occupational therapists are professionals who are responsible for helping individuals with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. they help their clients recover or improve their body movements through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. as a result, the profession requires individuals to have fundamental understanding of biological concepts and treatment protocols. occupational therapy is a profession which is experiencing growth. according to the us bureau of labor statistics (bls), the job growth outlook for this profession is reported to be 33 percent between 2010 and 2020. this means that the number of opportunities will be favorable for students entering into the field. if you are interested in learning how to become an occupational therapist, our guide may help you gain the insight you need to make a well-informed decision.
the educational requirements to becoming an occupational therapist
occupational therapists hold a master's degree, since the profession demands highly specific training. most master's programs will take two years to complete. another option is to enroll in a doctoral program, though this will be more time consuming. some universities allow students to enroll in dual programs which let them earn a bachelor's and master's degrees in a span of 5 years. if you wish to obtain a master's degree in occupational therapy, you will need to have an undergraduate degree first. it is preferable that you take some courses in biology and humanities, to sharpen your understanding of the human body and hone your analytical skills.
what does an occupational therapist do?
as an occupational therapist, you will be observing patients complete their everyday routine and obtain information from questionnaires and interviews. this data will help you identify the problem areas and what the patients need. following this, you will be required to develop a complete treatment plan for the patients, using your knowledge to ensure they receive adequate exercise for their injury, illness, or disability. aside from this, you will also be required to provide information to the family of the patient with regards to proper care techniques. you will be able to advise the family and friends of the patient on the best ways to improve the home environment, and how to provide therapy in your absence. individuals with good communication skills are generally able to thrive in this profession. it is also a good idea to brush up on your understanding of topics such as kinesiology, anatomy, and physiology to help the patients work through health problems effectively.
pay and job outlook
as already mentioned, the job outlook for this profession is among the fastest growing in the united states. according to a bls' report, occupational therapists in the top 10 percent were earning upwards of $100,000 in may 2010, while the median annual wage was $72,320.