Dealing mainly with people who struggle with various occupations that impair their health and methods designed to prevent injury or disease, occupational therapy is among the top preferred modern medical practices that can be pursued in this day and age.
Job OverviewThe principle behind occupational therapy is one that is easy to understand, although it can be very difficult to put into practice and may require years of painstaking study and training.
To put it quite simply, an occupational therapist deals with the way in which people’s occupations influence their health. Also, the therapies that they handle have to do with the prevention of injury, disease or disability, as well as the promotion of independent activities and interventions designed to promote benefits related to these tasks.
As an occupational therapist, you will have the chance of helping a number of different types of patients, from those with permanent disabilities to children, elderly people and those suffering from mental disabilities or chronic pain.
SalaryWithout a doubt, the job of an occupational therapist is not very easy, but the pay involved is also generally considered to be substantial with regards to the level of skill, knowledge, effort and decision making required for a successful career.
A certified and experienced occupational therapy specialist can earn anything between $80,000 and $91,000 per year, while the average annual salary is currently rated at about $78,000.
Occupational therapy is also seen as one among the few practices following a holistic philosophy that are associated with this level of remuneration.
TrainingAlthough the training you will require in order to become a certified occupational therapist is quite extensive, the good news is that the process is not a complicated one, and the fees and academic results required are much less demanding than those related to other medical practices.
Following are the general steps you will have to consider if you want to become a licensed, full time occupational therapist:
- Occupational therapy practices can differ, however, most will require good results in subjects like biology, physiology or sociology. Also, you will need a bachelor’s degree, and it would be a good idea to consider an internship as well.
- After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, you have to get into an accredited occupational therapy training program, most of which last about 2 years, although some of the more thorough ones can require a longer period for their completion.
- Upon graduating, you have to pass your NBCOT (National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists) exam – which can also be taken online – and apply for a license in your state. The regulations and fees required for the license will differ to some extent in the case of each state.
- Finally, you can choose a career path and work either through a government agency, a non-profit organization or your own, newly established private practice in order to gain experience.
Reviews & AdviceAccording to expert reviews, the internship and the type of occupational therapy program you choose will have the most impact on the start of your career.
Better programs will provide you with more opportunity for growth and learning, while completing internships can guide you through the beginning stages of going through practical training.
Also, a good piece of advice is to research some of the fees and costs required not only for completing your studies, but also for taking the necessary exams and becoming a licensed practitioner. Even if the individual costs and fees are not that demanding, together they can pose some financial difficulties and have to be handled with a decent amount of forethought.