Occupational therapist

How to Become an Occupational Therapist

We all want to make a difference in the world, and we all want to make the world a better place. There are many great career paths out there, but more and more people are starting to consider becoming an Occupational Therapist for its rewarding qualities.

So what is occupational therapy, what does an occupational therapist do, and how do you become an occupational therapist?

An Occupational Therapist engages in a variety of duties including assessing limitations in the workplace, providing rehabilitation services, and working with hospital patients, children, and persons with disabilities. The workplace setting for an occupational therapist varies widely with the specialization, but normal settings include hospitals, day-care facilities, nursing homes, schools, universities, community centers, industrial workplaces, and patients’ residential homes.

With an aging population becoming more common, the demand in the healthcare sector has increased in the last several years. An article in Canadian Business published in 2016 finds that the demand for pharmacists, nurses, and occupational therapists will rise sharply by 2021.

So if you looking for a rewarding career in the healthcare sector, and you are thinking about becoming at occupational therapist, what kind of experience and accreditation will you need?

Occupational therapists require a Master’s degree to practice, which means first obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

To apply to a Master’s program in Occupational Therapy at an accredited institution, it is helpful to have a Bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, health sciences, or natural sciences. Applicants usually apply coming from a background in kinesiology, physiology, biology, psychology, sociology, or some other health science related field. After completing a 4 year bachelor’s degree, you can then apply to a university offering a Master’s program in Occupational Therapy.

But before you jump right into a bachelor’s degree, consider that most universities offering Maters programs in Occupational Therapy would like applicants to have some volunteer experience in pediatrics, mental health in a community setting, hospitals, geriatrics, or work with persons of disability.

One bonus to doing a Masters program in Occupational Therapy is that it involves both academics and fieldwork. Your academic studies will include courses in children and youth, mental health, aging, rehabilitation, disability, and business and industry.

The field work for an occupational therapist can vary.

While some schools offer choice in the kind of placements an individual can do other schools have mandatory fieldwork with no option for elective fieldwork. Examples of some of the placements that are available are acute care, outpatient, day hospital, private practice, community health, rehabilitation, long-term care, and children’s centers.

The demand for Occupational Therapists is on the rise, so if you are looking for a rewarding career in healthcare, and are not cut out for a field such as nursing – but still want a career in helping people with a very hands-on approach – consider Occupational therapy. It may be everything you want in a career.