Occupational Therapy Degree Program: Everything You Should Know

Occupational Therapy is a field of medicine that helps patients gain independence in performing daily tasks and functions. Occupational therapists treat patients with emotional, psychological, behavioral and physical disabilities or impairments. They treat children, adults and the elderly. Occupational therapists help improve the quality of life of patients. Occupational therapy is an in demand field of medicine today now that the baby boomer generation has reached retirement age.

Occupational Therapy Degree Program

An occupational therapy educational program is a graduate degree program for those who want to become an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists can choose to specialize in a certain group or sickness or can learn different specialty areas. An occupational therapist needs to earn an undergraduate degree first before entering occupational therapy school. The undergraduate major can be in human anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, chemistry and other related majors.

Occupational Therapy Degree ProgramYou can expect to prepare for an occupational therapy career through the degree program. Occupational therapy students are taught to help patients re-learn performing their daily tasks if they were impaired due to an injury or accident. Occupational therapists help in regaining motor and fine skills. Patients will learn to do things independently like feed themselves, make their own food, put clothes, bathe and groom themselves.

Through the degree program, occupational therapists will learn about the tools that can help in the treatment of patients. They will also learn the medical equipment that can help patients in performing daily activities. Occupational therapists will be taught how to use technology to their advantage. Sometimes, occupational therapists have to design special devices that their patients will use too.

In becoming an occupational therapist, the minimum requirement is a master’s degree. The master’s degree program will offer extensive education and training for occupational therapy students. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education or ACOTE should accredit the occupational therapy school and program for eligibility in the licensing examination. The master’s degree in occupational therapy will include a minimum of 24 hours clinical work.

Online Occupational Therapy Program

Online occupational therapy degree programs have become great alternatives for on-site campus education. This is ideal for students who cannot study full-time due to work or other commitments. Online OT degree programs are flexible and there is no schedule to be followed. The online degree program will allow you to study in your own pace but all requirements should be submitted by the deadline. All submissions are done online.

An online OT degree program will be a combination of classroom and clinical work too. The school will be the one to look for a medical facility where you can do on-the-job training. Online programs on Occupational Therapy must be accredited so you will eligible for the national licensing examination.

The Work Of An OT

The Work Of An OTAn occupational therapist is someone who develops treatment plans for their patients depending on the diagnosis. An occupational therapist aide or assistant can help them with office tasks and implementing treatment programs among patients. Occupational therapists introduce physical exercises to patients to improve their strength and dexterity. They use activities that will improve the ability to discern patterns as well as visual acuity. Occupational therapists use computer program to help patients in improving their memory, coordination, perceptual skills, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, sequencing skills and decision-making.

An OT may design and create special devices that the patient will use at work or at home. They will be responsible for teaching patients on how to use certain equipment and how to communicate and adapt to the environment better.

An occupational therapist can work part-time or full time. He can choose to work during daytime, nighttime and on weekends. Occupational therapists are free to choose where they want to work. They can work in a hospital, rehabilitation center, nursing home or choose to have their own doctor’s clinic.

The Career Of An Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist will have a bright career ahead. There are many career opportunities waiting for an occupational therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the field of occupational therapy will grow by 25% in the coming years. Employment will be easier for an occupational therapist to find in places where there are aging people since this is where most disabilities develop.

Career Of An Occupational TherapistTo become a therapist on occupational therapy, one has to complete an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree in occupational therapy and a license. To retain the license, continuing education will be required. The occupational therapist can complete his continuing education hours through joining a training workshop, seminar, conference or enrolling in continuing education courses.

The job outlook for an occupational therapist is expected to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations until 2018. This is due to the huge demand for healthcare services for the aging population. The median annual salary for an occupational therapist is $70,000 a year. For occupational therapists with a doctorate degree and specialty, the salary will be higher. In addition, self-employed occupational therapists can have an increased earning potential.

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