What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Occupational Therapists work at physical therapy clinics, occupational therapy offices, hospitals, assisted living centers and other healthcare environments to evaluate and treat patients struggling with motor skills and cognitive issues. They guide patients through intake and learn about their medical history, including past injuries and conditions that influence their ability to complete everyday tasks. After assessing a client’s condition, Occupational Therapists develop treatment plans using exercise, movements to develop muscle memory, sensory feedback and practice performing the tasks they perform at work and home. They create a plan to discharge patients and help them transition back to their life.
Occupational Therapist skills and qualifications
A good Occupational Therapist should have the following skills:
- Empathy and compassion
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Observational and analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Teamwork skills
Occupational Therapist salary expectations
The average salary for an Occupational Therapist is 1,623 per week. Salaries may vary based on location, the specific responsibilities of the role and the candidate’s experience or education level.
Occupational Therapist education and training requirements
Typically, an Occupational Therapist will need a relevant bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Since 2007, all states except Colorado require a professional Occupational Therapist to have at least a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Along with classroom learning, the master’s program includes extensive work in hospitals, residential centers, rehabilitation facilities or clinics.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but all states require an Occupational Therapist to pass the national examination from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. To maintain their certification once an Occupational Therapist is licensed, they need to complete continuing education credits.
Occupational Therapist experience requirements
Occupational Therapists need a minimum of 1 year of recent work experience as an Occupational Therapist. They can earn this experience through work in any setting, but it could be helpful for their experience to line up with the setting in which the job will take place. For example, if the position is for an Occupational Therapist in a hospital, an applicant with experience in home care might not be as competitive as an applicant with experience in a hospital setting.
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