everyday activities can become daunting for people suffering from illnesses, diseases, or developmental disabilities. occupational therapists help these individual lead a better life by helping them rehabilitate. what do they do? occupational therapists help recover, treat, and develop skills needed for normal functioning of daily lives. they work with different groups of patients including older people, arthritis sufferers, autistic children, and disabled individuals. they review medical histories of patients, observe them, and ask them questions. drawing upon the information gained, they evaluate their patients' conditions and determine treatment plans. occupational therapists design specific goals and activates that must be accomplished by their patients. other tasks include educating family members about their patients' special needs, evaluating their patients' environment, and suggesting improvements and recommending special equipment. any progress in their conditions is recorded, assessed, and reported to physicians.
what is the job outlook?
employment opportunities are abundant in this field. in fact, the us bureau of labor statistics has reported that from 2010 to 2020, their employment is expected to increase by 33 percent, a faster growth rate than the average of all professions. occupational therapists may also work as educators and researchers.
how long does it take to become an occupational therapist?
keeping in view attractive job and salary prospects, this field is highly sought after these days. the time required to complete the educational and licensure requirements will depend on several factors. you will need at least a master's degree in occupational therapy. this generally takes two years to complete. you also have the option to enroll in a dual degree program under which you can complete a bachelor's degree followed by a master's degree in just five years. alternatively, you can also pursue a doctoral degree in this subject. you must also be licensed. only eligible candidates who have an accredited degree can sit for the nbcot examination. this is the national certification examination for occupational therapists, and is administered by the national board for certification in occupational therapy (nbcot). once you pass this exam, you will be certified by nbcot.
what do they study?
occupational therapists study contemporary practices and movement sciences of this field. the purpose is to discover and implement ways that can enhance the community integration of individuals with intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities. they study the following areas:
patient care skills
learning and cognition
sometimes occupational therapists seek specialized knowledge in specific treatment areas. they deal with patients who have conditions such as alzheimer's disease, parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, and autism.
is online education an option?
the accessibility to study online has greatly encouraged students to augment their education. online ot programs are now offered that are recognized by the accreditation council for occupational therapy education (acote). they include evaluation tools like regular quizzes that can be completed online, case studies, research papers, marked bulletin board assignments, group projects, and proctored exams. you could enroll in such a program while keeping your full-time employment and not having to move to a location near a campus. some schools offer lab sessions on weekends which are much easier to attend.