What is an occupational therapist?
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA):
“In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:
- an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
- customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals,
- an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan
“Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.”
Time to Degree: Either a master’s or doctorate is required. A master’s degree typically takes about 2 years, and a doctorate takes about 3 years.
Clinical Requirements: Programs require a minimum of 24 weeks of clinical fieldwork. Doctoral programs may require an additional 16 weeks. (AOTA)
Certification Requirements: Must pass a National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
Minimum GPA: Usually at least a 3.0, but varies by program.
Exam Requirements: GRE
Tuition: Varies by program: between $10,000 and $40,000 per year.
Application Deadline: Varies by program, often in the fall one year prior to your desired start date.
Median IN Salary: $77, 210 per year
Projected Job Growth: 27% between 2014 and 2024
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