses, inquire are the hospital you are working for some in-house training, which possibly may come free.
Continuing education is important to your profession. It gives you an edge among your peers. It puts you on the spotlight for promotion. Moreover, continuing education helps you be abreast with the latest developments in your field and best of all, it improves your proficiency in caring for your patient.