Occupational Therapist Job Description and Role
You clicked so you must be wondering what do occupational therapists do? The job description differs slightly from it's physical therapist counterpart, but in general, an OT will review the medical records of the patient, observe them in their activities, ask them questions and execute a treatment plan to help the patient in their rehabilitation. OT's will also demonstrate different exercises. They are also part of a team, that usually includes an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), so supervising duties are usually required.
Duties of the Occupational Therapist
In addition to the job duties listed above, OT's help people with a variety of disabilities such as older people with memory issues, recovering from stroke or helping autistic children with play activities. For people with chronic pain, the OT will plan, demonstrate and then observe the patient in exercise activities such as joint stretching for arthritis sufferers. Sometimes the OT will go into the home or work environment and suggest changes to help the patient better move around and make recommendations to make life easier as they rehabilitate. OT's are considered specialists and have a great variety of patients with different issues, so if you want a new and different challenge on a daily basis this could be the career choice for you.
They educate patients, their families, employers about how to accommodate the patients as they try to function, sometimes because of a life-changing event and just because somebody may have become injured, all patients will be at a different level and need proper execution. The Occupational Therapist will recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs, exercise equipment or eating aids. They will also demonstrate the physical therapy equipment so that it is used in a proper manner so the patient does not harm themselves.
Occupational Therapists are also generally in charge of reporting their patients' activities and progress. OT's will sometimes be responsible for billing. OT's will need good communication skills and will be required to report and contact the patients other physicians and healthcare providers.
An OT's Work Environment
Nearly fifty percent of all occupational therapists work out of their own office or in a hospital. The other fifty percent or so work in healthcare clinics, in a school setting, universities, day-care facilities and nursing homes. They will also on occasion visit patients homes, or workplace environments and these professionals are sometimes referred to as traveling OT's.
Occupational Therapist Job Outlook & Salary
The OT career field is expected to grow by 27%, or faster than average compared to other career choices by 2024. The median yearly salary for occupational therapists is $80,150. This will typically depend on experience and education.