How Do I Become an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational TherapistThere are many wonderful jobs out there, but those that are geared towards helping others are perhaps as good as it gets when one wants to become an occupational therapist. With the demand for patient care increasing, it is becoming more and more worthwhile for individuals to get into the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow by 29% between now and 2022, which is a rate that is much faster than average. For those interested in the professional, below you’ll find all the information that you need to know to begin your career in occupational therapy.

Job Overview

Every day, there are hundreds of individuals that become injured, ill, or disabled which makes it difficult for them to perform everyday activities. Occupational therapists facilitate the needs of their patients by helping them heal, develop, and recover the use of everyday activities. To achieve this goal, the American Occupational Therapy Association outlines a number of focuses that each therapist performs to provide the best service. These include creating customized treatment plans, conducting at home and on-site evaluations, working on performance skills and assessments, utilizing adaptive equipment and usage training, and providing guidance to family members and caretakers.

Education

Due to the serious nature of the position, there is a lengthy process involved when one considers to become an occupational therapist. The three step process includes attaining a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and finally licensing through passing your state’s licensing exam.

To begin with, there is no set bachelor’s degree that one must choose in order to get into a master’s program. However, there are typical majors that are best taken, such as sociology, physiology, or anthropology. These are all excellent options are they will prepare you well for a master’s program in the field. Bachelor’s degrees can be completed in anywhere between three to four years. To enter into a highly regarded master’s program, it is recommended that you score above a 3.0 and also score well on the GRE.

The master’s program in occupational therapy takes two years to complete. The coursework includes anatomy, patient care, medical conditions, and technology in the field. There is also fieldwork involved, which includes a set amount of hours that the student needs to complete.

Finally, there is the licensing phase which occurs after the completion of a master’s program. The three requirements to take the exam are that you must have completed an accredited program, you must have finished your fieldwork requirements, and you must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy¬†exam.

Employment

When you become an occupational therapist, there are great perks. Once you receive licensing in your state, you can begin your job search. In the United States, the median salary for occupational therapists is $73,000 per year. Institutions that hire occupational therapists include community agencies, professional organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. With the high level of demand, it should not be difficult to find a job in this area.

Related Resource: Become a Physical Therapist

Summary

Overall, for those that are interested in the field of occupational therapy, it truly is a fantastic option to get into. The education is interesting and worthwhile, the salary is great, and many therapists report satisfaction with their job. So if you want to become an occupational therapist, then begin your journey now by getting the right education.