What Is Occupational Therapy? - Video

Occupational therapy is a health care profession that focuses on promoting patient health and well-being through occupation. Students who study Occupational Therapy typically work as occupational therapist aids, occupational therapists assistants or occupational therapists.

An Overview

People who are physically, developmentally or emotionally disabled may have trouble accomplishing everyday tasks and participating in work settings. The primary goal of Occupational Therapy is to help these people overcome their disability and improve function at home and in the workplace.

Occupational Therapy may involve everything from physical exercises that increase strength and dexterity to special instruction in daily tasks. Patients who need Occupational Therapy may also be trained in the use of adaptive equipment, such as eating aids or computer aids.

Careers in Occupational Therapy

There are three main careers paths for students who have studied Occupational Therapy: occupational therapist aide, occupational therapist assistant and occupational therapist. Each title has different education and licensing requirements. Job duties can also vary between the three.

Occupational therapist aides, who typically only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training, perform clerical duties and prepare treatment areas and materials. Occupational therapist assistants, who typically need at least an associate degree or certificate in Occupational Therapy, work under the direct supervision of occupational therapists. Assistants are responsible for recording patient information and implementing treatment plans.

Occupational therapists are the most highly trained of the three. To become a practicing therapist, students need to earn a masters or doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy and pass a licensing exam. Occupational therapists assess patients, develop specific treatment plans, and work with patients to improve their physical independence.

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