In today's ever changing employment atmosphere, college-bound students are seeking out new career opportunities that will offer security and financial soundness. In the health and human services field, one of the career choices that appears to be growing each year is that of the occupational therapist. Students interested in settling into a secure job that allows for the utilization of interpersonal skills, occupational therapy is an excellent field to explore. There are an abundant of programs and colleges that offer courses and degrees in occupational therapy. The main task of the occupational therapist is to assist individuals suffering from physical, mental, and developmental disabilities learn and practice techniques involving basic tasks such as daily living and work related skills. The activities that typically are seen as mundane and ordinary to most people require a lot of time and determination for individuals with disabilities. Simple chores such as dressing, hygeine tasks, cooking, eating, and working are much more complex. The occupational therapist helps the individual learn to master these activities in order to navigate easier through life.
Occupational Therapy Requirements and Certification
Occupational therapy is a highly regulated field. The average minimum requirement for an individual to obtain certification is usually a master's degree or higher in occupational therapy. Attendance in the academic program ACOTE (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education) is required in order to earn national certification in the field of occupational therapy. Students who are interested in pursuing a career as an occupational therapist should take core college courses with strengths in biology, chemistry, and the social sciences. This will work as a foundation to base their future coursework on. In order to attain licensure in the United States as an occupational therapist, the student must also successfully pass a national certification exam which, upon completion, will earn the student the title of occupational therapist registered (OTR).
Training Requirements For Occupational Therapy
Apart from the requirements necessary for certification in occupational therapy, students may be required to complete internships and/or volunteer vocational training, depending upon the state in which certification is being completed. Potential employers look for students who have experience in the healthcare services either through previous employment or volunteer work.
Occupational Therapy Courses And Schools
In the United States, there are several excellent colleges and programs that offer training and certification in occupational therapy. Most schools run similar programs and course requirements. A few of the essential classes students must complete for a degree or certification in occupational therapy are: General Anatomy and Physiology Introduction to Psychology Interpersonal Communication Developmental Psychology Introduction to Sociology Occupational Therapy and Strength Training Geriatric Diagnostics Medical Law and Documentation Neuroscience and Physiology General Physical Rehabilitation These courses as well as the core degree requirements for each particular school or program are necessary in order to effectively understand and apply the knowledge to future patients and circumstances. Some of the more well recognized colleges that offer occupational therapy degrees are Kaplan University, Liberty University, and Grand Canyon University.
Job Opportunities In Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists are in extremely high demand, especially in the field of developmental disabilities. Many supported living and healthcare facilities that cater to this population are always in need of certified occupational therapists to fulfill their medical staffing needs. Potential employment opportunities can be found in home healthcare, direct care services, medical and surgical hospitals and clinics, elementary and secondary schools, nursing facilities, and rehabilitation centers. The field of occupational therapy is quite vast and holds many possibilities for future growth and development both financially and professionally. Other potential career opportunities as an occupational therapist can be found in alternative settings such as natural health clinics and recreational facilities.
Occupational Therapist Salary Specifications
On average, a certified occupational therapist at an entry level position can potentially earn as much as $51,310 per year. The average salary is $76,940 per year. The potential for financial gain and stability is very high in the field of occupational therapy. This area of expertise, while requiring a substantial amount of coursework and training, is a lucrative field with many optional sources of employment in the healthcare arena. Students interested in training to become an occupational therapist will be pleasantly surprised at how rewarding this position can truly be.