Occupational therapy is a very rewarding profession, as those who practice it help people who suffer from mental and physical impairments regain their skills or live their lives to the fullest potential. Occupational therapists can treat those who have sustained injuries, or those who were born with challenges.
To succeed in an occupational therapy degree and become an occupational therapist, you must not only have a strong knowledge of the workings of the mind and body, you also have to have a lot of patience. Physical and mental rehabilitation can often take a long time and can involve a lot of repetition and frustration. Good bedside manner and social skills are a must for anyone in the field.
Course Work in Occupational Therapy Degree Programs
Occupational therapy degrees cover a broad range of training and theoretical knowledge. Courses will cover topics like anatomy (study of the body), kinesiology (the study of how the body moves), physiology (the functioning of human tissues and organs), pathology (mechanisms of diseases and illnesses) and much more.
Along with subjects that cover the physical elements of the body, occupational therapy programs also cover topics like assistive devices, treatment methods, types of physical and mental dysfunctions and patient care. Mental health topics like substance abuse, mental impairment and behavioral issues will also be addressed.
Because of the hands-on nature of the work, many people choose to take their undergraduate occupational therapy training at a traditional educational institution, but it's common for individuals to pursue internet occupational therapy degree programs at the graduate level.
Occupational Therapy Jobs
Occupational therapists typically work as part of a health team through hospitals and clinics or in independent practice. Some of their tasks will include helping patients perform daily activities, creating and administering rehabilitative exercise plans, and using computer software and computer-aided equipment to help patients improve their mental acuity and cognitive skills.
Salaries for occupational therapists can be quite high, starting at roughly $60,000 and year and going as high as $90,000 or more with experience or depending on the position.
Outside of being an occupational therapist, graduates can pursue jobs in the recreation and leisure field, designing and planning programs. Marketing, sales and development of assistive devices may also be a career option.