What is Occupational Therapy?
All human beings share an independent spirit. We want to perform our daily tasks and move on through the day – at work or leisure – without help along the way.
When we can do it, we take if for granted.
But all too often, that independence is lost. We age. We suffer acute injuries. Or we’re born with disabilities. And suddenly, things we might once have done without a moment’s thought become insurmountable obstacles.
Buttoning a shirt. Working. Studying. Playing. Bathing. Eating. Or just making it from one room to the next.
Occupational Therapists restore the gift of independence. Their education encompasses the sciences, from gross anatomy to the physiology of disease. They learn the psychosocial implications of disability and the methods to restore function and adapt to limitations.
Occupational Therapists analyze movement; they assess a client’s needs and desires. Most important, they listen to their clients to learn which activities are the most meaningful to them. OTs respond with the therapies that will make not just a difference, but the right difference for their clients.
OTs work on range of motion. They develop methods to improve performance. They assess and provide assistive technologies to move clients past their limitations and toward greater independence. They teach; they counsel; and they encourage.
OTs are healthcare professionals who work with other therapists to provide interdisciplinary approaches matched to the individual client’s needs. OTs work with Physical Therapists and Speech Therapists. Together, they provide the best strategies for helping clients live their day-to-day lives.
Occupational Therapists are well educated. The entry level degree for the profession is a master’s degree, and students must graduate from an accredited Master of Occupational Therapy program to be eligible for licensure. Licensed Occupational Therapists must pass a national exam and, in most states, be licensed through the state.
The career outlook for Occupational Therapists is excellent. The profession is projected to grow must faster than average through the year 2014, and in 2004, the median annual income for Occupational Therapist was $54,660.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet athttp://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos078.htm(visited March 01, 2007).